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How To Use a Soldering Iron

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Soldering is a surprisingly commonly-used technique in the fabrication of many everyday objects. Learning to solder can therefore be an extremely useful and practical skill which can save you time and money.
What you'll need: 
Soldering iron
Solder
Power source
Damp sponge
Work surface
Iron tip cleaner
1: 
Plug the soldering iron in and allow it to heat up. You can check its readiness by trying to melt a small amount of solder on the tip. Once fully heated, wipe the tip clean with the damp sponge.
2: 
Soldering begins with a preparation process called 'tinning'. This involves heating the soldering iron and coating the tips of both the surfaces being attached with a small amount of solder. The tinning process will allow the two surfaces to fuse more easily, particularly when working with cables.
3: 
Hold the soldering iron like a pen, ensuring that your hands are far from the tip at all times. Begin by touching the tip to the 'joint'. Melt a small amount of solder on the tip of the iron and feed it onto the joint of the two objects being soldered. The solder should form a neat volcano shape.
4: 
Inspect the joint, ensuring that it looks sturdy, shiny and that it is complete.
5: 
When you have completed the soldering process, always clean the tip of the soldering iron. The damp sponge is best for cleaning a lightly-soiled tip. Specific tip-cleaner may be needed if the iron is heavily soiled but if the iron is cleaned after each use, this shouldn't be necessary.
Conclusion: 
Though relatively simple, soldering does require practice. Allow yourself sufficient practice time before performing any important soldering jobs.
Warnings: 
Always place your soldering iron on a stand, facing away from you and with the tip clear of any flammable or easily damaged surfaces.
The tip of a soldering iron can reach 400C so be extremely careful to avoid contact with the skin.

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