How To Make Soldering Iron: The Easy Way

How To Make Soldering Iron

Despite the fact that soldering irons are affordable and come in different sizes and shapes, this article will describe some simple methods on How to Make a Soldering Iron at the comfort of your home.

Depending on the type of heater used, the homemade soldering iron can supply between 15-30W when powered at a low voltage between 5-12V. Therefore, the process is pretty"simple" since you can power the soldering iron with any power supply that meets these requirements. Preferably, a computer Power Supply Unit (PSU) would be a good choice.

The Requirement in Making Soldering Iron

You will require the following when making soldering iron at home:

  • Copper tip
  • Ceramic cylinder or thermoresistant
  • Wire that holds heater connected to the tip.
  • Heater wire wounded over the thermoresistant insulator
  • Metal pipe
  • Wire with a thermoresistantinsulator
  • Metal washer
  • Thermoresistant spacer
  • Screw
  • Handle
The Requirement in Making Soldering Iron

Steps in Making a Soldering Iron

  • Cut a copper tip of about 7 to 10 cm long and 3 to 4.5 mm diameter of a copper rod.
  • In about 4cm, roll the insulator over the copper tip.
  • Make a heater resistor by attaching one end of heater nichrome wire of 0.3 to 0.5 mm in diameter and winding it over the insulator. Ensure you make very close turns, but the turns should never touch one another. Since it takes a little experience to determine the appropriate length of the turns, you should always power it and watch how it behaves.
  • Using pliers, hold the tip from the other end and apply DC voltage. It is advisable to safely start with 5V probably from ATX computer PSU. This is because the PSU has enough current and switches off automatically in case of short circuit. The tip will connect to one end of the nichrome wire while the other end supplies the voltage (VCC). It is vital for you to use a current limited or a protected short-circuit power supply.It is also vital to be aware thatat high temperature, the insulator may break and cause short-circuit.
  • After building the heater now, attach it to the handle.
  • Insert some ceramic spacers at the edges and place the tip of the heater inside a metal pipe.
  • Using some screws and spacers, have the metal pipe attached to the washer. Spacers are recommended since it improves insulation at the handle, so it does not get hot when you are using.

The second variant on how to make a soldering iron seems to be very easy to build. Instead of having the tip of the heater inserted inside a metal pipe, a metal sheet is fixed on the opposite end of the tip.

The metal sheet is bent to form an "L" shape so as to ease handle attaching. This metal has got additional function as a heat sink.

The picture shows the shows a detailed washer from the first variant and a metal sheet from the second variant.

How to make soldering iron 2
  • Holes for screws.
  • Holes for wire pass.
  • Cut-outs in the washer to attach the pipe.
  • Groove made by bending the sheet to hold the copper rod in position.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, after successfully making a soldering iron, it is good to be cautious with the new tool. The wire should not get incandescent.

However, if so, use lower voltage. A perfect match is when the wire can be slightly visible in the dark. The tip will be capable of melting the solder in less than a minute.

If the solder does not melt when you touch it with the nichrome wire tip, it implies that you used a thick insulator or the insulator has got a poor thermal insulation property. Additionally, you can use higher voltage when the wire resistor does not get hot enough.

Therefore, nichrome wire is always preferred since it has got a higher resistance and gets quickly heated small currents and the common voltage. A copper wire can act as an alternative to nichrome wire.

However, it has low resistance; you will need to use small voltage of less than 1V using the current power supply and not a constant voltage supply.

Willie Ryan

Wille Ryan is a tool expert from the U.S. He is a Mechanical Engineer and uses tools almost every day at home and at work. He enjoys helping people to master everything about a wide range of tools through blogging. He is for sure a Tools Guardian!

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Hung Hoang

This is really an interesting post! To learn how to make soldering can be quite frustrating, but having a personal interest can really help to motivate him to explore more especially in electronics. Thanks for the post!


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