Author Topic: Homebrew soldering iron.  (Read 2120 times)

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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2019, 04:53:46 am »
Is this a "because you can" type of thing? Because I can't think of another reason to build a soldering iron from scratch. There's no way it will work as well as even a basic off the shelf soldering station. Regarding tip life, I recently replaced the tip on my Edsyn iron which I had been using for at least 15 years with the same tip. Properly cared for, the tip on a temperature controlled iron should last a very long time.

That's a good question.  There are several videos on YT showing such homemade irons and other similar devices.   If you can afford a computer and software to edit a video, a camera to record it and have access to the internet to post it, you can't be too bad off.    Personally, I am doing it because OP had asked and I've never been much of a bench racer or armchair quarterback.   


It will take YT a while to get the higher resolutions sorted out.  Here is the iron running closed loop with Labview.  Better but I'm not giving up my old Pace any time soon.

https://youtu.be/Xa2TQ583OIU

How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline cdev

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2019, 05:30:00 am »
Be careful with fibers. Any kind of long thin fiber is bad for your health if its inhaled because the lungs can't clear it.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 05:32:44 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2019, 12:02:47 pm »
For the gun type variant... Several folks made this using a transformer and a secondary wrapped around it. Unfortunately my google-fu is lacking and I could only find very detailed videos but only in portuguese.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline registereduser

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2019, 05:52:59 pm »
Just popping in to thank joeqsmith for all the effort. Definitely getting some helpful hints here. Thanks everyone for that matter.
 
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2019, 06:39:39 pm »
There are a few problems I see with this basic setup.  First, using my bench meter to read the tip temperature is just too slow.  I set the temperature for 650F or 343C.  A K-type is 14.0mV at this temperature.   There is more than enough thermal mass in the tip I used to keep it in tight regulation for small SMD work.   Assuming the board has thermal reliefs and it would be fine but not when it comes to heavy work.   

I had used Kapton to get the heater as close as possible to the tip.   It may be better to allow even higher power levels with the faster control loop but that Kapton will need to go.   You really need something that is rated for these high temperatures, is thermally conductive but an electrical insulator.   Or you are going to have to push the heater harder to overcome it. 

No doubt, even an analog control system with this basic setup would be usable to some degree.

The conversion for voltage to temperature may be found here:
https://www.thermocoupleinfo.com/type-k-thermocouple.htm

How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline cdev

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2019, 06:49:42 pm »
It would be great to figure out a good way to make ones own safe, decent soldering iron for a very small outlay, in a way that was repeatable all around the world.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2019, 06:53:50 pm »
Just popping in to thank joeqsmith for all the effort. Definitely getting some helpful hints here. Thanks everyone for that matter.

Consider answering James question.  I am curious myself.   Obviously you have some access to the internet to be able to view the videos and post.   You also mention having already bought a few cheap irons already and was not happy with their performance.  I wonder for the cost of these irons if you would have just bought a better class unit from the start if you would have been better off? 

It seems like the time you build up a little controller, get some K-type wire and weld it, make up all the other parts,  if you are out from under mom and dad, your time is worth something as well,  it only really makes sense from a learning exorcise.     

The fact you are happy with the alcohol burner, I am guessing what I have shown already would be far superior to that when working with SMD.   

Quote
I've made a alcohol burner powered iron that performs better than any of the three or four cheap irons I've ever owned, but fuel costs...

Is this a "because you can" type of thing? Because I can't think of another reason to build a soldering iron from scratch.
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2019, 07:30:12 pm »
There are countries where people who make >$2 a day are considered to be middle class. There, a $14 USD item costs an average worker a weeks wages. Plus there may be value added taxes.

:o

And if they go cashless, as some are pushing for (!!!) additional fees will likely apply.

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2019, 08:32:26 pm »
There are countries where people who make >$2 a day are considered to be middle class. There, a $14 USD item costs an average worker a weeks wages. Plus there may be value added taxes.

:o

And if they go cashless, as some are pushing for (!!!) additional fees will likely apply.

I am one of those people who make >$2 a day but it's not really the point of the thread.   I am sure there are many websites that you could join to discuss politics, health and poverty.   It doesn't belong in a soldering iron thread or IMO, this site in general.  Dave's call. 


Back to the soldering iron ....  I removed the Kapton and am trying some a braided fiberglass jacket.  I attempted to keep the heating element as tight as possible.   The brass ring on the end is used to attach the thermocouple and has been hex crimped.   

Once reassembled, it seems to actually do better than the Kapton.  With the same PI coefficients, you can see it oscillate.   A little retune and it settles out.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2019, 09:12:43 pm »
Using the same thermal mass (ground plane) to attempt to tune it.   It's definitely an improvement but I think the next step is to build a dedicated controller for it. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2019, 11:04:20 pm »
I mentioned that I wanted to run it from a 24V supply.  This was not some arbitrary number but dictated by my bench supply which is an old 24V, HP 6285A.    I also mentioned I could get almost 120 Watts with the heater I selected but that I would not use it, except when I wanted to heat the tip up from cold quickly.   

Now that the insulation can handle some fairly high temperatures, I tried to tune the startup.  It still needs a little work but this is about a 20 second ramp to reach 650F.   It's quicker than my old Pace.   

You can see, like any project, there is a bit to consider.   I doubt I will do anything more with it but again, if you decide to roll your own, I am interested in seeing what you come up with. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2019, 12:56:44 am »
There are countries where people who make >$2 a day are considered to be middle class. There, a $14 USD item costs an average worker a weeks wages. Plus there may be value added taxes.

:o

And if they go cashless, as some are pushing for (!!!) additional fees will likely apply.

Greybeards like myself can remember being paid wage rates like that.

Any useable soldering iron in those days would definitely have knocked a pretty savage hole in our pay packet.

From memory, back in 1959, when I was getting 5(A)Pounds ($A10) a week, a "Scope" brand iron was  "Two Pounds ten shillings" ($A4.50) "on special".

 

Offline james_s

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2019, 01:05:59 am »
Stuff was a whole lot more expensive back then. The upside though is that people could earn a decent wage building it. Now we borrow from our future by outsourcing manufacturing in order to be able to buy goods at far below the value of our own labor that would be required to build them. Then we complain about a lack of jobs.
 

Offline Cliff Matthews

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2019, 01:43:36 am »
Ah! core memories.. in the 70's I got over $2 an hour working for AEG Telefunken (2.65/hr slaving for my Pioneer SX-1010 :)
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Homebrew soldering iron.
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2019, 06:26:10 pm »
I picked up a Hakko-style iron from a Chinese Ebay seller for £1. It was for some unspecified soldering station and I didn't have the right connector or control board, but it was easy enough to adapt it to work with a SMPS module as the temp control. Mainly wanted it for when two irons are needed on SMD work. Suppose I'd have been just as well getting a complete 'Yihua' or whatever station seeing how cheap they are, but sometimes there's satisfaction in achieving something at insanely low cost.  :-+
 


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