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The solder doesn't take (start flowing, leave the iron) when I use my copper soldering iron. worked fine before.?

I tried filing it, it is mostly flat.  I see solder has attached to the sides, I do not know how to remove it.  The solder on the iron looks wonderful, like I was taught it should look.  I played with the temperature, no success.  The solder will not take.  I would appreciate any information you have to share with me.  I am a new metalworker and solderer and have run out of troubleshooting advice that I was taught.  My tip is about 1 cm by 5 or 6 cm. 

framistan3 years ago
Some metals can not be soldered to... such as stainless steel or galvanized metal.  Most often, the problem is you did not heat up the metal enough.  That is usually caused by using an iron or solder gun that is too small for the job at hand.  Use a 10 watt iron for TINY electronics connections.  Use 20 or 30 watt iron for medium thick wires to solder.  You might need a 75 or 100 watt iron for large metal pieces to solder.  If it still won't solder, you might need to use a small propane torch.... if the FLAME will not damage what you are soldering.  You MUST use the right iron for the job. Hold the iron on the metal... dont DAB at it like you are painting!  beginners do that a lot.  HOLD the iron on there and HEAT IT UP HOT.
lemonie3 years ago
What are you trying to apply solder to? That much you haven't told us., and we do need to know.

L
 The solution to your problem is called tinning.  First, once the iron is brought to its correct temperature you want to melt solder directly on the tip. Note you should cover almost all of the tip with molten solder, then wipe it off with your sponge or cleaning cloth and go on to your soldering job. It is a fairly simple fix I had the same problem before.
solpredator3 years ago
You might also want to make sure the that ip is tightly connected to your soldering gun.  If it isn't it will not heat up enough to melt anything and can possibly destroy your soldering gun.
Filing the tip is a very bad idea.
Does solder melt on the sides of the iron ?
Try getting some real plumber's flux and coating the tip in that for a few seconds, then wiping it on a slighltly damp cloth, try and apply solder, repeat until you get a wetted tip.

You really shouldn't clean a tip with anything more aggressive than a brass wire brush.
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