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Solder Iron Tips: oily, bubbly coating forming... See Pics

Can anyone explain to me what is happening with my soldering iron? It makes it very hard to remove. I thought maybe flux is getting down there somehow but I've been taking care to alway keep the tip down and avoid any excess solder accumulating on the tip (aside from tinning of course). But it's happening again!

Picture of Solder Iron Tips: oily, bubbly coating forming... See Pics
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milsorgen (author) 7 years ago
Props to Tool Using Animal, I think he nailed it with the heat thing and the link to the dimmer mod.

Still bothers me they would sell it with tips that can't take the heat!

But tomorrow when I get the parts for the dimmer I'm going to exchange it. So at the very least I have fresh tips to work with.

Thanks again guys.
I have a 40 watt weller too. I've been looking at mine and comparing to your pics. I've had this thing for years , and don't really clean it well. Also, I only have one tip. Mine doesn't look clean, but it's still functional. I don't have the bubbles or any thick buildup. I've found I usually us this iron at a high setting and try to "quick" touch almost everything to prevent too much heat buildup. Maybe that's why I'm cleaner?

On a side note, have you tried some sandpaper to get that off?
milsorgen (author)  Sylvester20097 years ago
That's the funny part, the large tip I used to resolder an old clock with new a power cord and I ended up putting a fair amount of heat to do it. That tips fine, however it is larger...

This only occurred when I moved to the medium chisel that came with it and started doing little quick stuff with electric motors. I almost wonder if the quality of the tips might be a factor.

And I haven't used any sandpaper yet as it works well and the tips stay clean and shiny, I'd to be so rough with it.
I meant 800 F in my post not C.

The thing is oxidization increases exponentially with temperature. I'd suggest building something like this to lower tip temp a little.
milsorgen (author)  Tool Using Animal7 years ago
Thanks for the link, the thought had crossed my mind for something similar so I will defiantly take a closer look.
milsorgen (author) 7 years ago
 I appreciate the feed back and I guess I should of noted that it is a Weller 40 watt :)

And I've been keeping the tip clean with a damp sponge but hot or cold that stuff doesn't come off. My tip stays tinned and clean and it works well but that stuff keep slowly creeping down the bit.

I don't understand why this would occur under normal usage with the tips the iron came with?
NachoMahma7 years ago
.  Clean 'em!
.  Fold up a paper towel or use a synthetic sponge. Dampen and wipe tip.
.  Oh, yeah. Do when the iron is hot. ;)
It's an oxide build up, if it's happening this fast I'd guess your iron is REALLY freaking hot, like above 800 deg C.
milsorgen (author) 7 years ago
 i should probably mention i just got the iron and tips like 3 days ago.