A Framework For Making Affordable & Stylish Modular Controllers (USB to MIDI, HID, or Serial)

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Step 6: Soldering Like A Pro

Picture of Soldering Like A Pro

As you can probably tell there is going to be some soldering necessary to build your controller. If you have not soldered before, don't fret, it's really easy (if you follow my tips). If you don't have a soldering iron here is a super cheap station. You can also get irons at most hardware stores as well as Radio Shack. Below are four important tips to help you solder like a pro!

Buy a flux pen
This is imperative! They can be purchased here. Never ever try to solder without a flux pen no matter what anyone tells you. 

Watch my videos

Use this method if you have a free hand available to feed the solder. 

Use this method if you don't have a free hand available to feed the solder. 

Clean your tip using a wet sponge
If you don't do this you iron will become useless very fast. 

Use stranded wire
Solder sticks better to wire with many strands. The crimped wire from Pololu is stranded. 

mikelspencr3 years ago
Wanted to suggest a way that I personally do my soldering.. and this frees up "most" of your hand for holding parts.

What i do is wrap some solder around my index finger, assuming a bit more than needed, and then leave a "tail" after your finger tip so you can start working right away. As you use solder, just unravel it around your finger (think of a spool of solder but that spool is on your finger).
Not only do you get to feed the solder with more precision, but you can use your other fingers to hold that component better!
I'll get some pics when I post up a new project that I'm working on.
Fuzzy-Wobble (author)  mikelspencr3 years ago
make an instructables video!
Genius idea, Fuzzy! This is why you're PRO, isn't it lol
asfi2353 years ago
Are you using lead-free solder? If so, I can see why you need the flux pen -- lead-free soldering is crazy fussy and I can just barely get the hang of it.