Introduction: DIY Cheap and Easy Way to Tin Your PCB Using Soldering Iron
When I was a beginner in PCB printing, and soldering I always had problem that the solder isn't sticking at right place, or the copper traces break, get oxidized and many more. But I got familiar with a lot of techniques and hacks and one of them was, Tinning. For those who didn't know about tinning- It is the process in which we coat the copper traces with another conducting material ( generally tin or solder which is composed of tin and lead) to protect the copper traces from oxidation, increase the surface area of the cross section of copper trace so that it will have less resistivity and you can even make PCBs which can conduct AC mains ( BE CAREFUL). And most of all you can now solder your components more with extremely clear joint just with one touch of your soldering iron.
But tinning PCBs is only possible through few expensive methods like electroplating, liquid tinning, using hot air reflow station. But few days ago I successfully tinned PCB using soldering iron.
Now let us gather the materials.
Step 1: Materials
Almost all the equipments required may be already present at your workplace.
1.) Soldering wire ( 45 cm at least)
2.) Soldering Iron ( put one of your any old bit on your soldering iron, you will about to know why)
3.) Foil ( any small one will work)
4.) PCB ( it may be the wrong printed one if you just want to test)
5.) Flux ( The good one )
6.) Aluminium foil ( Nothing to explain about it :)
7.) Most Important requirement- "Lot of guts to cope up with my English" :D
NOTE: If you have solderpaste or you wish to reduce mess (new experience of making it at home and fun too) then you can buy it on ebay and jump to 6th step also you need nothing other than soldering iron and PCB if you have solderpaste
Step 2: Making a Solder Lump
First, take your soldering iron but do not turn it on, Wrap some aluminium foil on the bit of your iron and press it tightly after that wrap about 40cm of solder wire in the tip of the bit, as shown in picture, then wrap the aluminium foil above and add multiple layers because you will not like that movement when melted hot metal is falling on your clothes, furniture or tiles.
In material requirements I suggested to use old bit because the hot solder will remain for some time with aluminium foil and can damage the bit.
After completing that task turn on the soldering iron be careful, keep observing, when I was doing it for first time it took less time than expected and the hot metal started falling out.
Remove the coverings of aluminium foil and take out our little lump of solder.
So I want you to be very careful while doing it first time, I can't tell you about the correct time interval for turning on the soldering iron because it depends on the other factors too, such as temprature of your surrounding, type of solder wire( My was 60-40).
when you do it successfully then turn off the soldering on and let it cool.
Step 3: Turning the Lump Into Powder
There are various ways to turn your solder ball into powder, the method which I used to do by using a small foil, and you may use a grinder but I think it will create very fine dust of lead which can easily enter lungs.
Once the lump is in your hand, it is possible that many ideas can pop up in your mind for how to turn it into a powder, be creative.
Step 4: Burning Some Calories
Well, you can do nothing other than burning few calories rubbing that piece of solder on foil.
For safety I will recommend to wear mask in this step.
Step 5: Make the Paste
collect all the powder on a plastic and add flux to it and add it, mix it, add it, mix it ............
Do it until you get a grey paste. as shown in above picture.
Now you are ready with your homemade solder paste.
Step 6: Tinning the PCB Using Soldering Iron.
This is my new way of tinning the PCBs using the soldering iron, just spread all the paste evenly and move your soldering iron over it gently. You can watch my video to understand it more how it works.
Well here, my short and sweet second instructable ends.
Any suggestion will be highly appreciated.
Thank You :)