Step 4: Parts List

What we are going to construct is still technically a resistance style soldering iron like a traditional iron, but instead of heating a metal tip to melt the solder and heat the joint, we will be heating the work directly. We need just a few simple parts. Many builders will have most of the parts already.

We need:

1. A power supply with low voltage and high amperage. Anything around 5-10v and 5+ amps should be sufficient. After scrounging, it occured to me: an old PC power supply! it has a 5v circuit rated for around 15 amps.

2. An old soldering iron or anything suitable for a handle.

3. Two small scraps of copper or brass. Any metal may do, but it's what I had.

4. A sliver of mica. You don't have mica? What the hell... ok.. Just use some plexi-glass, like I did. People have also recommended Glass or a slice of a ceramic light bulb socket. The thinner the material, the better. Somewhere around 1/8 to 1/16th of an inch would be good.

5. A few feet of 8 to 12 gauge wire.

6. A working solder gun (Yes, I understand the irony...)

7. some lead refills for a mechanical pencil (thickness doesn't matter)

8. Some tools, including a small file and a wire snips. The actual list of tools may vary slightly depending on the parts you scavenge and what kinds of destruction you must rein down upon them to get them to cooperate.

9. Electrical tape.

10. A Craftsman multimeter. Optional, but highly recommended. There is no better precision instrument available.

11. A variable resistor of some kind that can handle the 5V voltage coming out of the PSU. I was thinking a pedal from a sewing machine, or perhaps a standard rheostat of some kind. This is also optional and the demo here is made without one, but many people have made this recommendation.

Now pile all that together and go have a snack.. When you return, we begin the chaos.
<p>Great Instructable, really enjoyed reading. For the graphite, I wonder if one could cut up old AA,AAA size batteries of the cheapie variety and use the central electrode. Methinks some pyromaniac used it somewhere for a carbon arc furnace. Will probably need to be machined down in dia. to fit.</p>
<p>This is a beautiful instructable. I can't wait to do it.</p>
<p>Dude, that was very funny and informative. If you need cheap graphite, do a search for tool and die or mold making companies. They tend to use sinker EDM (electro discharge machining) and the primary material used for the electrode is....graphite. When the pieces get to be too small to mill into another trode, most shops just chuck it. Ask them nicely and I'm sure they'd give you a bucket full. If not, drop me a message and I'll see what I have around the shop...</p>
<p>Step one: Goto your local scrapyard. Ask the good people where their printers are.</p><p>Step two: Goto the same scrapyard a second time, hoping this day they actually had old printers come in.</p><p>Step three: Armed with screwdriver, welding gloves, hammer (also known as a Fujianese screwdriver), and a few hours, proceed to bust open old printers and take the motors. You can score a big bagfull on a good day.</p><p>Step four: pay for the laughably underpriced motors from said proprietor of said scrapyard.</p><p>Step five: Set the stepper motors aside to build a CNC machine or something later. Crack open DC motors and remove the graphite contactors. </p><p><strong>https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Carbon_brushes.jpg</strong></p><p>Graphite contactors are hard wearing and designed for friction and strength, they conveniently have copper wires attached, and could be very good for this project.</p>
I tried this instructable. I designed and printed a holder for it out of abs palstic. The volt meter checks out and the power supply is functioning correctly, but I have little to no arcing and it barely heats up. Is there a wait time? what am I doing wrong? I'm using grahite that is fairly thick. I also used a 9v battery with a little but more sucess.
<p>It needs to touch both and you need more amps then when its thicker</p>
<p>I'll try it ASAP. One idea to supply the high amperage: 40-80C Li-po battery for RC models. 4.2V and a 2A 40C Li-po battery can supply max 80A current and the resistance between the leads should be around 0.5 ohms. Thanks for the presentation. </p>
<p>I would use lead acid, they are much safer, as long you dont need it for hand soldering. (Btw arent lipos drained out fast at that rate?)</p>
could you possibly put a fuse in it to prevent damage to your power supply?
<p>The PSU should have a builtin reversable ntc fuse</p>
<p>Most electric heating elements I've seen Do glow. A dull red.</p>
<p>But if it glows like a bulb...</p>
<p>Tip: you can get good graphite from lantern batteries and why 5V? (And must i use solder when i use my 12V battery or would it solder together by melting 2 parts really?)</p>
<p>Smash any of the following and receive free sheets of mica - toaster, hair dryer, some soldering irons (tube shaped, like brittle cardboard), some curling irons, and heat guns. When in doubt, just smash two... A sledge hammer is great for toasters - a drywall hammer or similar for the rest.</p>
<p>Hello,</p><p>just to clarify better for a dumb guy, you can add a drawing / diagram of the assembly?</p>
<p>Couple of quick questions:</p><p>a) how about using a pair of mechanical pencils for the graphite electrodes? a 2mm mechanical pencil should work pretty well, and the clutch mechanism on some pencils are metal, making it pretty easy to get a good connection to the graphite ('lead'). It'd be pretty easy to insulate the grip, e.g. using rescue tape, liquid latex, etc. There are also mechanical carpenter's pencils, like this one: https://striker1.com/pencil.html</p><p>b) is this a similar principle to 'soldering guns'? in which case, would removing the gun's tip and substituting a couple of graphite electrodes work in a similar fashion?</p>
I duno, but using clay for a spacer was my first thought :) <br>
Thank you so much, I was (as part of another project) trying to get a pc power supply to turn on, after I finally got hold of a small cat I got it working. YAY
Kryptonite is real it glows realy cool just google it
Could you use Char-Kole drawing charcoal sticks with a higher voltage to create an iron that will handle large metal pieces? <br>That is what I am interested in doing.
so it would seem that thickness plays an important role in this. the thinner the better.
The translation of low quality sometimesconfuses me, and I'm not even sure about the dimensions of the tip, which seem incompatiblewith the pictures of the phases 01.05.10. When in doubt, I continued searching and found another article on this welding system. There are so many experts who attended with manyvaluable information this fabulous tutorial,including the author himself, I feel a little embarrassed for not having added nothing,except to post the link on another article &quot;coldheat&quot; (pardon me if the said link has already been posted in the last 70 comments that have not read) thanks for sharing this precious ideahttp://eletronicos.hsw.uol.com.br/soldador-cold-heat1.htm
Awesome instructable. If you want to make a battery powered iron that uses a traditional heating element, check out my Instructable.<br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-battery-powered-soldering-iron/
Oh my god thankyou sir. I just finished mine a lol it ago and it works fine. I did it a lil different but I still got the same results still. Once again thank you.
its more like welding
HOW TO MAKE SOLDERING GUN.<br><br>First YOu will need soldering gun.
very well done. funny and informative.
just some tips if you are trying this...<br><br>1. Pencil lead from a standard No 2 wood pencil fits very nicely into female molex connector pins. Makes tip replacement a snap!<br><br>2. after taking apart a wood burner/soldering iron, I noticed that they had wrapped the copper coil around a thin tube of mica. you can use this for the insulation between your contacts.
that big a tube or just one cut rectangle the same thickness as say... a paper? <br> <br>
the tube was a rolled up piece of mica. I unrolled it, cut a few strips and placed them between the female molex pins.
With batteries, you could get a cheap 12v drill and take the battery pack out of it. Then get the individual cells and solder a pack in parallel. You get a low voltage but high amperage. I hope.
not exactly useful for electronics then
i'm going to try a piece of an old pcb for the dielectric, easy to shape, heat resistant, not sure it's a proper dielectric though
in face there is a new man made mineral which has great phosforessence(cant spell) which u put under a light for 2 hrs and it glows bright enough to read by for 12 hrs. they call it krypton because it gives off the green glow just like Superman's nemmisiss (again cant spell)!
If I can have an advice, you should replace the PC power supply with anything else, because it wastes lots of energy (at least ATX does). 10-15 Watts are quite enough for soldering, and since you built a soldering device, the new power supply can be built easily.<br><br>You'll need a casing, 230 VAC male connector with a cable, a 230 to 5 volts transformer, 4 diodes (5V 4A) for a graetz-bridge, a Zener connecting the 5V circuit to the ground for your safety, and a - let's say - 4A fuse also for safety. I assume you know how to build a simple power supply out of this. Then you just connect the output of the circuit to the soldering iron through a switch, push-switch, potentiometer, goldfish, goulash, testicles, whatever you want. The power drawn from the network will approximately equal to power used for work, and no power loss on monitoring and control circuitry will be introduced.
this idea is good, i did find some places for improvement for the smaller projects.<br> <br> what i did was:&nbsp;<br> split the two tips into two smaller parts so that i could solder small chip circuits.<br> it works well but burns the solder leaving it black and non-conductive, im using a Delta Electronics AC adapter for a printer with an output of 30v .83A(too lazy to find a proper adapter) am i using too much current or am i leaving it on there too long?<br> <br> thanks for the great instructable and any feedback would be great!
I advise you to be very careful with that. Stray current (just like static charge) can damage chips. Although it is relatively rare in practice, it is still not the best idea to risk ruining parts of your application.
Not bad at all. However it's unfortunatelly useless for practical soldering. When soldering, we do not only want to mount capacitors, wires and such, but we also use lots of semiconductors which aren't resistant to the drawbacks of this technique. Maybe adding a push-switch and connecting the leads with some metal that warms quickly and can hold heat for a few seconds to do the work will do some in our favor. Doesn't it?
another way is to make the solder into the leads. hear me out connect power to the spool of solder and the other to an alligator clip holding the component o be soldered. the solder will conduct in liquid state to geat the component after its melted :) just use higher gauge solder
One problem would be that as soon as the solder starts to melt, it "pools" slightly making a larger bubble of solder at the tip. This would provide less resistance, moving the high-resistance point farther up the solder string. It would then melt, breaking the connection and making a mess on your bench. Also, the work itself needs to be marginally hotter than the solder in order for the melted material to flow into the connection. The method your talking about would never get the work as warm as the solder, so it would never flow. You may be able to get away with puting the solder inside a metal tube, but you would have to find a way to keep the solder from sticking to the tube after it melts at the tip.
yea i guess it wouldnt work so swell. but there must be a way to do something like that
I know what you mean but its a bad idea!<br/>Some welders use this method but I cannot remember which type?<br/><br/>You can even get soldering robots: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.mta.ch/pages/tbrasage_plateformes_tr300.asp">http://www.mta.ch/pages/tbrasage_plateformes_tr300.asp</a><br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.pcbpolice.com/">PCBPolice Electronics Forum - we need some users....please!</a><br/>
I think you're thinking about MEG welders that use the spool to carry the charge as well as act as the &quot;Solder&quot;....
MIG welders
Instead of struggling to cut grooves in hard, brittle dusty stuff, leave the insulating spacer flat and cut the grooves in the copper.
That would work as well. I cut the groves in the plex in an effort to get the two leads as close together as I could.
I used single-sided PCB for mine....worked out VERY nicely, and there's always enough of it to be found ;)
I imagine touch this while on would feel too good, especially with its amps coming out like that
I have touched the carbon (pencil leads) without incident. The resistance is too high there to shock you. You will feel it if you touch the copper leads though.

About This Instructable


456 favorites


More by photozz: Staying Warm..On Hoth. Techniques for making a few simple boxes Photozz's Workshop
Add instructable to: