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Sometimes desoldering electronic components with more than two or three legs can be a pain, specially without the right tools, that's why I made this MacGyver style "pen" that blows a high pressure blast of air to the hot tin, making it disappear from the leads of the component.

It works as a spud gun, but in a smaller scale, also, instead of having a projectile it has a 3mm metal nozzle that lets the combustion gasses to go out at a very high speed.

This kind of tin remover it's a bit messy since it blows the tin away, since tin contains lead, it is contaminant for the environment, I advice you to broom the floor after you're done with it and keep the lead rests in a container for proper disposal.

The materials I used are:
  • A strong and thick canister with a tight lid.
  • A piezo igniter from a lighter.
  • 2x Plastic bridles.
  • Solid core wire.
  • A pen with a metal tip (a plastic tip would melt when touching the tin).
The only tool I used is a drill with bits of several sizes.

Here's a video so you can see it in action:


Step 1:

To make it first we cut the pen at a proper length, enough to have half the length of the canister inside it and about 5 centimeters out, that way it won't lose performance, once it's done we can make a small bevel so it fits more easily into the canister.

Fitting the pen into the canister is the most crucial part, the hole must be very tight so you must be very careful not to exceed the correct size. In my case, I made a very tight hole, I had to insert the pen with a rubber hammer (a small bevel works wonders in here), it's so tight that it doesn't even needs any kind of glue to hold the pen firmly.

In case you've made the hole slightly bigger and the pen is a bit lose you can sand both parts and use epoxy glue to join them, but don't use epoxy at the inner part of the canister because alcohol damages it.

Step 2:

Now I added the piezo in order to have an igniter, I was tired of the method of sticking it to the canister using epoxy because every time the piezo broke I had to do a lot of work, instead I used two plastic bridles.

To place the piezo firmly I made to hollow paths so the bridles couldn't move when placed, I also sanded a flat surface that would reduce the stress suffered by the piezo by being pressed against the plastic.

Fastening the bridles I firmly attach the piezo ready for a quick replacement if needed.

If you want to use epoxy to attach it you can look at my other instructable about how to make a mini spud gun.

Step 3:

The last part is to make the spark fly between two terminals, to do that I wrapped solid wire around the bridle so it was in contact with the cap of the piezo, I extended the other wire and covered the union with shrink tube.

When the cables are ready make two holes to insert two screws that will be connected to the wires of the piezo, insert the screws so the points are close to each other and wrap some wire around them.
Be aware where do you place the screws, if you put them touching the skin you might get some annoying shocks every time you use it.

To make the piezo easier to press I removed the inner spring, this can be done by holding the pin of the striker to take it out and then removing it. You can notice in the video I have to pull of the striker to use it again, you can replace the original spring by a softer pen spring cut to an adequate length but I think this is good enough.
I also made a flat surface at the tip by melting the plastic and then pressing it against a knife.

Step 4: How to Use It:

-To load the "pen" two drops of alcohol are enough for 2 or 3 uses, never add more than this amount, on one side because if you put too many alcohol it can start to burn and if you spill it it would be a disaster, and by the other side too much alcohol negatively effects the performance of this device.

-When using it it never point to yourself because you would be throwing yourself tiny tin fragments that are quite hot, I've burned myself quite a few times with tin drops, it doesn't hurts too much but it's something I always try to avoid.

-By pointing the opposite direction with a certain inclination I can assure you it's very hard to be hit.

-If you are inexperienced I suggest you to use safety goggles.

Again, you can see the video to see how I use it and how it works:


<p>good idea but you really should get a solder sucker. This keeps you from sending solder all over a circuit board and creating more work to hunt down shorts.</p>
<p>You're right, but I intend to use it to desolder components to savage them, the circuit boards it'll be working on are just old junk.</p><p>As you said solder sucker would work better if you don't want to make a mess specially on functional circuit boards.</p>
<p>I suppose if all you want to do is scrap passives then that would probably be alright. In a repair situation, a solder sucker runs about $6-10 and is an important piece to any electronics lab.</p>
<p>I already bought a pen sucker for 2.50&euro;, works quite nicely, compared to it, this seems quite unpractical.</p>
Nice tool. If you're not worried about the boards I recommend using an electric hotplate to desolder.
<p>Nice Project Victor!</p>
<p>Thanks.</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm an electronic engineering student. I don't usually have much spare time but I like to work on random projects to keep myself ... More »
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