Hi my name is Jeff and I am a Maker. In this "Introduction to Soldering", I share my technique and the tools I use to make a simple LED project.
Step 1: Required Tools
Soldering requires a few basic tools. The attached photos are the tools I have used since I was a kid. Buy quality tools and take care of them and they will last a life time.
- Iron (mine is just a basic one but some day I will upgrade to a variable temperature soldering station)
- Solder iron stand with sponge (wet)
- Solder wick (not used in this project, but helpful for fixing mistakes)
- Desoldering pump or solder sucker (not used in this project, but helpful for fixing mistakes)
- Helping hands with magnify glass
- Wire strippers
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- Electrical tape (not used in this project but should always be in your tool box)
*** Safety First **** Remember to always wear safety glasses and work in a well ventilated area
Step 2: Soldering Project - Maker Badge
A great first project to introduce someone to soldering is the Maker Shed's Makey Badge. You often find it as a demo at Maker Fairs or Maker Spaces.
You can buy it online for $3
Step 3: Tinning the Solder Iron Tip
Before building the kit you first have to prepare the iron.
Tinning the tip cleans the tip of any buildup and ensure good solder flow and heat conduction.
Apply solder to the hot tip and let it flow all over, then wipe it off on a wet sponge.
The tip should look shinny afterwards.
Step 4: Install the Batery Clip
Now to start building. First we install the battery clip.
It goes into the slots in the back of the badge.
The helping hands hold everything in place while you solder. Also it helps prevent any accidental burns from the hot components.
The attached maker video at the end of the instructable shows my technique.
I apply solder to the hot tip. Then I put the tip to the two metal parts, conducting heat to both while applying more solder to the junction.
You are looking for a good flow of solder around both parts to make a good electrical connection.
Afterwards you should see a clean shinny bead at the junction.
If the parts wiggle, you will have to redo the soldering. Use the soldering wick and pump with a heated tip to clean off the old solder. Then repeat the soldering steps.
Repeat for the other battery connections.
It will take practice. Don't get discouraged if it is not perfect from the start. As a kid I would take old radios apart and re-solder them for practice and fun.
Step 5: Install the Lapel Pin
Next instal the lapel pin. It goes through the front and solders from the back.
Use the same technique outlined in the previous step.
Step 6: Soldering the LEDs
Next install the LEDs. A LED has a short leg and a long leg. There is also a flat indentation on one side.
- Anode = positive + (long leg)
- Cathode = negative - (short leg & flat indentation)
You use the same soldering method outline previous. But now that you are soldering actual electronic components, take care you do not overheat them. If they are heated to long they could be damaged. Work fast.
Step 7: Install Battery & Test
Test the circuit by inserting the included battery.
If the lights don't blink, go over each connection with the hot tip checking for good electrical conduction. Check for correct polarity of the battery and LEDs.
Please leave comments on your experience learning how to solder.