How to Get an Instructables Patch by Contributing to "Learn to Solder Month"


Introduction: How to Get an Instructables Patch by Contributing to "Learn to Solder Month"

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

In case your calendars haven't already alerted you, it's Learn to Solder Month! As cold weather sets in and darkness comes early, why not curl up next to the warm soldering iron and try your hand at
learning how to solder?

As part of Learn to Solder Month, guides on how to solder have begun to appear all over the place, including Make Magazine's How To Solder Skill Building Work Shop by Joe Grand and Boing Boing's link to a Street Tech How-To by Gareth Branwyn. We even have our own right here! -- How to solder.

For many of our best Instructables, soldering is a fundamental skill, and one where you just can't have too many guides or references. So for the entire month of January, if you post an Instructable whose main purpose is to teach an aspect of soldering, we'll send you an Instructables patch.

Any aspect of soldering at all is fair game and will earn you a patch. If the technique you want to teach has already been covered here or anywhere else, that's OK - give your Instructable a personal touch and highlight specific details that helped you. Cover the basics, or go into great depth on a specific aspect. Your Instructable must meet our minimum criteria, which includes good images, preferably ones using macro, and proper spelling and grammar. Add your Instructable to the How to Solder group so it's easy to find.

Here are some of the other guides that you might find useful:
Make Magazine's soldering guide
Soldering guide by Tom Hammond hosted at

Step 1: How to Claim Your Patch

Publish your Instructable during January 2007. If it meets our criteria for good documentation (good images, preferably using macro, proper spelling and grammar), we'll contact you via personal message.



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    My first instructable is up! Now to start work on the next few. If this is learn to solder month, what is next month?

    2 replies

    I'm not certain yet. What other skills are people interested in learning?

    sewing ,mechanical thibgs like fixing bikes

    Here is how I solder. I clean the materials I wish to solder. I use either steel wool, or sandpaper. Sandpaper creates scratches, scratches that aid in solder's ability to grip a surface. This is called brightening. I use a clean soldering iron tip. Clean is the operative method with soldering. Rosin flux acts as a cleaning agent, and aids in the wetting action of solder too. Appling a small amount of rosin flux is often helpful in aiding solder flow over a joint. Tinning materials prior to soldering them makes soldering easier. Tinning is applying solder to one piece of a joint. Create a stong mechanical connection between materials to be soldered together, by twisting wires, folding sheets, or clamping items together. Objects need to maintain their physical relationship to each other until the solder solidifies. Heat the joint between materials equally. Proper soldering iron tip orientation, and location is important. Feed some solder into the joint. Solder the joint, not the iron. The iron is to apply heat, you wish to create a solder joint though. Solder runs to heat, so feeding solder onto the iron will not feed a joint. You may need to touch the iron with solder a little to begin the wetting process though. This is about the only place where experience teaches in soldering. Once wetting begins remove solder from the iron and feed the joint. Apply heat until solder has flowed throughout. the entire joint. As an aside, when soldering a component onto a printed circuit board, try to heat the board pad, not the component. A properly executed solder joint will have a bright shiny appearance. Not dull, or wrinkled. The form of the underlying material shape should be able to be seen through the solder. A fillet is preferable to a convex shape. One does not want blobs, globs, or beads in their finished work. Soldering is easy if you follow these simple rules, clean, tin, attach, and flow. May all of your connections be strong.

    1 reply

    Right-On-Brother, Ive soldered for years thats as good as it gets.....

    DAMN! I missed it! if only i'd known, i'd have posted an instructable on how to solder with a gas torch, or how to braze (high temp. soldering using a copper based alloy)...i'll keep an eye out next time for what month it is. I want a patch!

    Will an entry qualify for the patch if I write about first aid for solder injuries and soldering safety? I'm an EMT so I have burn training.

    3 replies

    That's stretching it, but to be honest, I've burned myself a ton of times while soldering and could definitely use a refresher on what to do. So, yes it would earn you a patch.

    I posted my Instructable. I was going to include a page about the cold soldering device but I have never tried it and as such do not feel comfortable recommending it.

    Looks like you haven't hit "publish" yet. Also, an intro image would make it much better. Other than that, it looks good!

    I've created an article and added it... now how do I get my patch?

    3 replies

    I'll contact all the solder Instructable authors via personal message.

    Sorry to be annoying but do we really just have to add the instructable to the group, or do something else? :P

    Just add it to the group before the end of the month. Nothing else, besides making sure it's a great Instructable, of course!

    Yaaaay Instructables patch... I think...

    What if my camera is really crappy? Is it still possible to "meet the criteria" and get a patch?

    1 reply

    There are a number of instructables on taking good picture with poor cameras. Check the Instructables Help group. Also, I'm sure there's an element of soldering that you can document with the tools you have.

    wouldn't stickers be cheaper and easier to make.