INSANELY HOT DIY Hot Air Soldering iron @ 15 Volts DC and 3.5 amps...PART II

Picture of INSANELY HOT DIY Hot Air Soldering iron @ 15 Volts DC and 3.5 amps...PART II
359 degrees centigrade and with room for more ;) This is the permanent version to my earlier prototype. I have added adjustable nozzles, used a smaller heater element and of all things, butchered a scooter handle to hold it all together. If you look at this and my other instructable, you are surely able to make your own. Big improvement with this final model is that the heating element is thermally isolated from the main housing...a big change from the standard shop brought soldering irons. This isolation of heat allowed me to reach insane temperatures without cooking my hand. Here is the link click here to the prototype that started this off....

anyways...i have stated my experiences and since making the front page of MAKE, some people have their noses out of joint and have become quiet the TROLL...this is it for me and I merely posted my experience and did not baffle anyone with theoretical tripe...You make your own mind up....I am not into defending myself against TROLLS who think they know better than anyone else...You all have good weekend, and if I create another working project, remind me to proclaim that the world is not flat and give my accusers a bundle of stones

Step 1: To start, you need one of these...

Picture of To start, you need one of these...
Hot air gun from the dump...or anywhere you can get your hands on one. Does not need to work. The down side is that you need to get one that has cylindrical ceramic tubing in the heater department - see later stuff for more of what I mean. The metal tube housing and all attached bitz such as motor is what you will need if you follow this instructable.

to all those people commenting about the current availability and low price for a tool of this kind, beware, as is it not the same in other countries, you all are blessed to be in a first world country, for those of us living in the outside,aka third world, this is an excellent post for something with such a prohibitive price. thanks for posting this instructable.

JacFlasche3 years ago
I guess this would be ok if you have a heat gun with a ceramic encapsulated element that has a broken handle or something, but before you spend any time or effort, realize that you can buy a hot air rework station for about a hundred dollars new. It will have all kinds of safety features that this does not, and temp and air flow controls, digital displays etc. Actually my ten year old Steinel heat gun will do things that this cannot and you can pick up a nice used one for 30 on ebay or even less if you are patient. This is not even close to insanely hot. My old Steinel still goes to 820 C which is fairly standard and not at all insane, and has infinitely adjustable heat and air (within parameters) I got it for about $50 ten years ago. By the way, some of the people you are in some kind of flame thing with are right, you should take the word of professionals with twenty years experience who are trying to clue you. Here is a link to a video of a professional hot air rework station being built. It has both an iron and hot air.


Thanks for the link. Very high efficient production. I can see the whole hot air rework station to be assembled within 9 minutes. To find out more about this topic, you can check out the hot air rework station reviews here. BTW, a professional hot air station costs around $50. For safety concern, most of us should consider buying one other than making it by yourself.

hakam663 years ago
make power supply for Hot Air Gun
i know where to get a hot air jet
Where did this ceramic tube come from?
You can use a high watt resistor, some resistor is tube and its ceramic
OzzyRoo (author)  The Lightning Stalker7 years ago
innards of a paintsripper heat gun, I understand not all come with the cylinders.
beatobe5 years ago
where i can find a ceramic tube like that???
emuman4evr7 years ago
I dont think 359 degrees is hot enough to melt solder.
thats 359 degrees Celsius.
 google it.
400 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to melt solder 359 degrees Celsius is 678 degrees Fahrenheit that's about 200 degrees over solder's melting temperature
DIY Dave5 years ago
Couldn't you just use a heat gun?
karossii5 years ago
Just thought I would leave a comment here.. Ozzy, your instructable is a good one, and you've done a wonderful job in making this hot air soldering/de-soldering gun. It is an ingenious project.

However, those whom you are calling Trolls (and who are doing nothing in the realm of trolling) are actually correct. These devices have been around for ages... you have not invented anything new here. I know you don't necessarily claim to have done so...however I have to point out that some of us have had a lot of experience using devices like this, and you are jumping to some wrong conclusions.

This doesn't mean you did a bad job in making your device, or that it is worthless, etc.; it only means that this device has some specific uses in which it excels, and normal everyday soldering is no one of them. Yes it can do that job, but not as good as the traditional metal tipped soldering irons.

A google search can easily reveal the commercially available devices like this, and some online research will equally readily reveal the fact that they are not the best thing for traditional soldering.

That doesn't mean it cannot be used for such, only that it is not as good as a normal soldering iron.
targon karossii5 years ago
 It used to solder SMD components and BGA chips and not intended for hole through technology.
lemonie7 years ago
That's comprehensive. How does hot air compare to hot metal, with regard to frying components on the board? I guess you'd be mainly using the underside? L
OzzyRoo (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Transfer of heat to desired object is obviously much quicker with air from what I have experienced using this tool.
lemonie OzzyRoo7 years ago
What about heat transfer to other objects? Again, I guess you're using this on the underside?

OzzyRoo (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Mate, I just tell it for what it is....thermodynamic heat transfer is obviously much quicker with air ... why do you think people have fan forced ovens or fans in their freezers etc?
OzzyRoo (author)  OzzyRoo7 years ago
Putting it another way...the hot air passing over a soldered joint or a joint to be soldered does a far more quick and efficient job at heating the desired area only...using primitive conductive methods with hot metal tip against cold metal joint takes some time for temperature to equilibrate to a desired melting point. In waiting for this point to be reached by traditional methods, it is my view that there is sufficient time for the component sensitive to heat to be cooked. It is this time difference that prevents components being fried in the conventional sense as the job is allready done before damaging heat reaches the further away components.
ac-dc OzzyRoo7 years ago
The heat transfer is much worse with air than with a soldering iron. Why people have fan forced ovens is because they are contrasting that with only air, not with direct heated metal contact. Hot metal is substantially faster, your science is wrong and everyone who has ever used a hot air soldering station knows it takes longer per joint. The reason to use hot air is one of two things: 1) The solder joint is in accessible with a soldering iron, like under a BGA chip, and requires either an oven or at least the hot air station. 2) Desoldering parts, when all leads have to be molten simultaneously for the part to come off without damage. Beyond these two, it is inferior to just blast hot air all over a region when only one solder joint at a time needs to be made. The reason is that you cannot control this primative hot air gun as accurately as a soldering iron with integral temp sensor and regulation, nor as well as a manufacturer with a precision oven or solder bath. Since the hot air gun heats a larger area to an uncontrolled max temp, it is more likely to damage parts until there is trial and error in it's use and even then, acceptible use for parts not very heat sensitive will not qualify that technique for more sensitive parts. A hot air station does have good uses for the aforementioned #1 & 2, but believe me there is no question at all, the entire world known it is not as good nor as fast as the soldering irons used for these joints when it is not an automated process in the oven or bath line.
klee27x ac-dc5 years ago
Well, heat capacity of metal vs air isn't the entire picture. A standard soldering iron will only effectively conduct at the point where it contacts. Hot air will flow all the way around the joint - front, sides, and back - as well as heating the immediate surrounding areas, reducing loss to heatsinking. So maybe you guys are too busy being right to realize that you are arguing the wrong point?
ac-dc klee27x5 years ago
You only want the heat conducted at the point where it contacts, unless you have a multi-lead component requiring all of the solder joints to be melted simultaneously to pluck a part off a PCB it was already soldered onto. The last thing you want is to have the hot air flowing around the rest of the part and surrounding areas, only to be on the solder joint itself is the ideal. The heat is supposed to be applied at the end of the lead so that the solder to component body heat ratio is as high as possible to reduce the possibility of heat damaging the part. Believe it, I use both tools regularly. When you need a hot air wand there is no substitute, but when you don't need one, when a soldering iron can do the job, it always works better.
OzzyRoo (author)  ac-dc7 years ago
I have seen some bullsh#t before but had to come back and say mate, your the best ;)
Vermin OzzyRoo7 years ago
Nice work but ac-dc is correct.
OzzyRoo (author)  Vermin7 years ago
lol...enter the TROLLS....LMFAO....DON'T KNOW WHAT INDUSTRY standard you referring to...please quote reference before citing
Vermin OzzyRoo7 years ago
I am not a troll, I am an electronics technician with 15+ years designing, repairing and installing electronic equipment. If you would like to read some industry standard documentation on rework and repair I can suggest IPC-7711 and IPC-7721, but it's basic thermodynamics, and until you are old enough to understand this I suggest you listen to people trying to help you rather than flaming them.
IPC-7711/21 i think is interesting
OzzyRoo (author)  Vermin7 years ago
old enuff...if only YOU knew...and if only you knew my quals...lol
OzzyRoo (author)  Vermin7 years ago
DC IS ACTUALLY MORE CORRECT MATEY....i have this running on twelve volt dc lead acid battery...lol....would never have believed the trolls would strike once i make front page on MAKE...rofl
Vermin OzzyRoo7 years ago
I was referring to the person's nick name above not your project's power supply.
ac-dc OzzyRoo7 years ago
Why are you trolling about industry-wide established fact? It is indisputible that the thermal conduction of air is lower than that of an iron tip, and further, the ideal goal of soldering is to heat only the specific area upon which the molten solder needs to flow, and that at a controlled temp. I'm not knocking the idea for a cheap hot air station, it certainly has some useful applications, but that does not make it universally superior in many situations, actually in no situations except the two I already enumerated previously and only then, after testing to determine the resultant heat level per duration and distance.
OzzyRoo (author)  ac-dc7 years ago
lol....now I have seen it all....I just posted my results...many theories I don't care about...I ma happy and that is all that matters...if others want to try out and recreate..all good...you wanna knock something without trying it out..go for it...you two guyz are not British?
lemonie OzzyRoo7 years ago
I meant do you inadvertantly heat other components which would otherwise remain cool (with a metal-tip iron)? L
OzzyRoo (author)  lemonie7 years ago
No I dont...The heat transfer is too quik to leave the solder tip hanging there and also the nozzle tips are interchangaeable...as I mentioned in my instructable...a a certain point the surfacing legendary knockers are sure to ignore..lol
_soapy_ OzzyRoo7 years ago
Eh? That's wrong. Air has a far, far lower thermal mass than the tip of a soldering iron, which is made of copper (the second or third most heat conductive metal, with a high specific heat capacity) Yes, you can pump a load of hot air through very fast, but it isn't going to beat a well fluxed metal soldering iron. Where this wins out is that you can melt the solder without having to get the tip to touch anything, and you can melt a wider area. You can also vary the heat flow rate more rapidly, by changing the current to the coil and the rate of air flow, if you want, unlike a standard soldering iron (but, of course, there are temperature controlled soldering irons, but they are more expensive) I tend to use a butane powered gas soldering iron, since it needs no mains lead, and so doesn't get in the way, plus, if you crank it up to full, it gets insanely hot and melts even large blobs of solder in a few moments. However, I'll be building one of these for re-work, since you otherwise can't hold the solder sucker, the iron, the board and the component all at the same time! With this being non-contact, a simple clamp will hold it in the right area, and the rest of things can be arranged to suit.
OzzyRoo (author)  _soapy_7 years ago
no where did i state that air has MORE thermal mass than a solid
_soapy_ OzzyRoo7 years ago
No, but you are saying that, if you argue that

thermodynamic heat transfer is obviously much quicker with air ... why do you think people have fan forced ovens or fans in their freezers etc?

because you are trying to say (or so it seems) that the air has more heat. And that would be wrong.
it has nothing to do with wether or not it is safer for the components, it is for rework, and disassembly, or for SMD paste soldering. either you use a hot air gun on your board to paste solder, or you put it in Wifey's oven and she beats your head in with your own project after the paste resin contaminates the cooking area.
gargoyle1696 years ago
When combined with a DIY reflow (toaster) oven, this tool can assemble PCB's with a .4 mm pitch, I would not go any smaller do to the constraint of temperature control being rather spotty in a DIY like this. (Somebody who has been working fine pitch since 1980 for gov/mil/ and now private sector.)
DrStoooopid7 years ago
What's the application for this? Please excuse my ignorance. What's a hot air soldiering iron for?
OzzyRoo (author)  DrStoooopid7 years ago
making coffee
no I'm serious....what is a hot air soldiering iron used for? I know what a soldiering iron is used for, but what benefit does the air give you? Why would you use it over a regular one?
SMT work and heat shrink tubing mostly.
OzzyRoo (author)  The Lightning Stalker7 years ago
plus other uses open to your imagination
Derin OzzyRoo7 years ago
hair-drying. sorry i mean scalp burning
A hot air gun, without modifications mentioned, is good for heat shrink tubing. A hot air soldering station is used when a part has multiple joints that need melted simultaneously for removal (repair work or prototypes, for example), or when the discrete part has leads/contacts/etc that are not accessible with a soldering iron.

This hot air technique is not a substitute for normal soldering of leaded or surface mount parts. That is true even if it were a controlled temp which this is not. This hot air hack could be a useful addition to your soldering tool set, but never a replacement for a good soldering iron when one could be used instead.
OzzyRoo (author)  ac-dc7 years ago
correction....hot air technique by my experience is far better than traditional methods...more precise as outlined in my diy article and others by other geniuses...lmfao...replying to my messages too...quiet the TROLL
Amazing, a troll tracked you down to post a negative comment on your rather excellent instructable. I tell, you a kid can't cut up his scooter and make a heat gun without someone cutting him down. Don't worry about it. I think you did an excellent job. Once you get to the top of a hill, people will always throw rocks at you. That's how you know you are going in the right direction!
rob_fed6 years ago
This is great! I changed out my handle bars on a cheap Chinese electric scooter and I have the exact piece you used :) I have been using it as a short cheater or leverage bar on my ratchet driver. Now I have a new inspiration! Thanks!
Plasmana6 years ago
I really want to try build one of those...
This is a really well made project, it's impressive both in quality and it seems to work...

Sad about the trolls, gotta say they'll take anything you give them, I liked the ones where they angrily pointed out your point then agreed, just to tell you you're still wrong. Some people are smart, some people are dumb, some cockroaches are stupid and then there are trolls...
I have a professionally built one-of-these that uses helium as the mover and it'll reach air temperatures of 2000 degrees. It is the only thing I'll use to solder stainless steel parts. This could have saved me $400.
sedition7 years ago
You made Make, congrats!
OzzyRoo (author)  sedition7 years ago
thanks mate...this is just an idea that became reality and works for me...despite the opinions of others who have haven't tried it out in the real world ;)
ac-dc OzzyRoo7 years ago
Oh but they have tried it in the real world. There are real, professional grade, highly accurate temp and flow volume + shape hot air rework stations. Nobody uses them for the tasks you suggest because they are inferior to any decent soldering iron. Hot air is suitable for reflowing solder paste, one-off soldering down of BGA chips, desoldering of these and multi-pinned through hole parts. It is a terrible choice for general soldering. Professionals know this as does the entire world. As already written, this is a neat project and can be handy for some of the aforementioned things if you get the temp distance and timing right so it doesn't damage anything, but there are real issues using this kind of tool where it is not warranted. In some cases a semi or fully populated board represents a lot of work, time, and cost. Ruining it through an experimental and know improper soldering technique needs no testing today, as soldering is not a new skill to man and industries spend millions if not billions of dollars to find the best methods. My comments may seem negative to you but they can save a few people a lot of problems by recognizing when this is and when this is not a good tool for the job.
As a bench jeweler, sometimes I had to weld links on light chains. I used a "Little Torch" oxy/acy rig. It was easy to accidentally melt work. If a light-chain link melted, it appeared the surface tension of the puddled gold could/would/did suck the free end of the chain right into the puddle -- a 12" chain became a 1/8th inch blob in half a heart beat. When soldering on light chains or in tight corners, I was taught to localize the heat by soldering thru the holes in a double-edged razor blade. The blade was clamped in a "third hand". Could electronic components be similarly protected when hot-air soldering?
OzzyRoo (author)  airwelldriller7 years ago
that is my experience, despite trolls floating empty theories to the contrary ;)
dpocius7 years ago
Where I used to work (semiconductor R&D fab, long time ago) we had a similar device made of nichrome wire and quartz tubing. The wire was coiled in a 1/8" or so coil, then wound into a helix which was then stuffed into a 1/2" - 3/4" ID quartz tube. The end result looked like an old toaster heater element stuffed into a glass tube (Don't throw away that old toaster!). A handle was attached, and the back end was plumbed to a dry purified nitrogen source through rubber tubing and a needle valve to regulate the flow. The nichrome heating element was connected to a 120VAC variable autotransformer to control power. With a bit of fiddling, the gadget could produce a jet of 1000 C N2, useful for all sorts of things, like removing brazed-on caps on hermetically-sealed ICs. Ours was homemade, but I seem to recall GTE Sylvania made one also.
OzzyRoo (author)  dpocius7 years ago
sounds like my beast ;)...maybe mine wasn't a world first after all...;P
How would you keep the nuts and bolts from loosening up from the thermal expansion/contraction?
OzzyRoo (author)  The Lightning Stalker7 years ago
there is none
meritsetgo7 years ago
this fyi for those who wonder why we would need such a thing. It is great for removing paint, caulk, adhesives, etc from surfaces without using chemical strippers. You could also use it to kill weeds (poison ivy anyone?) in your yard (patio, driveway, etc) without using chemicals. If you ever need to strip paint from furniture or any wood surface that you want to restore this is a great alternative. This tool also helps you collect salvageable electronic parts by quickly desoldering them from pcb boards (i know, it is redundant to say "boards").Turn the board upside down and a quick blast of hot air will melt the solder freeing the parts before the solder has a chance to re-harden but before you damage the parts themselves from the high heat. Finally it is a great tool for soldering those pesky plumbing copper fittings in tight areas where using an open flame torch might risk a fire.
OzzyRoo (author)  meritsetgo7 years ago
EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...you guessed it, ova my dummy spit from the trolls earlier :) BIG BIG THANKYOU for saying it for wot it is... "Turn the board upside down and a quick blast of hot air will melt the solder freeing the parts before the solder has a chance to re-harden but before you damage the parts themselves from the high heat"
OzzyRoo (author)  OzzyRoo7 years ago
thinks I betta be polite and read the comments and reply after several months absence
uCHobby7 years ago
This is a great project, well done.

I bought a heat embossing tool for about $20 that will do a simular job. Here is a link describing a SMT soldering process using one of these heat guns. There is a video of a board being soldered there as well. SMT Tools
chalky7 years ago
once again you have raised the bar my friend, i shall be putting one of these together for sure, excellent.
OzzyRoo (author)  chalky7 years ago
Thanks mate....would be interested to see what problems you encounter...I had many :)
whatsisface7 years ago
This is brilliant. Well done!
OzzyRoo (author)  whatsisface7 years ago
Cheers and thanks :)
ryzellon7 years ago
Can you indulge the lazy people and put a link at the beginning of this intro to part I of your instructable? (There's also another hot air soldering iron instructable, so if you had put the link in the intro, I wouldn't be as tempted to click on the other person's instructions!)
OzzyRoo (author)  ryzellon7 years ago
Fixed it...good pointer and thanks :)
OzzyRoo (author)  James (pseudo-geek)7 years ago
So was the missus...lol
rimar20007 years ago
Very good job
OzzyRoo (author)  rimar20007 years ago
Thanks mate!
Another great instructable OzzyRoo. I already have a small hot-air gun but I could often do with something with a bit more power.
OzzyRoo (author)  Patrick Pending7 years ago
Thanks mate...this job was a one off thing. $$$ was short ;)