The Back Pocket Soldering Kit

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Introduction: The Back Pocket Soldering Kit

About: I am on the path of becoming a true jack of all trades and master of maybe somethings. I live in South Africa and is currently a recovering vegetarian and amateur mustache grower. I (almost) fix and fly ai...

As a budding electronics enthusiasts, I made alot of things on my farm autonomous. With that came the problem that my soldering skill is a bit dodgy.
Recently I had to repair a few of these dodgy solders, which means I had to disassemble and take the part with me to the workshop.
This is a 10km + drive.

So as it is said, necessity is the mother of invention.
This is my kit I can drop in my back pocket, in my cabby hole, I even have one in my sun visor.

Step 1: The Supply Run.

Here in South Africa we don't have altiods (which is a bummer) so I had to improvise.
I went to an antique shop and bought about five or six tins.
The other things you can pick up at a hobby shop or a good supermarket. But honestly, most things are in your scrap bin.

1. Tin (Altiod size)
2. Cigarette lighter (steal a bic lighter from a friend that smokes.)
3. Copper paper clip or copper wire
4. Bamboo skewer
5. Solder (duh kind of)
6. Magnet (optional)
7. Alligator clip (optional)
8. Magnet
9. Glue stick (optional)
10. Insulation tape.
11. Some scotch bright pads.

Tools.
Well a good multi tool wil do.

If you have multiple tools:
1. Needle nose plier
2. Flathead/Common skrewdriver
3. Hammer (optional)

An bit of willpower and coffee will surely help. (you'll just have to trust me on those)

Step 2: The Soldering Iron

I've seen this around the Internet a few times. Unlike them I attached my point apart from the lighter and not in it.

So what to do?

Take the bamboo skewer, the larger the better, and cut roughly a 5cm length of it.
Then split it down the middle or as close to the middle as you can.
Take your trusty multi tool and (using it's flathead screwdriver) compress the centre a little bit.

Now to the copper wire.
Cut a piece 15cm in length. This will become your soldering tip.
Divide the wire in half over the remainder of the bamboo skewer.
Wrap both ends until you made about 3-4 windings. Trim the one end to 3cm and the other to the length of your soldering tip.
bend the non solder end 0.5cm from the winding 90° downwards. Put this bent piece onto the one half of the split skewer. Tape the other end onto them. now tape the whole thing with a layer of tape.

This ladies and gentlemen is your soldering point, congratulations. Tape this to the side of the lighter as shown.

Bend your soldering point as desired.

(Optional: Flatten the point with a hammer for more surface area)

Step 3: Packing the Tin.

This is a few things I have in the tin at all times.

  1. The tin (a tool in itself)
  2. A Scotch bright pad to clean my points
  3. Some extra points (they are interchangeable)
  4. The lighter
  5. A extra point holder (needed sometimes)
  6. Soldering wire
  7. A glue stick (to stick un-stuck stuff)
  8. A magnet and alligator clip (to hold things when hands are needed)

The other points in the tin is of different windings that holds heat a bit different. I don't have a flattend point due to personal prefrence. The kit I made for my friend had a flattened tip and he enjoys it more than the normal round one.

Step 4: The Use of Said Tin and Its Contents.

The aligator clip and the magnet go onto the lid which also doubles as a leadcatcher.

You insert and heat the coil with the lighter for about a minute and tin the tip. Then using the tip with the lead, solder your mishaps.

Don't let the lighter burn while soldering. In my experience the fumes seem to a bit flamible. Also it's a bit unpractical to do it that way.

The glue stick is used in the same way you seal a letter with wax, use the tip to melt a piece onto the part you want to bond and keep it there until it cools. I suggest you have a seperate tip for this purpose, for the finer gluing.

The scotch bright pad is to clean the tips afterwards (when it is cool).

The rest is up to you, the upgrades, the mods.

Now for a coffee break.

Step 5: Disclaimers (the Yada Yada Part)

  1. I know the skewers are wood and flammable. I used them because they are cheap and I don't plan to solder a whole project with this kit.
  2. Why insulation tape? Well it shrinks when heated(to some degree). It also does not burn long when accidentally set alight.
  3. The magnet and alligator clip is not a necessity. Add them, don't add them. This will be your kit .
  4. The cost? well the only thing that actually cost money (which i did not have) was the tin. they cost about R25 ($1). I bought 5 for R100 ($8). the rest of the supplies was either recycled or i had on hand.
  5. I do not speak English as a home language so I am rusty. I did really try and use a good spell checker.

Cheers then, and happy kit soldering

W.Bean

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109 Discussions

Just a thought and support for this project and against those that have commented about using portable soldering irons, this is something that can be carried in your back pocket and does not need an extra bag to carry it around in.

Believe me I know what I am talking about because I am in the electronic business and I do have just about all the gadgets one needs to do necessary repairs in the field. (One can never have everything. Lol)

I would not say this is "a do everything" solution but it definately has its place and purpose.

A multi-tool and this in the field is a lot better than loosing time taking back a minor soldering job to the workshop. (With in reason.)

Add an elastic band, that will go over the base and gas trigger so that the gas can be left burning once lit, and you solve your finger burning problem. Remember to remove the band once you have finished.

Thanks for the "instructable", I am sure there are a lot of people that have appreciated it, as I have.

"There is always a solutions, it may only be the cost that prevents it."

1 reply

Thank you for the comment. Most people have a lot to say, until you build and use it.
Like a few comments I said, this really helped a few times.
And it's disposable, i won't cry if i loose this, but if I loose my wurth gas kit i will probably cry...

Great job. I make the same windings to get a smaller tip to my electric soldering iron so I'm 1/2 way there. Thanks for the great suggestion and good clear guide.

0
user
tosety

Tip 3 months ago

Haven't built this since I already have a little kit with a real soldering iron (I do A/V installation) but I have a tip for tip cleaners: if you can fit it in your kit, a copper scrub pad works great for hot tip cleaning, although a full one will take up 90% of the altoids tin.

I should probably post a short instructable for my tip cleaner/storage tin

1 reply

Yes post it. I will definitely take a look
I have one of those at my soldering station and i must say it saved my hind a few times. Usually because i use the iron for more than just soldering

i wonder how often you thought you were going to burn your thumb by keeping the lighter flame burning. in my experience after about 6 seconds the flint wheel gets very hot. it would seem to me that it takes a good bit of time to heat the wire up to a temperature hot enough to melt solder. how long on average did it take to heat the wire to the point it would melt solder? it is a crafty way but one of the several battery irons available might be more productive.

3 replies

Douglas. Please don't try to build this. You propably burn your fingers and more, coarsing the medical care consireable costs to the comminity

i never gave a moment of thought to building this. considering there are several very good portable battery irons on the market, the ts100 being one, for $50 or less that would actually perform as an iron there is no need on my part to spend the time to build this. i would however like to see a video of this thing in use but i doubt anyone would make one since it seems ineffective on many issues plus being a burn hazard.

uh... you do know that a ts100 isnt battery powered right?

Edit: you could attach a battery pack... but thats a pain in the ass.

I would like some :) im working on differant altoids tin kits and i ran out. This may sound pathetic but im a 13 year old home shooled boy that cant get out of the house much XD. but i love to craft things i just need supplies.

Sucrets cans too (in US, anyway)

Sorry for double post, but you can consider a Clipper lighter too....they are refilleable.

Wrapping with paracord handle weave would look good and add color with survival use in mind

turks head.jpg
1 reply

I presume you wrap the lighter? If so, yes. It just increases the use fullness of the kit. Thanks for the tip

I have one. This is my travel kit. I am not willing to use my expensive (it's a proper one) gas iron in the field. And I don't want to buy a cheap one that wil let me down when I need it in a pinch