Introduction: Extreme Desoldering

About: I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none. I like to tweak, mod and improvise whenever possible!
We all know how to use a Desoldering Iron, Brade, or Pump to desolder components one lead at a time. Not only is this slow and tedious, but its not much fun either. Now a heat gun makes things a little more interesting but is better suited for Surface Mounted Technology (SMT). I wanted to take things up a notch and show you how to take Desoldering to the extreme. 

Tools Needed:
  • Butane/ Propane torch ( the bigger the better)
  • Eye protection (face sheild preferred)
  • Leather Gloves
  • Metal box
  • Pair of pliers
  • couple of large cookie sheets
  • Board to desolder
This method is for gathering of bulk components off of old circuit boards. It is meant to be fast and fun. You may or may not get any usable components this way. But if all goes well its a quick way to gain allot of simple components like resistors and capacitors from a board. 

Step 1: Safety First


Before we get started we need to cover some important safety concerns.

First of all this Instructable involves the use of an open flame. As such any and all safety precautions should be taken.

1.       Work in an open and well-ventilated area!
2.       Make sure any flammable objects are cleared from the work area!
3.       Wear appropriate protection such as safety glasses, face shield and gloves! Also wear long sleeves and pants.

It is very important you work in an well-ventilated area. You will be applying allot of heat to a circuit board and harmful vapors could be released. Because we are using an open flame it’s a good idea to keep all flammable items clear and a fire extinguisher handy. Wearing long sleeves, pants and eye protection is essential. The solder can get a gas bubble in it and pop, spraying molten solder everywhere.
As always have a fire extinguisher handy. If you’re not careful you could overheat a component causing a fire. Since this will be the equivalent of an electrical fire you will want a Class C extinguisher on hand.

Important Note:

You perform the steps in this Instructable at your own risk and assume all responsibilities for your actions. I am not responsible for any damage or harm you cause while attempting to perform the tasks outlined here. I can almost guarantee you will get burned doing this. So you have been warned. 

Step 2: Location Prep

With the safety concerns out of the way lets find us a place to do this. I prefer to do this in my Kitchen near the oven. This way the oven vent can help extract any fumes we may produce. Also the counter tops are relatively heat resistant. I like to lay a couple of large cookie sheets over the oven to catch any drips or splashes that my be produced. 

Take your metal box and place it on top of the cookie sheets. If you don't have a metal box a plastic one will do. Just keep in mind the parts coming off the board can be very hot. So if your not using a metal box then use something you don't mind messing up. In my case i like to use an old Ammo Can. 

Make sure you have the Fire Extinguisher within arms reach.  Being close to the stove you also have easy access to some water if things need to be cooled down in a hurry.

Now suit up with all your safety gear. The most important part is the eye protection. Hot solder in the eye can be a life changer. Don't let it change yours. 

Step 3: Let the Fun Begin.

Now that we are all set up let the fun begin.

This process is very simple and fun to do. This is not something you want to do with any board to expect to keep. Also if your after a particular component that you don't want destroyed then this isn't the method for you. 

All you have to do is run the touch over the back side of your board. Working in a small area going from component to component. Once you see the old solder get shiny that means it is in its liquid state and is ready to be removed. Often components will just drop out of there holes. Some will hang and need a bit of help. Tapping the board on the side of the box will help some of these stuck components out. Some components will be harder to break loose then others because there leads are bent over. In these cases you have 2 options available to you. 
  1. Use a pair of pliers
  2. (my favorite) hit it harder on the box
Just keep going around the board till you get all the parts you want or you clear the board. 

Step 4: Conclusion

So there you have it. A fun, quick and dangerous way of desoldering. Nothing like adding the risk of burns, fire and harmful gases to an otherwise simple task such as desoldering. 

This may not be safe and may not give you any usable components but it sure is fun to do. On the plus side you will have a nice empty PCB with plenty of components you can practice your soldering skills on. You can also look at it like a science experiment. You get to test the heat tolerance of various components. 

Here is a quick little video of Extreme Desoldering in action. 
EXTREME! Challenge

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EXTREME! Challenge