Intro: The 5 Dollar Solder Pot
Once again a thrift store find solved a problem for me in a most economical way. I like to tin wire ends whenever possible during my electronic projects, but touching off the ends of wires is a tedious and interruptive step, how much better things are when one can draw upon an inventory of freshly prepared wire, and a soldering pot gets that done most quickly and reliably.
Step 1: Safety First
No particular hazard is expected for this build, but during use molten metal may be present; use caution and protective gear.
Step 2: Convert the Tool
The iron is one of those great old beasts cooking up at around 200 watts in it's youth, but a measure of the current draw now puts it at 75 continuous, still plenty useable for this modification. I sawed the tip about midway down to give me a diameter of 5/8” [16mm], the copper was a threaded affair, and so was easy to remove. I chucked the keeper end in my lathe and bored a 3/8” [7mm] diameter hole 1/2” [13mm] deep, and reinstalled it into the iron. That's it, all done.
Step 3: Setup for Use
I clamp it to the side of my workbench/ shop cart with the tip just below the surface, this does two things: it's a comfortable working height, and it lessens the chance of accidental contact. I have a jug of homemade flux and several drawers full of recovered wire from old equipment, and a radio set to the oldies station, so it's actually a pleasant divergence for me.
Step 4: Parting Thoughts
I have three favored hookup wire types: insulated stranded, solid with plastic insulation, and solid with enamel insulation. I'll sit and do a batch of random lengths and gauge, both ends. When a project is underway I'll grab a wire type that is closest to my required hookup length and go. Even cutoffs are handy because I still have one end tinned, and for me the first connection tends to be the most critical, so I'm normally ahead of the productivity curve because of it.
bdrewett made it!