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.

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




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134 Discussions

Mike Ebygoldenskyhook

Reply 5 months ago

Sounds like it's not very available where he lives. I'm also wowed by the amount of these portable unit made for the grand total of 8 dollars


Reply 5 months ago

I have a couple of those butane irons - keep them in various emergency kits. They work well. But I do like the MacGyver qualities of this solution.


Reply 5 months ago

Yes, a gas portable soldering iron is the way to go -- just make sure you always have a gas-full iron or take a gas filler with you. Using a proper soldering iron will reduce to number of dry or badly soldered joints. I have one and use it when I visit my RPi in a remote location.


If there has to be a remark, it goes to both the Instructable as well as your command on the language.
Exquisite, people friendly, and worth looking into.


1 year ago on Step 5

Don't mind the spelling in Your Instr. I've got it , (me a FIN = Finland having Finnish as 1'st language, 2'nd is Swedish, 3'rd is Engilish etc.). There are them "gramma-polices" all the time. The main thing is that You got been understood. I did.

Guess there are "hundred's of thousends" Instr. members that not have "USA English" as their "native" language.

6 replies

Reply 1 year ago

I know, it's a global thing. And it work so why criticise someone who know more languages than you.


Reply 5 months ago

I totally understood your ible! Better even than native speakers for the most part.


Reply 1 year ago

I would not worry about the language. Many Americans do not speak English well, either. You got the message across very well. That is what is important. Cheers.


Reply 5 months ago

Not just that but British English is very different than US English.


Reply 1 year ago

It’s hard to understand the point of your post; are you trying to criticize someone about their grammar in broken English and incorrectly spelled words? Maybe your understanding is not quite what you think it is and not a poorly written text.


Reply 8 months ago

I'll second You!

I'm a FIN, (FINLAND, Kimi Räikkönen, Thorvald Linux etc..), and I'm a dedicated follower of Instr. Don't let them "pin us down" just for not to be "EXACT" with grammar in eng.


Question 5 months ago on Step 1

Your first list of items to include lists two optional. How are the required one and optional ones used?

1 answer

Answer 5 months ago

To hold the roach clip, er I mean alligator clip to the tin as another hand.

Alaskan Bev

5 months ago

Excellent Instructable, great photography! Thanks for sharing this tip; I may make one for my youngest son, who would probably get way more use from one than I ever would. I loved reading your 'ibble, though, and boo hiss to the grammar cops. I'd like to see them write an 'ibble in Your home language! You did fine; good on ya!


5 months ago

I saw a soldering kit and bic lighter and thought " a lighter will be terrible on the solder/metal" then I saw the heating coil, Brilliant!
A great instructable.
PS your English is very good too.


5 months ago

Your spelling and grammar are superb! GREAT job, especially since it's not your first language.

Basel Brush

5 months ago

English is not your first language? - I would never have guessed. An impressive instructable. Thanks for posting.


5 months ago

This is an awesome McGyverism.


5 months ago

Very nice kit for quick jobs. It can always be with me. By the way, no problem with the language!!