Where's My Desoldering Iron!?




Need to do a little desoldering and don't have (can't find) an iron?
The purpose of this instructable is to show how you can remove solder from a board when you're in a pinch.

Let me know what you think of doing it this way or if you have another method...

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: First Things First

Here's what you'll need:

1) Something you want to desolder
2) a piece of wire or two
3) tinning flux would be nice
4) a soldering iron
5) wire strippers
6) pliers

I'm using a strand from a piece of cat 6 cable I had laying around. All I had was solid, but I'm guessing the stranded type might work even better (like copper braid).

Strip the wire back a couple of inches and get out those pliers.

Step 2: Bend the Copper to Your Will. It Will Do Your Bidding.

Start with a small bend and go from there.
Be sure to leave the bend kind of open. You want a little wicking action going on (or is this capillary effect?) to get that solder away from the board.

Step 3: Tin It Up. Suck It Up.

Put a little flux on your wire like you are going to tin it.

Press the shaped wire down on the solder to remove and press the soldering iron on top of that. You are basically making a copper sandwich with the board on one side and the soldering iron on the other.

Sorry about no pics for this part. This took both hands and I'm a little clumsy with a camera in my mouth. (excuses excuses)

Oh yeah, be sure you hold the wire at least three or four inches back. As it is copper, it can heat up a little quick. If it heats up too much though, you are probably keeping the heat on it for too long!

If there is still solder on the board, just snip your wire back and do it again.

Step 4: Just Like New.

And there you have it!

After a press or two, the solder has cleared off the board and out of the component hole.



    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    57 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Buy a desoldering braid? Or a desoldering pump? One of those with the big plunger and the spring. Those springs are strong. My tongue still hurts.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea! I will have to try this on those really old mobos, that the solder never seems to heat and melt. I really want the capacitors for a batteryless torch.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Very nice. I've wanted to do this when i need parts off of boards. sometimes, when i cant heat it up, i even bend the pins off. (not a good idea) i used to wonder what a good way to absorb solder was. there's copper braids that you can buy, but this is a good and cheap alternative.


    9 years ago on Step 2

    thanks, love the matrix reference


    DO NOT USE COLDHEAT! it can potentially damage ur components and is not a good tool to work with pcbs

    im guessing that u mean the weller butane irons. The portasol is said to be pretty good and i am considering getting it.... not only is it good for soldering (using a soldering tip) but the hot air tip and blow torch tip can be used for smt work and also possibly desoldering... Adjustable flame control also allows for precision temperatures as to not burn out certain components such as semiconductors, which are very heat sensitive

    Clearly, i have done my homework on this topic, so to say
    these are the irons i am talking about


    no prob so were u talking about the butane irons? cuz they also have battery powered ones which i dont think are good though....


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    excellent if u do tiny jobs due to very thin soldering edge. Beautiful for detail jobs. And the batteries last long. Just remember to use 60/40 solder. Not less!!!