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The soldering iron tip plays a very important role in any soldering task, as the tip is the primary tool in your soldering machine that comes in contact with both the work-piece and the solder. There are several types of tips available in the market, hence making it quite tough for beginners to choose the correct tip for the particular job.
It’s very important that you use an appropriate soldering iron tip for your project if you desire precise outcomes. A small blunder in the selection can ruin the entire work-piece. To help you I have created this guide to how to pick the right tip that is most suitable for your task. You can consider these factors while choosing a soldering tip for your device.
Soldering iron tips vary widely in shapes. Different type of shape is applicable for different soldering works. You must choose a specific shape according to your project and work-piece.
1. Chisel Tip
With a wide surface, the chisel tip is useful in delivering heat evenly to component pads and leads. This tip is ideal for soldering wires, large surface-mount components, through-hole components, and works great for desoldering as well. If you are onto stained glass then a chisel tip is perfect for you. Also, chisel tips are thicker at the edge, so they store more heat than other tips.
2. Bevel Tip
This tip is also known as the hoof tip as its shape resembles a hoof. While not as common as the conical or chisel tips, the bevel tip is perfect for soldering tasks that require pre-loading of solder on the iron. The broad flat surface can hold more solder than any other tip, and it’s highly recommended for soldering small-gauge wires and dragging the solder across surface-mount components to solder multiple pins at one time.
3. Conical Tip
Conical tips are basically used for high precision electronics work. However, they are also most often used for general soldering tasks. It’s the most used tip, and also good for starters. The pointed tip is useful in delivering heat to small areas, like the tiny surface-mount components. Conical tips have a shorter lifespan than the chisel or hoof tips.
4. Pyramid Tip
Pyramid shaped tips have a pointed tip like the conical tips but have a flat surface on the sides or triangular flat faces. This tip is preferred for soldering sheet metal. The pyramid tips are ideal for high precision industrial applications or professional use.
5. Blade Tip
The blade soldering iron tip is used in a wide variety of applications. The slanted sharp edge is great for drag soldering, point soldering, and fixing solder bridges. However, due to its wide edge, it can become slightly limited in doing point soldering at confined areas, although not impossible.
Irrespective of the shape, tips are again categorized into types according to the structure of the tip. Given below are some of the most commonly used tips for various soldering applications.
1. Type B
This type of tip has a conical shape. Many individuals new to soldering would likely imagine this tip to be the only kind of soldering iron tip.
Due to its round shape, you can do soldering from every angle. From high precision point soldering to drag soldering, this particular tip can be used in a large number of soldering applications. For this reason, the B series tips are enormously used for general soldering.
2. Type D
The D tips have a kind of chisel look and are many people’s personal favorite. These are widely used for general soldering purposes just like the round B tips. The difference between the two tips is that the D tips have a much larger surface area on the edge and tip of the chisel.
Most people prefer a larger surface area so that higher amount of heat can be efficiently transferred from the iron to the component and as well as the solder. With more heat transferred, the solder will be flowing more readily, hence arguably making the D tips easier and more useful than B tips for quick solder applications.
3. Type C
The C series tips look like they were ground down accidentally on one side. However, these tips are rather the most useful ones, especially in drag soldering.
They have a slightly curved surface, which is ideal for spreading the solder out over the iron tip and then equally applying small bits of the solder over several components that are aligned in close proximity, just like the pins on a surface mount electrical component.
The C type tips are a little different than the hoof or the bevel tips, as they have a concave structure on their surface to either collect or distribute the excess solder.
4. Type I
The type I tips have extremely pointed tips and work great for needlepoint soldering tasks. The drawback of the tip with being able to accomplish detailed work is that as the tip is pointed and thin, this type of tip has less surface area as compared to the type B tip, so it won’t be able to transfer a large amount of heat, hence making it difficult for soldering larger components.
5. Type K
This particular type of tip is quite useful in a wide variety of soldering tasks. The tip has a blade-like sharp edge that allows for drag soldering, fixing solder bridges and also point soldering. However, due to its broad edge, it can become slightly difficult, but not impossible, to do point soldering in small and confined areas.
6. Professional Type
The heavy duty or professional type of tip is changed from the basic tips B, D, and I by some special technological processing. The entire tip is thickened to increase the heat storage capacity. The heavy duty tip is best for works that require high heat capacity.
The size of the iron tip will be the contact area with the component. The contact area determines the efficiency of heat being transferred to the work-piece. You must choose the size according to the size of the components. If the tip is too large, it can overhang the component pad and cause damage to the work-piece. Also, if the tip is too small, it won’t be able to transfer sufficient heat, eventually resulting in a bad joint.
Heat storage Capacity
Tips with high heat storage capacity will have lesser temperature drop, allowing you to work at a lower temperature and finish the work at a lesser time. Working on lower temperatures increases the tip life and hence decreases expenses of replacements in the long run. So choose a tip with the highest possible heat storage capacity.
There are infinite choices of soldering tips in the market with different design, structure, and quality. You must pick a tip that will best suit your work and work-piece. In many cases
The tips for one brand of soldering iron are not compatible with the soldering iron of other brands, so before purchasing any, always check if the tip is compatible with your soldering iron.