Table of Contents
Tinning is a process of coating the soldering iron tip with a thin layer of solder. Tinning will create a layer of solder between the tip and the air, keeping oxygen at bay. It’s always recommended to tin the soldering iron before and after soldering. Many novices might not know how to tin the tip, so I have made a brief note on how to tin your soldering tip in a few easy steps. Before that, you may also want to know some more about tinning.
Why is Tinning Necessary?
When you get yourself a new soldering tip, it is extremely important to tin it the first time you heat the iron. You must always maintain that solder layer over the tip throughout. By tinning the tip, you’ll prevent the upper layer of iron from oxidizing. The iron tip is always at a risk of oxidizing when exposed to high temperatures. Oxidation will corrode your iron tip, forcing you to replace it more often. The greater the temperature of your iron the faster it will oxidize.
Tinning the tip also makes soldering much easier. With tinned tip, solder wire will melt faster and flow better over the materials that you are joining. You must always keep the tip tinned even when you are not going to use the tip for some time. Before placing the iron for storage, remember to apply a fresh layer of solder over the tip to avoid rusting.
Before proceeding further, first of all, you must prepare fully. There are a lot of things you’ll require for tinning the tip, and everything must be ready on your workbench because once you get started, it’ll be impossible for you to stop in mid to gather items as it’ll completely ruin the process. Here is a list of items that you’ll need:
- A reliable soldering iron
- Sponge for cleaning
- Water to wet the sponge
- Appropriate solder
Get the Soldering Iron Ready
Soldering iron with digital temperature readout is best recommended for this process, but a unit with dial temperature control also works great. First of all plug in the soldering device and turn it on. Once the soldering iron is on, adjust the temperature of the iron to around 750 °F.
Clean the Tip
For cleaning the tip, soak the sponge with water and squeeze it a little to remove the access water. Now after the iron is switched on, wait for a minute or two for the iron to heat up. Then rub the tip on the sponge and see if it steams when touched on the sponge. If not, let it heat for a few more seconds. Remember to add water if the sponge seems too dry. Once the tip is hot enough rub the sides of the tip against the sponge in order to remove dirt and debris from the previous soldering.
Tin the Tip
After the tip is cleaned, hold the solder in one hand and the iron on the other, then touch the solder on all sides of the tip. Make sure that the layer has formed properly.
Soldering must be done as soon as the tip is tinned. If you are using the iron continuously, it’s important that you remove the tin after a few times of soldering and then re-tin the tip. This way the tip will perform much better.
Tip tinning is an important part of soldering as this plays a great role in the performance of tip and also promotes tip durability. Tinning is quite an easy process, and it can be done perfectly even by novices if they follow these simple steps.