[vcf-midatlantic] VCF East Clinic kudos (soldering iron cleaning brass)

RETRO Innovations go4retro at go4retro.com
Thu May 5 05:27:48 UTC 2022

On 5/4/2022 8:26 PM, Dave McGuire via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> On 5/4/22 21:08, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>> Since it removes solder, it's likely it will accumulate loose solder 
>> splatter. That's likely why it's contained in a bowl or holder, to 
>> capture the material.

I can confirm this. Unless your soldering technique puts so much solder 
on the tip that dragging it against the brass "ribbon" create a joint 
enveloping two or more strands, the solder will cool, form a small round 
blob, and drop through the ribbon to the bottom after a while.  Cleaning 
the ribbon means taking it out of the bowl/tray, dumping the tray, and 
then massaging the ribbon over a trash can to remove any solder still 
managed to be inside the ribbon.

I'm a huge fan, and it's easier to teach newer soldering students (jab 
and go, so to speak).  Though my Weller (which I take with me to shows, 
since it's more portable than any of my other units and less horrid if I 
lose it/it gets stolen) uses a sponge, I just strapped a brass ribbon 
onto the unit and use that.

>   In my industrial training in soldering, which admittedly was decades 
> ago, we were told to use wet sponges.  But I'd already been soldering 
> for many years before that...using wet sponges with good results.
I don't think the wet sponge method is bad, so feel free to keep using 
it.  The brass method is just a bit simpler, and maybe a bit faster 
(though someone who's used sponge for decades is arguably faster yet).  
As I noted prior, jabbing into the middle of the ribbon cleans all tip 
surface in one go, with no need to rotate or otherwise make additional 
passes (equivalent to a sponge with deep cuts that you can bury the tip 
into, but some irons don't have deep enough cuts for that.)

I guess I wouldn't get on the "it's better" wagon, but I would defend it 
as not worse than wet sponge, and it handles my forgetting to wet the 
sponge workflow better.


RETRO Innovations, Contemporary Gear for Classic Systems

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