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How to make the perfect solder joint:

  1. All parts must be clean and free from dirt and grease.
  2. Secure the work firmly, using helping hands or some other clamping device.
  3. "Tin" the iron tip with a small amount of solder. Do this with new tips being used for the first time.
  4. Clean the tip of the hot soldering iron on a damp sponge.
  5. Add a tiny amount of fresh solder to the cleansed tip.
  6. Heat all parts of the joint with the iron for a few seconds.
  7. Continue heating, then apply sufficient solder only, to form a strong joint.
  8. Remove and return the iron safely to its stand (see the homemade version below).
  9. It only takes a few seconds for the joint to cool.
  10. Do not move parts until the solder has cooled.

Check out a neat series of Web Lectures on electronic circuits for beginners using animated interactive circuit diagrams.

DIY soldering iron stand made from a piece of wood, heavy coat hangar wire, half of a travel soap dish and a kitchen sponge.

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Revised: 02/19/2010