DipTrace Forum

Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?
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Author:  blainecf [ 20 Aug 2010, 20:53 ]
Post subject:  Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

I remember an old suggestion to take your tip out of the soldering iron, heat it up with a torch, and apply silver solder to it. The idea is that the silver will not corrode, and the silver melting point is much higher than regular solder, so it won't come off. Silver is also a better heat conductor.

Has anyone tried this?


Author:  tinker1 [ 21 Aug 2010, 02:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

I think silver and copper (in silver solder) dissolve more readily than iron in solder. So most tips are iron plated for durability.

Author:  electronics-engineer [ 06 Aug 2011, 10:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

Doing that will make tip erosion worse, not better. Take a look at Figures 3 and 4 at
http:// www . hakkousa . com / leadfree . asp (remove spaces)

"Comparison of Solder Composition and Erosion Rate

The rate of tip erosion varies with different solder alloy compositions. As shown in Figure 4, Sn-0.7Cu (tin/copper) erodes the tip faster than Sn-3.5Ag-0.75Cu (tin/silver/copper), which erodes faster than Sn-3.5Ag (tin/silver) solder, which erodes faster than Sn-37Pb (tin/lead), etc."

So adding silver to the solder is the wrong thing to do. To learn about what the right thing to do is, please read "Extending Soldering Iron Tip Life" at http://www.newark.com/pdfs/techarticles ... ipLife.pdf ( http:// www . newark . com / pdfs / techarticles / oki-metcal / extendingTipLife . pdf )

Author:  k-shell [ 14 Apr 2012, 14:30 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

We had a gold sputtering system at NASA, I used to clean my old tips then throw them in the sputtering machine and lay down roughly a 1000 angstrom thick coating of Au. The tips worked bbetter than any of the new ones we had both in thermal conductivity and ware. However due to the nature of sputtering it was prone to being scratched off.. so electro plating would have probably been better. But I was surprised how many tips we were able to recover.


Author:  blainecf [ 17 Apr 2012, 13:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

Appreciate the input!

I'm not sure that the reference to different erosion rates addresses the initial question. I'm not suggesting to add silver to the solder, but to silver-plate the soldering tip. I'm guessing that the differences in the above rates are more due to the chemical composition of the rosin necessary for that blend of solder to work best. It's mostly the rosin that does the dirty deed to your tip.

Based on the last post having experience with gold plating, I'm still inclined toward the silver plating, which sould be more durable than gold.

Here's a quote from a soldering tip web page: "The better irons have interchangeable tips that are iron-clad copper with silver plating."

And this quote from a soldering tip vendor: "This is a premium quality silver plated soldering iron tip for our Xytronic soldering irons listed below."

Still interested in more input!!!

Author:  edokassiah [ 03 Feb 2014, 23:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soldering iron tip that lasts forever?

just follow easy steps by tinning and cleaning the tips before and after every use
ive been using the same 3 tips for the past 3 years
im sure you can save up a few bucks for replacement tips within a few weeks

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