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Soldering iron selection


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#1 brucefl

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 02:19 PM

I need help finding a soldering iron that is the best for building chassis?

I no longer have my old Ungar Iron.

And the irons I've found range from 25 watts to 130 watts,and understanding what's needed is getting confusing in the technical jargon.

Such as wattage can't be translated into temperature and temperature recuperation once tip is applied to work.

Typically my experience is that part of the joint cools too much while I'm heating another area close then when I return to the near by area to make them flow together I'm dealing with a cold joint area.

Please help,thanks he 60/40 solder melts at 400+F tip is well hotter.
Bruce Schwartz




#2 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 02:49 PM

Irons have changed a lot in the past fifty years.  The Ungar 40 -55 Watt was a good standard and the Hakko product line is great.  The goal is to have a large enough tip to hold the tip temp to heat the mass you solder.  Motor leads and electrical boards use small tips to avoid burning out nearby components.  Irons or soldering stations with temperature control are the best way to go.  Many can be found for under $100.  External temp controls usually run under $30.


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#3 tonyp

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 03:30 PM

I like the hakko 601 with medium tip.

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#4 Mattb

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 04:03 PM

Lot of cheap Hakko copy  irons on Ebay, less than $10.   They work great, burn out in a few months.    Just save your pennies and buy a real  Hakko and be done with it for a long time to come.


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#5 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 04:18 PM

Also endorse the Hakko iron.  Mine is about 20 years old and still going strong - with tip replacement from time to time.

 

TIX solder is very strong and has a low melting point.  It's expensive but worth it.  Tix flux is also very good but does not work reliably on stainless steel.  A combination of Sta Brite flux and TIX solder is very good.  For complex assemblies, Sta Brite solder for the first joints and TIX for subsequent work is convenient.

 

EM


Alan Schwartz

#6 Racer36

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 04:35 PM

I bought a Hakko 601 after Tony suggested it a while back. The thing is a beast. Best solder joints I have ever had.
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#7 brucefl

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 04:46 PM

Also endorse the Hakko iron.  Mine is about 20 years old and still going strong - with tip replacement from time to time.
 
TIX solder is very strong and has a low melting point.  It's expensive but worth it.  Tix flux is also very good but does not work reliably on stainless steel.  A combination of Sta Brite flux and TIX solder is very good.  For complex assemblies, Sta Brite solder for the first joints and TIX for subsequent work is convenient.
 
EM


Bruce Schwartz

#8 brucefl

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 04:49 PM

Alan I'm sorry if I'm redundant,but did you ever live on 268th street in Queens new York City near long island Jewish hospital,because I had a friend with your name there and we were both close to the Glen oaks raceway in the 60s/70s.
Bruce Schwartz

#9 MSwiss

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 05:55 PM

I sell and have a 50 watt Weller (Ungar) at my work station.

 

It just seems a bit lethargic so I just ordered a Hakko 601.

 

I'm hoping it's better, but regardless, having 2 irons plugged in, at once, makes motor removal on something like a Cheetah 7, with the motor soldered on top, much easier.

 

I really got spoiled by the 100 watt Inland, when they were available.

 

Despite being a bit clunky, you just couldn't argue with the heat.

 

IMO, it was either 1200 degrees, or at the very least, easily had the most superior recovery rate of any iron I ever used.


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Mike Swiss
 
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#10 gc4895

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 06:03 PM

Hakko is the best. Add a small torch for the jobs installing things like braces to guide tongues.


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#11 Don Weaver

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 06:40 PM

I ​have used my Inland Instaheat #60121 iron for going on 10 years.  Still has the same tip with ​no sign of wear.  Great for rapid heat and recovery.  Just soldered 2 pieces of .063 brass together with just a little recovery time needed while soldering.

 

The main thing I like about is that it is smaller than the other irons in length (5" handle, 3.3" tip) and weight (3oz).  Makes soldering our small parts easier.

 

Wouldn't use anything else.....

 

Don


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#12 brucefl

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 11:16 PM

So torches are needed,Tony why haven't you or anybody else mentioned that was that the trade secret (when I was 14 I thought that was a no Brainerd to use a torch,but as innocent as I was and not to mention dangerous and likely the whole chassis would become full of liquid solder joints,and feeling stupid that everybody looked at me like how dumb can you be leave that torch for your plumbing shop at school).

Now what solder is best (and what torch)and what flux?

Of course Tony if you say to do things without a torch I'll have to listen,lol.
Bruce Schwartz

#13 NSwanberg

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:11 AM

I really got spoiled by the 100 watt Inland, when they were available.

 

Despite being a bit clunky, you just couldn't argue with the heat.

 

IMO, it was either 1200 degrees, or at the very least, easily had the most superior recovery rate of any iron I ever used.

I recently scored one of those clunky Inland's on epay. 80 watts I believe but with enough thermal mass in that big chisel tip to solder anything for a slot car. It will un-solder things unintended if you are not careful. Great for soldering in big ol 16D motors like we have to use for the oval track at Downriver Speedway. I did not realize it was unobtanium now.


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#14 MSwiss

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:48 AM

They had an economy model(60101?) I did not carry.

It might of been 80 watts.

IIRC, the one I sold was the 60105, and the pic indicates, is 100 watts.

I'm going to have to try a little harder to see if I can get a few replacement tips for the pictured one.

The shot one in the pic, is the 3/16".

The iron was so hot, you could use the edge/tip, and solder almost anything.

IOW, you seldom had to use the face.

Again, that was the 3/16".

The 1/4" was 25% better and I never bothered even trying the 3/8".


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20171226_233113-1.jpg
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#15 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 01:10 AM

Alan I'm sorry if I'm redundant,but did you ever live on 268th street in Queens new York City near long island Jewish hospital,because I had a friend with your name there and we were both close to the Glen oaks raceway in the 60s/70s.

 

I lived in Queens briefly but a bit earlier  - 1958 - on a street in the mid 200's in the Jackson Heights area just off, as I recall, Northern Blvd.  I was not far from Laguardia.  It was a pleasant year.  The apartment building I lived in was "home base" for a number of flight attendants who flew out of there.

 

EM


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#16 Don Weaver

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 09:48 AM

​Mike, FWIW the Inland 60121 is about 1/2 the size of #60105 you show in the #14 post above and at 3oz probably 1/3 the weight.

 

Don


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#17 MSwiss

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 09:57 AM

I noticed that.

Maybe I'll try one on the future.

I just spent $70 on the Hakko 601, plus another $50 or $60 on 4 or 5 cheap, but decent irons, to sell to new racers.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
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#18 tonyp

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 10:09 AM

I have never used a torch. I see no need for one with a good iron and good soldering techniques.


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"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

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#19 slotcarone

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 10:25 AM

I used an Inland 100 watt studio professional for many years but the tips are no longer available. I now use a Hakko 601 and it is great. Of course the key to building slot car chassis is being able to transfer the heat to the metal through the tip/solder. :)


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#20 tonyp

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 10:33 AM

Also the hotter the iron the easier it is to solder a part next to another already soldered with out unsoldering it because you can heat up the joint quickly


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"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

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ip


#21 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 11:18 AM

Also the hotter the iron the easier it is to solder a part next to another already soldered with out unsoldering it because you can heat up the joint quickly


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The ultimate for this is resistance soldering.  I have a small commercial unit.  The only problem is that you must watch the (typically adjustable) power level to avoid drawing the temper when soldering steel.  I use mine for silver soldering (brazing) steel chassis parts.

 

EM


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#22 MSwiss

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:04 PM

I used an Inland 100 watt studio professional for many years but the tips are no longer available. I now use a Hakko 601 and it is great. Of course the key to building slot car chassis is being able to transfer the heat to the metal through the tip/solder. :)

  

Also the hotter the iron the easier it is to solder a part next to another already soldered with out unsoldering it because you can heat up the joint quickly
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I'm not sure all racers understand heat transfer.

IOW, sometimes you have to add solder,(to encapsulate the tip) to unsolder something.
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Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
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Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#23 Don Weaver

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:10 PM

Yep.  Add solder to de-solder, a counterintuitive thought but absolutely true.


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#24 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:37 PM

The torches have changed from the propane (or white gasoline) plumbing torches of the 1950s.  Think pocket size butane....I have one that came from Radio Shack and another from Home Depot under the LENK (LSP-60) brand.  Many pocket cigar lighters use butane as fuel so the fuel is widely available AND can fit in the race box.  Some models screw right onto the butane tanks.


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Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#25 swodem

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 08:17 PM

Not sure if you can get Goot irons in the USA, I use a Goot model CXR80 with a 6mm chisel tip. It’s the smallest size commonly used here for leadlight work. It's effective for what we do


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#26 Jeff Bechtel

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 10:59 PM

Larry I have used the Lenk brand soldering irons for over 20 years.  I thought that they had stopped making them.  I believe Mike Swiss had used these for a while also.



#27 MSwiss

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 11:12 PM

Not that I remember.

 

I used Ungar/Weller's, until they got real bad for awhile.

 

I then went with the Hakko 936 with the larger element.

 

I loved it.

 

It was super-light and just hot enough to, to put together, and take motors out of, a Koford aluminum chassis.

 

At the 2003 Nat's, I started building my Pro G27 chassis, after tech opened,( and was not the last one to tech).

 

When we started doing Retro in 2007, it just wasn't hot enough, to do the type of chassis, we were building in the beginning.


Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#28 MSwiss

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 11:23 PM

I sell and have a 50 watt Weller (Ungar) at my work station.
 
It just seems a bit lethargic so I just ordered a Hakko 601.
 
I'm hoping it's better, but regardless, having 2 irons plugged in, at once, makes motor removal on something like a Cheetah 7, with the motor soldered on top, much easier.
 
I really got spoiled by the 100 watt Inland, when they were available.
 
Despite being a bit clunky, you just couldn't argue with the heat.
 
IMO, it was either 1200 degrees, or at the very least, easily had the most superior recovery rate of any iron I ever used.

I just got in the 601.

Does anyone know what that little blue, forked thing, zip tied to the power cord, does?

20171229_221657-1.jpg

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#29 old & gray

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 12:32 AM

I just got in the 601.

Does anyone know what that little blue, forked thing, zip tied to the power cord, does?

 

I believe it is for setting and securing the temperature control to a fixed temperature for a production environment. 

 

There is a mention of it in the material on the package or a slip of paper inside.


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#30 Bob Kurkowski

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 05:58 AM

Unger for close to 50 years. Going from a Weller gun to a Unger was like going from a cheap stick welder to a tig welder. I personally feel the Unger shields or deflects the heat that creeps up the handle while in use better then a Hakko.

 

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#31 gjc2

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 06:49 AM

There's a company called American Beauty Tools that make a line of soldering irons, some are very high power units. I don't have any experience with them.

 

Here's a link . . . . . . https://americanbeautytools.com/


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#32 Racer36

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:25 AM

I was going to ask what that little gizmo is that came with my 601! I havent been able to find a use for it. Do you have to remove the adjustment knob to utilize it Bob Schlain?

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#33 MSwiss

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:30 AM

I believe it is for setting and securing the temperature control to a fixed temperature for a production environment. 
 
There is a mention of it in the material on the package or a slip of paper inside.

.No info what so ever in the packaging.

Thanks for the info.

Also big thanks to Ron Bryce for getting me the info, via Greg Wells.

I look forward to using the iron.

The tip size and and shape looks pretty ideal.

The cord does seem a bit on the stiff side.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#34 MSwiss

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:38 AM

I was going to ask what that little gizmo is that came with my 601! I havent been able to find a use for it. Do you have to remove the adjustment knob to utilize it Bob Schlain?

Yes.

From Ron Bryce;

ejgjmjebojgikecf.png

Mike Swiss
 
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Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
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#35 Racer36

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:39 AM

Thanks Gentlemen!

Dennis Dominey

Lifelong half-assed slot racer


#36 Racer36

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:41 AM

Tony P advised me to use it WFO, so I suspect I won’t be using this neat little feature.

Dennis Dominey

Lifelong half-assed slot racer


#37 brucefl

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:25 PM

Now best solder and fluxes.

We used to use 60/40 tin lead,but I'm afraid for whatever brain cells I have left and not wanting to promote use of brain damaging lead fumes.
Bruce Schwartz

#38 Jay Guard

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 10:50 PM

Bruce:

You can't go wrong with the Hakko FX-601, probably the best all around iron out there right now.  As for solder 60/40 rosin core is still the most used solder and will work for virtually all your slot car soldering needs.  As for flux, use a rosin core solder and RMA (Rosin Mildly Activated) flux for electrical connections.  Use an acid flux containing zinc chloride and hydrochloric acid for chassis work,  You don't have to clean the electrical joints with RMA flux but it's a good idea.  However you must clean any chassis work with baking soda and water (or at least motor spray) to remove/neutralize the acid or your chassis will corrode.  Do NOT use any of the no-lead low temperature solders for slot car applications.  Brain Damage, well we're all slot car racers so that's really not an issue! :D


Jay Guard
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#39 MSwiss

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:07 PM

I noticed that.

Maybe I'll try one on the future.

I just spent $70 on the Hakko 601, plus another $50 or $60 on 4 or 5 cheap, but decent irons, to sell to new racers.

I just got a chance to try my Hakko 601 to do a track related repair that requires a lot of heat.

 

Awesome heat, but that cord is really something.

 

I don't recall dealing with something that stiff since about 1988. LOL


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Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#40 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:12 PM

The cord seemed very stiff when I first started using it but i guess I got used to it. I still think about cutting the outer cover off it.

 

It is a great iron.


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Eddie Fleming

#41 MSwiss

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:27 PM

I still think about cutting the outer cover off it.

Good idea.

 

I may play it on the safe side, and take mine to a Rabbi.


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Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#42 Mattb

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:37 PM

I never thought about cutting off the outer cord insulation, that would sure make it more user friendly.   I don't know any Rabbi's.   My lack of knowing the right way to do something has never stopped me before.


Matt Bishop

Vintage Cox Slot Cars

#43 tonyp

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 06:59 AM

You get used to it after awhile.


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#44 Half Fast

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:25 AM

Now best solder and fluxes.

We used to use 60/40 tin lead,but I'm afraid for whatever brain cells I have left and not wanting to promote use of brain damaging lead fumes.

 

If you don't want to use a lead based solder, then you won't need a soldering iron, because you won't be soldering.

 

Cheers


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#45 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:22 AM

Lead "fumes" at soldering temperatures are non-existent. The only likely source of lead poisoning is via the inhalation of solder dust while power sanding or grinding to clean up joints - easy enough to avoid with a simple mask.

 

EM


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Alan Schwartz

#46 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:56 AM

Flux fumes are a different matter.


Eddie Fleming

#47 slotcarone

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:24 AM

No sanding or grinding should ever be necessary. Just make the solder joints neat!

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#48 SlowBeas

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:00 PM

Show off.  :D


Jim Beasley
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#49 mjsh

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:47 PM

I liked the Hakko 936 so much I bought another one before they changed. Best iron I've ever used.   Mr. Swiss you are a funny man.


Michael Shepard

#50 JerseyJohn

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 05:34 PM

I sell and have a 50 watt Weller (Ungar) at my work station.

 

It just seems a bit lethargic so I just ordered a Hakko 601.

 

I'm hoping it's better, but regardless, having 2 irons plugged in, at once, makes motor removal on something like a Cheetah 7, with the motor soldered on top, much easier.

 

I really got spoiled by the 100 watt Inland, when they were available.

 

Despite being a bit clunky, you just couldn't argue with the heat.

 

IMO, it was either 1200 degrees, or at the very least, easily had the most superior recovery rate of any iron I ever used.

Im with Mike. I like lots of heat that makes the solder flow like water. 

I use 2 heaters when im building one is a 100w 1000+  degree unit for stained glass. You almost need a asbestos glove after it heats up. 

and for only. 19.99 https://www.theavenu...-soldering-iron

 

31C_2B3IXziZL_grande.jpeg?v=1453671114

For electrical soldering and at the track i bought 2 of these. still going strong after 8 months. adjustable w/ ceramic heaters for fast work. 11 bucks.

 

https://www.ebay.com...tQAAOSwGllaXuhD

 

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