We thought it’d be fun to poll Make: Online readers to collect some of YOUR top soldering tips. Please share your pearls of wisdom in the comments for those who may be new to the alchemical art of turning lead into electronics.

Here’s one tip that’s a perfect example of a “why didn’t I think of that?,” something really simple that can prove amazingly useful. We’ve posted it before, but it bears repeating. It was first posted in my Toolbox: Jigs, clamps, and helping hands”>clamps and jigs Toolbox column:

Here’s a soldering trick that was a revelation to me the first time I saw it. It’s not really a jig, more like using the material, in this case, solder as itself a jig/helper. Dave Burton, of Dorkbot DC took this picture for us and writes: “A fellow DC Dork asked for a visual aid after I was unable to describe this soldering technique via email. Basically, you coil up a piece of solder and let it serve as a jig for you, but since I’ve already proven my inability to describe it verbally, here’s my attempt at modeling it. This is a piece of Radio Shack perfboard, with my butane soldering iron, and a diode sticking out of the perfboard in the back. Note the technique of coiling the solder on the table and reaching one end upward. I can’t remember who taught me this technique (neither could my fellow dorks), but it has saved more soldering hours than every other jig, clamp, and hack that I’ve got.

Camp counselor Dave’s soldering tips


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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