How to Buy Solder Wire Online: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Buying solder wire online can be a confusing experience. Even if you have a basic knowledge of soldering techniques, you still may need help finding the correct solder for your particular project. Considering a few important factors can help wade through the various online options to find the solder you need.


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    Types: Solder may either be soft or hard. Soft solder melts at lower temperatures and can be used with simple soldering irons to repair electronics and other hobby projects. Hard solder melts at higher temperatures, requiring a blow torch to apply. Hard solder is ideal for jewelry making and repair or for utility work like plumbing.
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    Composition:The majority of solder available online consists of tin and lead. Solder labeled 60/40 means it contains 60 percent tin and 40 percent lead. A 60/40 solder is a good all-purpose solder that is suitable for small electronics projects. Solder labeled 63/37 contains more tin and is more expensive, but it goes from liquid to solid at one temperature without a pasty transition phase. However, in an effort to protect the environment, governments are currently phasing out all lead from electronics. As a result, lead-free solder has become popular even though it melts at higher temperatures and doesn't flow as easily as solder containing lead.
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    Flux: In soldering, flux refers to a cleaning agent added to the solder wire. The flux melts at a lower temperature than the solder and acts to coat the area, enabling the solder to stick to the metal and form a stronger joint. The two main types of flux cores are acid and rosin. Solder with acid flux is primarily used for plumbing projects and should never be used in electronics because the corrosive acid can damage delicate components. Hobbyists should always choose rosin flux cores, which is far less corrosive while still managing to remove oxidation. Some flux also may be designated as "no-clean," meaning the residue left behind from the soldering process doesn't have to be wiped away to prevent electrical shorts.
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    Thickness: Solder thickness determines how easily the solder flows during application and also indicates its flux, with thicker solder containing larger flux cores. The thinner the solder, the more you will likely have to apply to forge a strong bond. The typical solder diameters are .015 inches., .022 inches., .032 inches., .05 inches. and .062 inches. Use thin solder for delicate electronics and projects requiring precision, while thick solder works best when joining larger materials.
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    Accessories: Before purchasing your solder online, consider if you'll need any additional accessories to complete your projects. Some common equipment and supplies you may need include a soldering iron, replacement tips for your soldering iron, additional flux and a tip tinner for cleaning the soldering tip between uses. You may also want to consider a soldering iron holder or a helping-hand base to steady your hand and make soldering more comfortable. A free-standing magnifying glass can also be a big help when doing intricate work.
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    Purchasing: Once you've determined the solder needed, visit online retailers such as Radio Shack to make your purchase. Search the store's inventory, filtering results according to type, thickness and lead content until you find the correct option. Add the solder and any additional accessories to the shopping cart and proceed to the check out, where you will need to choose your shipping method and supply your contact information, mailing address and credit card information. Confirm your purchase and retain the electronic receipt for your records.

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Categories: Hardware

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