Sad Soldering State of Affairs!

I didn’t realize that the soldering iron situation was so bad until I had to solder the other day.

The tip on the Weller seems to have been filed down and is pretty sad. Also, that is our only working iron. The Xytronics soldering iron broke, the Auyue iron doesn’t seem to work – so just a weller with a bad tip and a damaged barrel.

I will get parts to repair the weller, but we’ll need another station. I am willing to bring down my Hakko FX-888 from my UC office as a loaner at least till the weller is fixed (if you treat it with respect).

Can anyone fill me in on what happened to the weller? How did it end up getting filed down like that?


I came in a week or so back to find the tip of that iron broken clean off, with a nice concave depression where the point should have been. Some crude soldering was required for PTDR, so being none too gentle as the tip was already destroyed, I filed it into a rough bullet shape and got on with life.

  • Ry

Barbarians. And you want to get a TIG! HA! Can’t even keep a fucking soldering iron from being abused.

LOL has someone posted something on the wiki about how to use a 3D printer or a soldering station as a room warmer? From the looks of things if the AC is getting a little too cold all you have to do is crank the temperature to the max on the machines and eventually it will help heat up that area lol. I think the alternator might have even been being used to make toast from all of the charred remains from what I saw today :slight_smile: possibly at the end of the wiki we should have a how not to be a barbarian section after thinking about what Dave said, I think that would be pretty funny. Kind of like the donots of the machine rather than just a short how to use the machine have the how not to use the machine AKA be a barbarian. Is there anyway I can put that in a motion towards a vote?

How militant should we be with preventing tool damage? Does having cameras on every workstation and banishing people who break things sound like the Hive we want?

Tools fail sometimes. Both from neglect and from normal wear. What we’re really short on at present is people willing to put in a couple hours a week maintaining the space.

If you (anyone. I’m not singling Dave out here) have the time but don’t know how to help, let me, Greg, or anyone else in leadership know. I’m sure we’ll have some ideas.

  • Ry

I don’t know if being very militant about it would be the approach off the bat. I think there could possibly be some information on the wiki on the donots or proceed with caution type things things that maybe common sense to some butt not even in the scope of things to others. There are machines down there that that would even help me with once I was certified on them however if I hit a problem and think I have a way of trying something however it is in the proceed with caution area or don’t be a barbarian area it could possibly help save some tools down at the hive. I am not implying by any means at all that you are someone that has toasted anything down at the hive. If anything you do a kick-ass job with raspberries helping people and helping keep stuff going.

I’m not going to name names however back when the soldering iron was burned out both my father and I had to repeatedly tell someone not to leave the iron on Max when the tip was good and use it to try and basically braze two pieces of metal together LOL much like Advanced stained glass work size pieces.

I know that I was a shared work environment however it sometimes appears that people are more willing to take very abnormal risks with the equipment just because they don’t actually own it. I’m not wanting it to become a public shaming thing but if someone does something to damage a machine BAD especially after being offered help and bypassing logical use entirely. Way to many people put time and money into our machines to make them nice just to have them TORE up bad. Hell even the toilet needs a barbarian wiki after its hiroshima bombing that someone blasted the lid, tank, bowl, seat, floor, etc that Lorin had to fix as well :slight_smile:

Now I’m not recommending we build a Guillotine or anything to do with people. Maybe just a friendly reminder at the meeting that if you have not used a machine and ages and or have very very limited use on the machine it might be best to Buddy up with someone to look over the settings and setup of the material.

1 can we build a guillotine just to build one then?

Once my kids are back in school (mid august) I’ll try to come down at least weekly and help Lorin out with the electronics area, help Ian out with computery stuff. It’s something within my abilities that has the potential to make things better. I may even be able to learn some more along the way and be useful elsewhere. :slight_smile:

We attempted to replace the tip earlier, but when I left the new tips at the hive they got swept up in the chaos. The current tip is actually pretty old, so I’m not too surprised that it is completely dead. I’m actually pretty happy with how long it has lasted.

One thing that would significantly help lengthen the life of the tip and also make it a bit nicer for people to use is if it would stop getting turned up to near the max temperature (I’ve sat down to use it quite a few times and found it this way). This is basically useless on this kind of iron unless you’re doing very specific work such as modern cell phone boards, TV motherboards, things where you need a LOT of heat. It would be way nicer to get a good iron such as a metcal for that kind of work anyways.


Why don’t we get a mid level one, like an Aoyue for $60

We can post some recommended temps and have extra tips available.
Keep the “nicer” gear separate and out of the public eye.

Good times,


I have that model in the turn dial and the digital one and have put maybe 5 to 10 hours on it and it seems to be a decent machine for cheap. I don’t know if it would be more worth it to the hive to pick up 2 of those versus getting one really expensive one given some of the times down at the hive when someone’s using that station you have to wait a little bit.

In the mean time, if the highest temperature is inappropriate, someone should put a piece of tape on the dial at a safe setting saying “max” or something like that.

Jon - I could not change the tip because the barrel nut is destroyed and deformed. The tip cannot be removed from the barrel nut. It is bot crimped and soldered on (probably due to acid core or rosin-free solder). Jon, I know where that tip is - thanks. When we get the barrel nut it will be used. We’ll still need the conical tip I put on warden sheet, though for folks who need that.

Brad - No on that station. Will not hold up – great for single user, not great for group. Also can’t handle the rigors of fine SMD rework and lacks specialized tip possibilities. Hakko 888 is minimum I would suggest. We could also get a production version with temp-lockout (I’ll email them). I’ve done that in University labs.

I put barrel nut & conical tip for weller on the warden sheet. This will make the weller work well as the utility station. New heater cartridge is $40, so that’s not wise. It is heating okay.

Dave - Ryan had no choice. The tip won’t even come out for replacement given that it is welded to the barrel nut. That was the best solution given his situation. However, I’m surprised that nobody noticed and asked me about fixing it. That’s all.

We purchase Hakko fx-888. Like I said, I can bring mine in from my UC office until weller is fixed. Brad, just try one of my Hakkos some time (although I am putting a chisel tip on now, as I don’t want folks messing up my delicate precision tips). Also, hakko tips are super cheap compared to weller and come in 100’s of varieties. Heater cartridge is also less than $20, and the station comes with 1 replacement cart in box.

Really, that weller is known for “takes a beating”, so, once I fix it up, it will serve well.

Trust me on this, I know what I’m talking about and I’ve used and bought just about everything…


I had to remove the tip to chuck it in the drill for reshaping, so I’d argue that it’s no longer jammed. If we have replacement tips, they can likely be installed right now.

The iron does seem to be heating just fine. I used it again yesterday without problems.

  • Ry

If I really had a choice, I would get a deal on a Metcal PS-900, as those

Are the best,
have lockout / max temp lock,
sense the temp (no knob to set wrong)

are industrial grade and durable as a weller

Frankly, I am sometimes a bit disappointed that the same standards for quality do not seem to apply to the electronics area. A soldering station is the most important, crucial tool in that whole area. We have no problem spending for higher grade metal, wood, sanding tools, etc. If we’re going to get a soldering station why should we get chinese knock off junk based on a 15 year old hakko 936, or just keep depending on donated items? Half that stuff over there is Dave’s or mine…

Here it is:

Ayueueo = Harbor freight (except hot air, which is sorta ryobi)

Weller WES51 = Black and Decker
Hakko fx-888 = DeWalt
Metcal and Hakko Pro = Contractor grade (high end bosch maybe)

Rant over.


Oh yeah, and the Metcal PS-900 auto-sleeps when the iron is in the stand. You can leave the it on for 48 hours and it won’t harm the tip.

I’m sure most of the people here know this, but this discussion reminds me of a newbie mistake I made long ago that lurkers might want to know. If you grind a soldering tip it will just be a very temporary fix, and the tip will then always have to be replaced. This is because the tips are copper to conduct heat with a a plating to protect the copper from oxidizing at high heat. Once the tip is reshaped to expose the copper, it’s not long for this world.

In this case, it sounds like the copper was already exposed before it was reshaped, so the point is moot.