Solder Sucker

I'm talking about ME, not a desoldering tool. As in, I'm a sucker for soldering. In the middle of building 3 uC boards and wiring up a custom 46-LED array last night, I realized how much fun I was having. Prolly not my healthiest activity still using leaded solder, but I find it enjoyable and gratifying to build hardware, so it's good for my mental health anyway. Just like using my hands I guess. I don't even mind building the same uC board over & over. It's still a kick when it all works the first time. Well nearly, I had one bad LED I had to replace.

TTYTT, I even enjoyed drilling out those 46 LED holes by hand.

Am I completely sick?

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"When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

- Pablo Picasso
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  • 51 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,559
    erco wrote: »
    I'm talking about ME, not a desoldering tool. As in, I'm a sucker for soldering. In the middle of building 3 uC boards and wiring up a custom 46-LED array last night, I realized how much fun I was having. Prolly not my healthiest activity still using leaded solder, but I find it enjoyable and gratifying to build hardware, so it's good for my mental health anyway. Just like using my hands I guess. I don't even mind building the same uC board over & over. It's still a kick when it all works the first time. Well nearly, I had one bad LED I had to replace.

    TTYTT, I even enjoyed drilling out those 46 LED holes by hand.

    Am I completely sick?

    facewiringSM2.jpg

    "Am I completely sick?"

    Not in my estimation. I find the occasional long repetitive task that requires precise work very relaxing. The electronic equivalent of building a ship in a bottle. Some of my early work involved desoldering all the joints on a motherboard and all the daughterboards and then resoldering them to get rid of all the cold solder joints. Very relaxed after a day doing that.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • I once built five 74HC595 shift register boards with individual resistors and connectors for leds...it took a LONG time. Right afterwards I found the Sparkfun breakout board. Aaarrgh!

    Now the same thing goes together in far less time, using the breakout and a resistor network.

    Never again!
    San Mateo, CA
  • I've been known to sacrifice a perfectly good piece of perfboard to use as a drill template for evenly-spaced holes -- assuming they're on multiples of 0.1" centers.

    As to leaded solder: meh! I've worked around lead, both soldering and casting, for more than 50 years. Ain't dead yet!

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,319
    I've been known to sacrifice a perfectly good piece of perfboard to use as a drill template for evenly-spaced holes -- assuming they're on multiples of 0.1" centers.

    Woulda been nice, but these were 0.250" centers. Graph paper was my friend! I'm pleased, it came out quite nice.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote: »
    Am I completely sick?

    Yes, but more obvious is your signs of insanity... :lol:

    Nice work. As others have said, sometimes, that long tedious amount of soldering is very enjoyable. As seen here: http://forums.parallax.com/discussion/comment/890109/#Comment_890109

    As to leaded solder: meh! I've worked around lead, both soldering and casting, for more than 50 years. Ain't dead yet!-Phil

    Unless your iron is running over 1700C, you have no worry for lead poisoning during soldering.
    Andrew Williams
    WBA Consulting

  • Unless your iron is running over 1700C, you have no worry for lead poisoning during soldering.


    Half the strain of hours of soldering, was holding my breath when I had to be real close to my work.
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,319
    I've heard that the rosin vapor may be as bad as handling the lead.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 2,175
    edited May 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    erco wrote: »
    I've heard that the rosin vapor may be as bad as handling the lead.

    Oh but that smell, it warms the heart and soul.
  • I, too, have a warm spot for the smell of rosin smoke, going back to my first Heathkit.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Sounds perfectly normal to me. I started soldering at age 12.

    There are those that say that lead absorption through the skin could be a problem. I suspect that amounts to less lead exposure than all the lead we were breathing in from fuel additives for decades. Just wash you hands when done and don't be tempted to pull the solder straight with you mouth.

    The flux can be annoying, but it's pretty easy to get a fan to disperse that.

    I just spent a couple of relaxing hours building up the Evil Mad Scientist 555 Timer kit. It reminded me how much I enjoy soldering. It's kind of magical to see it working it's thing.
  • heater wrote:
    ... and don't be tempted to pull the solder straight with you mouth.
    Huh? I use my mouth as a third hand sometimes when soldering: hold the wire-attached connector with one hand, the iron with the other, and a length of solder between the lips. (Kids, don't do this. It's bad, m'kay?)

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Heater. wrote: »
    Just wash you hands when done and don't be tempted to pull the solder straight with you mouth.

    I have this bad habit of using my mouth as a third hand to hold the solder.
    Maybe I should get tested, or just stop doing that.
  • Just stop doing that!

    Never mind getting tested. You won't like the results and there is probably not much they can do about it :)

  • MikeDYur wrote: »
    Heater. wrote: »
    Just wash you hands when done and don't be tempted to pull the solder straight with you mouth.

    I have this bad habit of using my mouth as a third hand to hold the solder.
    Maybe I should get tested, or just stop doing that.

    I started using a bit of shrink tube to put over the solder when it's in my mouth. The tubing is always within reach.


    Now I'll get plastic poisoning. :)

    Infernal Machine
  • I never found out if it was a typo, but the Merck chemistry manual unusually showed vapor pressure of liquid lead LOWER than solid lead. In other words, it can be safer to solder than just staring at the solder.
    I am the Master, and technology my slave.
  • All of this begs the question, what is it!?

    I don't think anyone has gotten sick from soldering. RoHS was about keeping it out of the landfill. Unless you're producing and selling millions of units lead is great! Leaded solder with its lower melting point, and less flux fumes could actually be healthier.
  • The_Master,

    That does not seem right. The vapor pressure of lead goes like this with temperature:
    T(K)         T(°C)	 p(mbar)
    293.0       9.85  1.07e-26
    343.0     69.85  1.19e-21
    393.0    119.9  6.91e-18
    443.0    169.9  5.66e-15
    493.0    219.9  1.19e-12
    543.0    269.9  9.31e-11
    593.0    319.9  3.50e-9
    643.0    369.9  6.75e-8
    693.0    419.9  8.28e-7
    743.0    469.9  7.25e-6
    793.0    519.9  4.82e-5
    
    According to this online calculator https://www.iap.tuwien.ac.at/www/surface/vapor_pressure
  • Part of the fun is...staring...at the finished board.
    Larry

    If the grass is greener on the other side...it's time to water your lawn.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    I just spent a couple of relaxing hours building up the Evil Mad Scientist 555 Timer kit. It reminded me how much I enjoy soldering. It's kind of magical to see it working it's thing.

    You found one of the Evil Mad Scientist kits! They have done some wonderful stuff.

    Check out their latest project, the MOnSter 6502, which will be on display at the Maker Faire:
    http://www.evilmadscientist.com/
    San Mateo, CA
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,319
    kwinn wrote: »
    The electronic equivalent of building a ship in a bottle.

    Now I want to solder a circuit inside a bottle!

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,559
    lardom wrote: »
    Part of the fun is...staring...at the finished board.

    And those shiny volcano shaped solder joints.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • @Jeff Haas,

    I'm hoping to se the Monster6502 at the Maker Faire next week end.

    @erco,

    I think soldering up a circuit in a bottle is an excellent idea. I had previously considered some kind of circuit made from long thin PCBs that somehow plugged together when inside the bottle.

    Actually soldering them up inside the bottle is an extra challenge!
  • See erco, that's how it gets you. It sucks you in with the pretty melty shiny stuff and then the lead fumes grab you and suck you in further and next thing you know you've hijacked a TV station and you're taunting the Batman on live TV. It's been known to happen.
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,559
    erco wrote: »
    kwinn wrote: »
    The electronic equivalent of building a ship in a bottle.

    Now I want to solder a circuit inside a bottle!

    The soldering tool and solder feed mechanism could be made. The trick is getting the PCB inside and keeping the parts in place. I suppose you could pre-assemble small PCB's that could then go in and be soldered together. Seems like cheating though.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Heater, I've already got my tickets for both days. Not exhibiting this year, just attending and taking a break. Really looking forward to it.

    Get the paella for lunch!! There's only one vendor who makes it, and it's done live onsite in huge shallow wok-like pots, it's excellent.

    Are you attending the IOT show? Anything good there?
    San Mateo, CA
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,520
    edited May 17 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Paella, sounds great, my favorite.

    Not making the IoT event I'm afraid. We have had too much to do here.
  • As a kid I used to melt lead into all sorts of things... coins using plaster of Paris moulds I made. Of course they weren't usable as coins because mine were way too thick but it was innocent fun.
    Made my own soldering iron from a screw filed down and wound with enamelled copper wire and Telephone Batteries. The huge cylindrical 1V5 ones.
    Done lots of hand soldering with leaded solder. I now have unleaded solder and solder paste. However I prefer leaded solder as it's easier for hand soldering.
    I am still here and I can at least remember this, so hasn't been that bad for me.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,319
    Heater. wrote: »
    Not making the IoT event I'm afraid. We have had too much to do here.

    Never let work get in the way of a good time.

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote: »
    kwinn wrote: »
    The electronic equivalent of building a ship in a bottle.

    Now I want to solder a circuit inside a bottle!

    This is the PCB you need:
    circuit-for-opulus-home-e1398957830749.png

    Sounds like a Kickstarter idea: PCB in a bottle kit, includes wire feed soldering iron!

    Andrew Williams
    WBA Consulting
  • Truth be told....we had to visit the boss in Sausolito over the weekend. Which was something of a company party...I'll spare the details. Monday in the office up there. I do recommend the "Fish" restaurant there. Best English style fish and chips I have seen for ages. Including actual malt vinegar!

    Tuesday, back to San Jose for some meeting or other.

    So sadly the IoT event slipped out of the picture.
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