Re: Cool Idea
> For 30 years I have used a soldering gun and the tip always get covered with
> black stuff that needs to be wiped off with a rag or brushed off with a wire
> brush. After soldering for a while the solder that clings to the soldering
> gun tip gets dark looking and it won't stick to anything. The tip can be
> cleaned and retinned by melting several inches of solder on the tip. This
> wastes solder and makes a mess.
> I had an idea and decided to see what would happen. I have a container of
> rosin that I bought at the plumbing store. I stuck the hot top of the
> soldering gun into the rosin and pulled it back out. "WOW, I like that."
> The rosin melted and washed away all the black stuff on the tip and the tip
> lookes like new again. It took only 1 second to dip the tip in the rosin and
> clean it. It looks like it was retinned with new solder too.
> The plumbing rosin comes in a metal container 2.5" diameter 3/4" tall with a
> metal snap on top. Rosin looks like grease. It costs about $2.00. Now I
> leave the rosin on top of the work bench all the time.
That stuff is not rosin, but "soldering paste". It is most commonly a
mixture of grease and sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride), which can
corrode copper unless removed completely. Dipping the tip of the iron
in it will indeed clean it, but after that you should make sure the tip
is wiped completely clean of ALL residue.
In the "old days" when a "soldering copper" was heated in a gas flame,
it was common to have a block of solidified sal ammoniac on the bench,
on which the hot iron could be rubbed to clean it. Used to corrode the
tips "something wonderful" if care wasn't taken.
By the way, real rosin flux will often clean the tip, but not as
aggressively as the paste will. The use of a moistened sponge to clean
the tip after each use, together with the practice of carefully tinning
the tip when the iron is shut down, goes a long way to preserving it.