We surveyed several longtime users of Metcal tips and cartridges, line workers, engineers, and trainers, to find out their best practices for maintaining the life of soldering tips and cartridges. From the valuable information that was collected from these skilled soldering enthusiasts, we compiled a list of “dos and don’ts” to help reduce the most common types of tip failures, stress & cracking, corrosion, dewetting, wear, and abrasion, in our Soldering Tips Care Guide.
To keep your cartridges and tips in top condition, download the complete guide here.
As an introduction to the Soldering Tips Care Guide, here are our
Top 15 Soldering Tip Care Tips
Do not “scrub” the lead. To maximize heat transfer, tin the tip and create a solder bridge.
- Do not apply excessive pressure when soldering.
- Do not use pliers to change tip cartridges. Use a Cartridge Removal Pad.
- Do not drop or bang the tip or cartridges onto hard surfaces.
- Select the largest tip possible for the lead being soldered. Match the size of the tip to the lead as much as possible.
- Use the lowest possible temperature when soldering. Low temperatures reduce oxidation.
- Select lower-activity fluxes when possible. RMA flux is best for maximum tip life.
- Keep tips tinned when in use and during storage.
- Turn the system off when not in use.
- Use only clean, sulfur-free sponges for cleaning tips to prevent tip de-wetting.
- Ensure sponges are damp, not wet, with deionized water.
- Do not routinely use tip tinners, as they erode the iron plating which reduces tip life.
- Use Metcal´s brass brush and brass pads to clean heavily oxidized tips.
- When it makes sense, choose a blunter tip over a sharper tip.
- Remove the cleaning sponge’s plug and use the hole to collect the dross, away from the sponge surface. Use the sponge slot only after removing the dross, to avoid contamination.