#1
Hello.

Getting into the modding site as a hobby and was wondering what sort of precautions I should take when soldering? I'm just about ready to go so I want to make sure everything is right before I start tackling it.

Does lead solder give off harmful fumes? I'd think that the metal would have to be hotter than my 25w iron could heat to in order to give off dangerous fumes. I have read, though, that flux can create a bit of smoke.

How should the lead be stored? Should I wear gloves when handling it? What are the real dangers associated with it? This is in a soldering context, of course. I haven't been able to find much info on it.

Thanks for the help guys, and sorry if I'm a bit paranoid.
#2
I don't wear gloves but I wash my hands afterwards as it does contain lead. Otherwise I keep it around my workspace. And yeah, try not breathe in the fumes, you're correct in that the solder itself will not give off fumes, but the rosin flux will, and breathing in any fumes are not particularly good for you, not to mention, it's nasty and smells bad and extended exposure can lead to respiratory diseases. I usually place a fan near where I am working, but occasionally you will end up getting a nice whiff of it as in the end, you are generally right on top of whatever you're doing. But try to avoid that as much as possible.

And make sure you read a guide/watch a video etc. on how to actually solder, it's really easy but a lot of beginners do it wrong and end up making a bunch of cold solder joints.
Last edited by al112987 at Jan 14, 2009,
#3
There are some fumes and smoke when you melt the solder and burn flux. They are toxic but you have to breath a lot of them before any harm will ever come to you. If you are soldering as a full time job then you will want to work in a room with a special ventilation system but if you are just doing the occasional mod or pedal build then all you really need to do is keep a door or a window open.
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#4
Don't touch the hot end of the soldering iron. And don't let the hot solder drip on your arm - I've got a loverly plumbing scar from holding a pipe in place while soldering it and getting dripped on :/

But seriously, as long as you're sensible and have a clear workspace to avoid accidents you're unlikely to come to any harm. You won't get that many fumes from soldering electronics.
#5
Quote by zhilla
Don't touch the hot end of the soldering iron. And don't let the hot solder drip on your arm - I've got a loverly plumbing scar from holding a pipe in place while soldering it and getting dripped on :/

But seriously, as long as you're sensible and have a clear workspace to avoid accidents you're unlikely to come to any harm. You won't get that many fumes from soldering electronics.


I got a nice splash of hot solder on my hands a little while back when installing new tone pots. It hurt. Haha...
#6
Quote by zhilla
Don't touch the hot end of the soldering iron..



very good point, one time i was soldering not paying as much attention as i should and i picked up the iron by the tip 3rd degree burns
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#7
Quote by al112987
I got a nice splash of hot solder on my hands a little while back when installing new tone pots. It hurt. Haha...



I've still got a scar about 1/2" diameter on my forearm from my plumbing incident - from 3 years ago lol
#9
Have any of you worked with lead-free solder? How much more difficult is it?


P.S. Thank you very much for the replies! : )
#10
I just use 60/40 solder, it works well, just make sure you wash your hands afterwards and don't eat it or anything.
#11
Quote by Romanne
Have any of you worked with lead-free solder? How much more difficult is it?


P.S. Thank you very much for the replies! : )



It's the only think I use because of ROHS. It is hard to work. So hard, in fact, that many people that are world famouse pickup makers were considering the possibility that they would have to stop selling products in the EU because they couldn't figure out how to make a good solder joint without buring out their components. Regular soldering irons don't work well with it.
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#13
Don't poke yourself with it.
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#14
Quote by CorduroyEW
It's the only think I use because of ROHS. It is hard to work. So hard, in fact, that many people that are world famouse pickup makers were considering the possibility that they would have to stop selling products in the EU because they couldn't figure out how to make a good solder joint without buring out their components. Regular soldering irons don't work well with it.


Really? So I couldn't use lead free solder myself?
#15
60/40 electronics solder is all you need. Make sure it's rosin core and not acid core. Yeah, you'll get alot of burns haha. One thing, if you wear glasses, good, because if you're looking very closely at something, the flux often 'shoots' out a bit, and could easily hit you in the eye, just use common sense, be careful, don't burn your house down.

And have fun!
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#16
Quote by Romanne
Really? So I couldn't use lead free solder myself?



Not with a 25 watt iron.

The trouble with lead free solder is that it has to be quite hot to melt it and most of your electronics will burn ups at around the same temp as the solder melts. When you touch a soldering irion to whatever it is you want to solder it cools the iron down. The more slowly your irion comes back up to temp the more time it has to cook your electrical components. Higher wattage irions will reheat quicker which means they need less time in contact with components giving them less time to burn up. The trouble is that higher wattage irions also have higher temperatures which will also cook your electronics. Thats why you need something high watt with adjustable temp. That way you can make sure the contact time is short and the irion isn't too hot.
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#17
Quote by rancidryan
very good point, one time i was soldering not paying as much attention as i should and i picked up the iron by the tip 3rd degree burns



I laughed at that, then i remembered i did the same last summer.
#18
As an addition to the "wash your hands when you're done", I'm going to state "wash your hands with cold water when you're done". Warm water opens the pores in your skin and you end up washing the lead INTO your skin. Cold water keeps the pores shut, and the lead out.

Have fun!
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#20
Quote by b2spirita
I laughed at that, then i remembered i did the same last summer.


it hurt so much
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