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A Beginner's Guide to Soldering Metal, Circuits, and More!
by Alan Bernau Jr.

[Note: I cannot seem to find the original page anymore, and there is no copy within Internet Archive, so here is a local backup of this excellent article.]

Soldering is a technique used to connect two or more pieces of metal using a melted metal alloy. This alloy, called solder, is applied hot to the different components. When it cools, it creates a strong physical and electrical connection between the separate pieces. Soldering creates a permanent connection between the pieces, but the process can be undone using a desoldering tool.

What Tools Are Needed?

A soldering iron is the most essential tool for soldering. Tweezers and small clamps help place the components where they are wanted. A brass sponge is vital for keeping the iron clean and functioninal. A stand for the iron helps keep everyone safe. Goggles are great for protecting the eyes from flying bits of heated solder. And of course, you'll need solder. There are many different types of solder, and people should choose what kind they buy based on what sort of project they are working on.

The Best Soldering Irons
The Five Best Soldering Irons for Beginners and Experts
Introduction to Soldering

Soldering Safety

Safety is very important when soldering, since soldering irons can reach temperatures of around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The first rule of soldering is to always know exactly where the iron is. Soldering iron stands are recommended to help prevent burns or property damage from the hot iron touching someone or something unexpectedly. It's important to only work in a well-ventilated area. It's also important that your eyes are protected with protective gear. After soldering, thoroughly wash your hands to make sure that there's no lead residue left on your skin.

Soldering Safety
Safe Soldering Work Practices
Soldering Safety Guidelines
Safe Soldering Techniques

Common Electronic Components

Because of how modern smartphones are designed, people often need to solder or desolder batteries. Other common electronic components include the resistor, which controls the flow of electricity to the other components, and the capacitor. Capacitors store small amounts of electricity and help maintain a steady flow of power. LEDs, transistors, circuit breakers, and fuses are other components people will work with frequently when taking on electronic soldering projects.

Basic Electronic Components and What They Do
Electrical Components
Basic Electronics
Encyclopedia of Electronic Components [Changed this link to a place where you can purchase the book.]


Heating the iron is the first step when preparing to solder. Next, set out the other needed tools as well as the components to be soldered. Clamping the components in place can make soldering them easier.

Prepping the Soldering Iron
Prepping and Maintaining Your New Soldering Iron
Soldering 101: The Four Steps for Successful Soldering
Preparation for Soldering and Component Removal


The tip of the soldering iron should be tinned before use. Tinning is the process of melting solder onto the tip of the iron. The fresh solder transfers heat more efficiently. If large drops of tin develop on the tip, simply clean them off.

What Is Tinning, and Why Is it Important?
How to Tin Stranded Electrical Wire
How to Tin a Soldering Iron and Why
How to Tin and Care for a Soldering Iron Tip

Soldering and Desoldering

It's possible to remove solder through a process called desoldering. This is done by placing a piece of desoldering braid on top of the joint or solder that needs to be removed. The tip of a hot soldering iron is touched to the top of the braid. This serves to heat the solder underneath the braid. When the braid is lifted, it will also remove the solder. Caution should be used when removing the braid, as it will be extremely hot.

How to Solder: A Beginner's Guide
Desoldering Guide
The Essential Guide to Desoldering Metal


Soldering tips can oxidize over time and collect random bits of solder. The tip should be clean and shiny before each use. It's important to use the brass sponge to wipe away any solder, carbon, or other debris before using your soldering iron.

Five Rules for Successful Soldering
Five Ways to Maintain Your Soldering Iron Tip
How to Clean a Soldering Iron
Tips and Tricks for Caring for Soldering Tips

Tips and Tricks

One essential soldering tip is about tips: Tips for a soldering iron come in a variety of sizes, and projects will be easier if the correct size tip is used. Another thing beginners often have trouble with is letting the soldered joint cool completely on its own. It's important not to blow on the joint as it cools.

Nine Essential Electronics Soldering Tips and Tricks for Beginners
Soldering Tips
Soldering Tips and Tricks

More Information on Circuits and Soldering

How to Solder Electronic Components: Electronics Primer
Solder is a metal alloy that is used to join two or more electronic components permanently.

How to Solder and Desolder Connections
Batteries on some modern smartphones are soldered directly onto the logic board. Replacing them requires first desoldering them.

Introductory Guide to Soldering Electronic Circuit Boards
Organizing tools and the workspace are essential to successfully soldering electronic components.

The Best Solders for Electronics and Other Small Projects
There are many different types of solder available for purchase, and different types work better for different purposes.

Solder Without a Soldering Iron Using Steel Wire and Fire
One alternative to a soldering iron when working with electronic components is to use steel wire heated with fire.

Five Fun and Basic Electronics Projects for Beginners
These soldering projects can help beginners learn the process.

Basics of How to Solder Circuit Boards
Tweezers are a very important part of the tool kit when soldering tiny components together.

Understanding PCB Basics for Electronics Beginners
Printed circuit boards are usually made of nonconductive material with copper laminated on top.

Everything About Flex Soldering
Flexible printed circuit boards are used in everything from consumer electronics to industrial applications such as automotive electronics.