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Aides to Soldering

C1009 – Bitloos

This non‑drying silicone heat transfer paste will prevent bits from becoming stuck in the iron. It also helps in the heat transfer from the element to the bit.  Before using your iron and whilst it is cold, you simply wipe a small amount over the surface of the bit and/ or the heating element and insert the bit. When you switch the iron on afterwards, surplus Bitloos will ooze out of the iron. This is harmless and should be wiped off with a rag.

C1042 - Tip Cleaner

A paste contained in a small glass jar. Use along with an Antex soldering iron stand with sponge to wipe off excess paste.

C1050 - Hottape

An adhesive tape which will withstand temperature in excess of 400 Deg C, and is therefore useful for holding parts together while they are soldered.  Etched overlays may be taped down to an aluminum plate, which is then heated gently.

C1051 – Solder Mask

This is a graphite-based paste, which prevents solder from getting to unwanted places.  It also acts as a barrier to Loctite.  It forms a good dry lubricant and conducts electricity.  It is useful for the assembly of linkage pins, where the head of the pin has to rotate, and the shank is soldered solid with the second part.  It is not suitable for use with Silver Solders.

C1206 - Fibreglass Cleaning Brush

Fibreglass brushes have many uses. Because they are gentle in application and do not scratch, they are ideal for cleaning tarnished metals. Some folk use them for cleaning model railway tracks. But their main application is removing excess solder from a joint.   Be aware that they shed tiny shards of glass fibre, which invariably find their way into your fingers…. Better soldering techniques, particularly the use of solder creams that control the amounts of solder being used better than stick or wire forms, mean that you do not have to use them so much.

C1503 Cleaner Degreaser

The Cleaner/Degreaser is based upon IPA. It is perfect for cleaning and degreasing materials prior to soldering. Fluxes do not remove the need for basic surface preparation. That pristine looking piece of etched brass or nickel silver that you have just removed from the pack, is oxidised, coated with etch resist and is probably greasy as well. Even the grease from your fingers will interfere with the soldering process. Basic cleaning must still be carried out and failure to do so is the most likely reason for soldered joints failing, and some modelers therefore deciding that they can’t solder! Prior to making any soldered joint we suggest that you following these guidelines.

  • Brush your metal pieces with Surface Conditioner.
  • Wash well with water and dry.
  • Brush over with Cleaner Degreaser and wipe dry.
  • Brush over with Yellow Label Flux

After you have made a solder joint, dip the tip of the bit into a 50/50 mixture of water and Cleaner Degreaser. Then wipe it on a sponge that you have wetted in the same mixture. Beware of the possible dangers of electrocution when plunging something connected to the mains into water. It must therefore be just the tip and nothing more that you dip into the liquid.

A water/alcohol mixture is in itself a flux, but is so gentle in action that it is not active enough for general use. However, this makes it ideal as a tip cleaner.

Please take care when using solvents. Keep the area well ventilated, keep it away from sources of ignition, do not smoke, and do not breathe the vapour.

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