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Chapter 5. The Right Tools for the Job > Thumbnail Guide to Soldering

Thumbnail Guide to Soldering

To build robots, you have to know how to solder. Soldering can often be intimidating to absolute beginners. It looks difficult, and you worry that you might damage the components you’re working with. The truth is that soldering isn’t hard at all; at least, it’s not hard to learn how to do it. To do it well does take practice. A lot of people start “practicing” on real projects. Even if it’s one of those cheap kits sold in the back of electronics catalogs and magazines (what many are advised to start their soldering career on), if you paid money for it, you’re going to be invested in soldering it well, and that can lead to frustration if you run into trouble. If you instead practice on some of that junk you’ve been collecting in your techno-junk box—stuff you don’t give a hoot about, then you won’t be risking precious parts, and you can focus first on the mechanics of soldering.

Soldering is simply the act of heating and melting solder (a special alloy with a low melting temperature) so that it creates a conductive metal bond between electronic components. This is accomplished using a tool called a soldering iron (there are also soldering robots, but since we don’t have one of these handy, we’ll be doing it by hand with a soldering iron).


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