essential for jewelry and electronics projects!
My little brother taught me how to do this! Thanks, Luke! :D
Soldering is a technique used to fuse wires or small pieces of metal together. This looks harder than it is; once you get the hang of it, it's easy. Just be very careful not to burn yourself! Once you have the skill, you can make or repair lots of things. I've used it to make a set of mp3 player speakers and repair broken earrings, though the technique in this project leans more toward electrical projects.
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You Will Need
First, gather all your supplies and find a clean work space in a well-ventilated room. Soldering can be dangerous if you aren't prepared: you can get burned on the iron or hot metal or sick from the solder fumes. Crack a window or work near a ventilation fan if you can!
Now, plug in your iron and set it somewhere safe while it heats up. If you have a stand, stick it in there. If you don't, rest it on a ceramic tile. Of course, don't set it on anything flammable! The iron can reach temperatures hotter than an oven!
Now unwind some solder. Solder is a mixture of soft metals like silver for jewelry and tin and lead for electrical connections (see why you need ventilation?) surrounding a core of wax. It melts when it touches the iron and cools off quickly, so you can place dots of it wherever you need to make a connection.
Now, take your broken jewelry or your wire and get them ready to be soldered. If you have wire, strip the coating off the ends with wire strippers (if you have them) or a small knife (if you are broke and have steadier hands then I) until you see bare wire. Clean where the solder is going to go with a dab of flux on a clean soft lint-free rag (or a sturdy paper towel, that's fine too. Those blue "shop towels" your dad has on his work bench? Perfect.) If you sprung for the helping hands, go ahead and clip your project into the little clips and bend the arms around until the you can reach the wires comfortably. You may want to put a bit of cloth or paper towel in between the clips and the wires if you have particularly pinchy clips, so nothing gets too crimped. Give the ends of the wires a twist with your fingers if they're looking "frayed" so that they're all twisted together and the connection can work better.
OKAYOKAYOKAY TIME TO START SOLDERING (FINALLY!)
Place the tip of the soldering iron on the end of the solder until you have that melty little blob on the end. Now use the tip to cover the end of the wire with a light coating of solder. You'll end up making a sort of "painting" motion. Keep putting more solder on your iron and adding it to the tip of the wire until it's shiny with solder and all the wires are stuck together. Give it a few seconds to cool down, clean your iron on the sponge (just wipe the solder off and put a fresh blob on) and do the other wire.
Once they're both cool, bring the wires together. Lightly touch the connection with your iron until the solder melts together, then carefully pull the iron away and the wires should be joined together. This may take a few tries and you may have to go back and re-solder the wires. Feel free to swear under your breath if this happens, I won't tell.