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How do people shield and solder so easily?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    My first time using copper shielding tape and a soldering iron, though I have done some plumbing before.

    I've taped all the cavities (which is not as easily as everyone makes it out to be, but I'm also very impatient), and now I have to solder the joints. I'll "tin" the tip, put the tip on the joint and put the solder near it and nothing happens... The solder doesn't melt or anything. I really have no idea how to do this. I'm going to have to make some wire joints, and things to try and test it out, but right now I'm lost.

    Any tips, on any of this, would be great. Thanks.
  2. If the solder doesn't melt then your iron probably isn't hot enough. You could try holding it on there longer. Or you can try melting small pieces onto the tip and try laying it on the copper tape. If that doesn't work, you're probably going to need a bigger (read hotter) iron.

    Copper conducts heat very well and it will absorb the heat from your iron and spread it all over the tape fairly quickly. This thwarts attempts to heat local spots for soldering.

    If the solder will melt onto your iron tip but won't flow onto the tape, you may need to add a little flux to get the liquid soldering flowing where you want it.
  3. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Sounds like you need to let the iron heat up before you use it;). My 25 watt iron takes about 5 minutes before its useable.
  4. Hi.

    It just takes quite a bit of practise, no secrets there.

    You can prepare the joints sparingly beforehand with soldering paste, with or without solder (I use Cookson Alpha wave-soldering paste 62Sn/36Pb/2Ag).

    It can be done without any preparation, but the key is fast heating and just as fast cooling so the adhesive won't deteriorate/burn.

  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    how do people, i dunno, slap and pop so easily?

    it takes practice, just like anything else.

    +1 to having a strong iron, so you can get the immediate zone hot enough to melt the solder before you cook the whole thing.
  6. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    Know what solder you need. For instance, silver solder can be misleading as its name implies it is high quality, but for bass rosin-core solder is sufficient and includes the flux necessary to melt the solder and make it stick to the wire. I think I use .032" thick rosin-core solder.
  7. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    After you tin the tip, be sure to have some solder on the tip of the iron. The solder is what makes the heat bridge. As you see the solder stick to the piece your heating, add some more as needed. Less solder is always better. The bigger the blob the better the job saying is totally false . Check you tube for some vids, theres tons on there.
  8. +1 for rosin core or flux paste, it makes soldering much easier. Using thinner solder helps speed the process too, you don't need thick solder.
  9. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    You also have to make sure the heat gets to where you want the solder to flow. If you do not heat up the metal parts the solder will not stick to the metal and therefor will not flow. Once you have the parts hot enough the solder just goes right where you want it. Practice is key, much like playing bass.
  10. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Make sure that your copper tape isn't lacquered.

    Do some test soldering on scrap pieces of tape to practice a bit.
  11. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Remember the idea is to heat the metal part and wire, not heat the solder. Get the metal to the right temperature, touching the solder to it will pull the solder in for a perfect joint every time.

    Keep your tip clean and properly tinned like a pro and you should have no trouble with insufficient heat or even need to use flux.

    But I use flux anyway because it just makes things so much quicker and foolproof, especially if i have to work at uncomfortable angles where proper technique is difficult.
  12. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Thanks everyone. I think the tape may be lacquered or something. I thought of a way to create connectivity between the joints without soldering - I would cut two strips of tape, a thin and a thick one, and would put the thick one, sticky side up on a table, and put the thin piece on, sticky side down. Then put the tape down creating continuity with the thinner piece.

    I did this everyone and checled for O ohms between all cavities and I had it.

    Then I just got some test wires and a jar lid and right away was soldering great. I did about five test before going to the pots, and did those good too. I then decided to try again at the copper tape and just could,kt get anything going.

    But thanks everyone, I learned a lot from this thread.
  13. Hi.

    How do You know it's actually copper?

    The question may sound strange, but believe me, a good percentage of "copper" products aren't really copper at all. For example, copper tinted aluminium tape was a big hit a few decades back.

    Does it stain Your sweaty finger black when You rub it?

    If it doesn't, copper it probably ain't.

    With pure copper, You should be able to accomplish something, even if not a perfect result the first time around.

  14. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    I have found I get better soldering results when I don't solder anything smaller than speaker wires! My wife solders like a pro. My thirteen year old solders well too! There's something about having huge fingers and not-too-great vision that just does not work out for me.
  15. Satyrnine


    Aug 22, 2012
    Madison, WI
    Public Service Announcement:

    Never use a soldering "gun" around pickups. By gun, I mean the type that looks like a gun, and you pull a trigger to make it heat up quickly. These can demagnetize Alnico pickups in a flash.
  16. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yes, It would be much practice my friend, practice. Each one that you do, you'll get much better at.........If you don't, you're doing something wrong.
  17. jay tay

    jay tay

    Aug 12, 2009
    Manchester UK
    practice, and also try cleaning your hot iron with a wet sponge before you start, and as you get build up on the iron, it'll help keep it hot.
  18. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    You have to realize that the copper is acting as a giant heat sink - it can take some time to get hot enough. The other solution is to use the copper foil from Stew Mac that has the conductive adhesive - no need to solder the joints - only for the ground wire.

    Again - be sure you use rosin cored electronic solder. In plumbing it is common to use acid + solder - this is not suitable for electronics.

    Also - it helps to melt a small blob of solder on the tip of the iron before you heat up the joint. This helps to conduct the heat to a larger area more efficiently.
  19. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    +1 Also make sure the copper isn't oxidised. If not sure, use a little steel wool or a pad of Scotch Brite to get a clean surface. As copper does suck away the heat, a soldering iron of at least 50 W, preferrably 80 W is recommended.
  20. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Oh, I'm using a 30W iron. Maybe that's the problem. I kept it there for several minutes at least. Anyway, no need to worry about it now. I did use the Stewmac tape, but am not confident in the adhesive's conductiveness overtime, but I used the method mentioned prior to ensure good continuity.