How to select the right shape and size of the tip for micro soldering

Why are there so many different tip shapes and sizes available for soldering? How do you know which to choose for your soldering project? And does it even matter which is chosen? 

These are common questions that people face when they first begin their soldering journey. Many Hakko Soldering Stations and Irons come with a wide variety of tip shapes, and within each shape, there are different sizes. So what is the purpose of the various tip shapes and how do we know which to choose? 

There are 3 main factors to make it easier to select a tip:

  1. Tip Size
  2. Tip Shape
  3. Personal Comfort or Ease of Use

1. Tip Size

    Take into account the thermal capacity of both the printed wiring board (P.W.B.) and the electrical components in terms of their size and shape.

    It is essential to ensure that the soldering tip chosen possesses sufficient heat capacity to accommodate both the boards and components, along with a broad contact area to efficiently transfer heat to the soldering point.

    A bigger component or pad will require more heat to reach the desired temperature, compared to a micro-component. A small tip will require more time to heat it up sufficiently, so a larger tip will be more suitable. However, a tip that is too large may bring about excessive heat and cause heat damage to the surrounding components and even the board itself. 

    Therefore, the best suggestion is to selecting a tip that best matches the diameter of the soldering point.

    2. Tip Shape

    Subsequently, you would need to refine your choice of tip shape to ensure compatibility with your specific task.

    It is crucial to consider soldering conditions such as

    • limited soldering space: is it a tight fit in the spot you wish to solder?
    • presence of tall components adjacent to the soldering area: this may affect the reach of your soldering tip
    • components prone to solder bridging: you may need a tip that is more precise to avoid bridging.

    In such cases, a long, narrow tip will be more suitable such as the Shape I, which has a long conical tip that easily sits between components on a crowded board. 

    Alternatively, if used for drag soldering or for larger pieces, a shape like BC/BCM (conical tip with a flat angled surface) or K (knife tip) would be more suitable. 

    For more information about tip shapes, kindly refer to our blog on the differences in tip shapes and their purposes

    3. Personal Comfort or Ease of Use

      Once you have taken into account the thermal capacity of the P.W.B. and the electric components, along with their size and shape, proceed to select the soldering tip that you find most comfortable or suitable for your needs. At the end of the day, soldering is a personal task and the user should feel comfortable with the shape and size of tip that they are using. 

      Please contact us if you have any problems selecting soldering units or tips, our team will be glad to assist you to find your ideal tip. 

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