Glass fibre cleaner for soldering iron tip

I saw this glass-fibre brush (or pen) for cleaning soldering iron
tips while hot.
OR
formatting link

Would a wodge of glass wool (loft insulation) do as good a job?
Does it have there any unsafe chemicals which might be given off if
used on a hot soldering iron? (700 deg F/390 deg C)
I have loads of glass wool in my loft! It's that pink coloured spun
type which doesn't seem to leave as many shards and splinters as
the old style glass wool. Users in forums have warned that the
glass-fibre pen also leaves this sort of sharp debris.
Matt
Reply to
Matt H R
Loading thread data ...
Matt H R coughed up some electrons that declared:
Glass wool and that brush are very different - the brush bristles are densely packed and thicker strands than glass wool - it looks like the little brush you get with Halfords car touch up paint kits.
But you could try it. Coarse steel wool might work too.
Glass wool should be safe emissions wise - it is just a form of glass.
I find a damp soldering sponge generally effective - and when I was younger, we made do with an old newspaper which was Ok until your bit etched concave.
Cheers
Tim
Cheers
Tim
Reply to
Tim S
Coarse brass wool works very well indeed. See
formatting link
Ian
Reply to
The Real Doctor
Tim, I think steel wool might cause damage to the metal coating on the soldering iron's tip. However, maybe I could use that glass wool give the tip a wipe instead of damp cellulose sponge because my sponge sometimes gets a bit singed.
I guess my Antex XS25 iron might be a bit too hot. It's nominally quite hot at 390 degrees C (735 F) and could be running even hotter.
formatting link
I recently tried a piece of "Magic Cleaning Eraser" to clean the tip with and that seems very heat resistant. It's made mainly of a melamine sponge. I wonder if that stuff releases dangerous chemicals when heated? Does anyone know?
Matt
Reply to
Matt H R
Matt H R coughed up some electrons that declared:
Possible - but I imagine glass would scratch it too. Maybe to a different degree.
I think your sponge is not wet enough or you're taking too long. I've not had that problem. I soak the sponge and give it a light squeeze out.
Cheers
Tim
Reply to
Tim S
wet denim does the same job as wet cellulose sponge.
The fibreglass brushes have stiff bristles, loft insulation would be useless.
NT
Reply to
meow2222
The insulation glass itself might melt. Pyrex wool would not, but it's an expensive way to clean a tip. An ordinary wet sponge or steel wool will do the job. I do lots of soldering and I've used the same sponge for years. Once in a while, I take it out and wash it.
DB
Reply to
dangerousbill
You have to try those to appreciate them. I've been using them since the 80s and they're excellent for small scale cleaning jobs, not just soldering irons but any metal cleaning application.
Reply to
Steve Firth
I don't know about the glass fiber brush. I would think it would gouge grooves into the comparatively soft iron soldering tip.
Fiberglass insulation would probably work if wet, but doesn't seem to offer anything over the conventional wet sponge. The idea is to scrape off the oxidized dross, which can be done with anything that holds water. I once used a piece of wet (wool) felt when my sponge walked away.
Also, for smelly, smoky, but good tip cleaning, try a block of sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride). About $5 for a small block. Available at hardware stores in the copper pipe soldering section and at stained glass suppliers:
There are also polishing bars, which are more suitable for large torch type soldering irons that tend to get incrusted with glassy goo.
There's also a variety of tip re-tinners made by Weller, MG, and Plato. They contain silver and are a bit pricey. If you're down to un-tinned iron on your soldering tip, you can sometimes recover some of the tip with this stuff. I have a small tin, but rarely use it.
I forgot to mumble about keeping the lead free and leaded tips, irons, solder, sponges, cleaners, and such separate. I've trashed a few tips mixing solder types which required aggressive cleaning and retinning to salvage. I now have two separate soldering irons for each. For desoldering, I use the same tool for both.
Reply to
Jeff Liebermann
I would not recommend that for use on a hot tip... no need really - a light wipe on a damp sponge ought to be plenty.
Those pencils are quite harsh - they would be more suited to cleaning tarnish off a cold bit for example. However there is a danger of damaging the iron cladding on copper bits like the Antex ones.
Its unlikely to be damaged or melt. Not sure how well it would wipe though.
Yes they do - its a good idea to wear gloves when using them or you will end up feeling irritated in the same way as if you handle glass fibre wool.
Reply to
John Rumm
I've been using these fibre glass pens for years, they are great for repairing PCB traces, but do tend to leave invisible irritating splinters in your fingers if you are not careful.
I wouldn't imagine them at all suitable for cleaning soldering tips, it would be a right old palaver. Whats wrong with the wet sponge method?
Gareth.
Reply to
Gareth Magennis
Cools the tip down momentarily. I use this on mine...a coil of softer metal...works well for me...
formatting link
Reply to
Bob Eager
Its main use is cleaning PCB tracks before soldering.
Why not the usual damp sponge or steel wire brush?
It does indeed so best only used where it can't be avoided.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
I thought those pens were for cleaning the tracks on the PCB, rather than the actual iron?
I use one of these for my iron, seems to work well, and doesn't cool the tip like a wet sponge does!
formatting link
Toby...
Reply to
Toby
Unless your tip was improperly tinned or the Silver has broken through, a damp sponge is the best. Other things will leave a mess that contaminates your work. If you have to, a brass brush will take care of flux crust. Once you have to resort to a file, time to break out a new tip and use the old one for desoldering or plastic welding.
Reply to
JB
Hmm, maybe I'll have to try denim. Our sponges leave tiny shreds on the iron tips. No big issues with them, but it's annoying.
I'd think they'd damage the tip.
Talk about shredding! Ack!
Reply to
krw
I've been using an old rag for what, 30 years now.
Reply to
Meat Plow
For many years, I've cleaned my soldering iron tip using a quick flip of my index finger, first wetted in my mouth. The reason for cleaning an iron tip is to get rid of excess solder and dross on the tip. My finger works fine and is always available! In over fifty years of doing it this way, I've yet to burn my finger or get lead poisoning from the solder. I've been through several irons, and dozens of tips, but I am still using the same finger! (Quick and wet are mandatory. Be careful where you "flip" the excess solder.)
This is a 35W iron with ~1/8" tip. I don't try to maintain the original surface, but file it occasionally and "re-tin" it when necessary. I run it from a Variac, and when needed, 135V gives extra punch. It serves 95% of my requirements. I have other specialized "soldering stations", and use their built in "sponges" for tip cleaning.
Reply to
VWWall
Amazing! My girlfriend is very cautious of the soldering iron but this is quite the opposite. I mean, gawd, don't you leave burnt skin.
I just have to see a video of this! Be really interesting to see this, if you could knock up a simple vid. Any quality at all.
Reply to
Dixy
I always used to wipe em on my jeans.. they lasted longer and cost less than the sponges..
The key to wet fingers is that they are wet. The steam vaporises cooling the skin.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.