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Old 3rd July 2004, 04:07 PM   #1
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Default DIY Solder Bath?

Hand soldering is one of the most time consuming in making electronics. There are alot of possibility of mistakes too.
Looking at the factory manufactured PCB's, they are cleanly, neatly soldered, by flow solder (wave solder?). Hand solder is for repair only.
How to DIY a solder bath?
I think about this. Making the bath from stainless steel, heat it with ironing element (the one your wifes use for ironing your clothes).
But I fear about oxidized tin. The upper tin will be exposed to air, and if not circulated it will form oxidized tin, which is not good, not sticking to the pcb, and produces dull color.
Wave solder has somekind of tin-fountain, so the tin is always circulating, and the new one (not oxidized) is the one sticking to the pads in the pcb.

Naah...maybe it wont work. How can I DIY a solder bath?
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Old 3rd July 2004, 04:52 PM   #2
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I don't think it is DIYable because the solder wave probably needs to be precision controlled to avoid applying too much solder. DIY reflow would be much easier.

Best bang for buck though would probably be some form of SMT rework kit...it could be used for assembly almost like reflow but is also usable for rework.
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Old 3rd July 2004, 05:59 PM   #3
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It costs rather much money to make a good wave soldering equipment. About oxidizing: Our gear at work has oil on top of the floating tin in order to keep the air out. It is also important to have pre heating and cooling under controlled conditions. If you have much to solder. why don't get in contact with somebody who has soldering machines?
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Old 4th July 2004, 12:51 AM   #4
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I've seen full SMT line with SMT oven and automatic rolling CNC solder machine, with preheating, pre-fluxing etc, after solder treatment, etc. No,no, those cannot be DIYed.

Quote:
. DIY reflow would be much easier.
What is DIY reflow? Is it a simple static solder bath?

Quote:
Best bang for buck though would probably be some form of SMT rework kit...it could be used for assembly almost like reflow but is also usable for rework.
What is a SMT rework kit like?

I'm not thinking about such a complicated machine. I think about how to make a simple bath (static, not flowing), can advoid tin oxidizing (peranders gives good idea).
I will be solder pcbs by attaching the pcb to a stick, dip it, and pull it. That simple. Dont need CNC conveyor etc.
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Old 4th July 2004, 04:50 AM   #5
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Default How do factories finish their pcb?

Making DIY electronics starting with inserting components into the places. Then I bend the excess component legs, cut them and hand solder them.
The factory made is so neat and clean. How they do that?
1. Who is inserting components into pcb? Man? Inserting machine?
2. After factory insert componets, what is the next step? Do they bend the excess legs and cut them or they machine-solder first and cut the excess legs after solder? Is there any pictures that I can see?
3. Who/what machine bends the excess legs and cut them?
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Old 4th July 2004, 06:49 AM   #6
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Default Mass soldering parts

The leads are pre trimmed so about 1/2 to 1cm is sticking through the board when inserted.

The parts are inserted by hand or machine depending on how many we're building.

After wave soldering, a horizontal trimming saw cuts all the leads to a uniform length as desired.

Back in the 70's, I tried what this guy is asking about.

If you want to dip solder boards, I tried that once with a soldering pot. I bought a 6" x 12" soldering pot and filled it with solder.

The boards, after stuffing with pre-trimmed parts, I held it up carefully and sprayed the bottom of the board and the leads with liquid flux.

Then, before each dip I had to scrape the dross off the top of the solder and then I dipped the boardfor a certain time I found by experimentation while trying to not breathe to many fumes. The result at first was a disaster. Everything was shorted. I had to buy solder mask and screen that onto the boards as well.

Once, I did it with masked boards, it worked reasonably well but I still had to touch up 20% of the joints by hand. However, it seemrd like we always missed one that needed it, resulting in a horrible reject rate and a horrid warranty claim rate.

Now, we assemble prototypes with hand soldering. Larger quantities, we either wave solder ourselves or we send to an outside contractor.

Dip soldering was fine in theory but it was too hard to get consistent work. For oneboard, forget it.

For a dozen, do them by hand.

For more, contract them out to professional assemblers.
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Old 4th July 2004, 06:54 AM   #7
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Most leaded components are machine inserted . Some parts are hand inserted if they are not easily handled by insertion machines.The leads are bent by the same machine immediately after insertion. In the machines I saw , the leads were cut off before soldering by passing over high speed rotating blades. The boards passed over a foaming flux bath and then over the solder wave . There was also a hot air blast immediately after soldering to break solder bridges. You can't have a DIY version because you need lots of flux, solder , large air compressor and heaters etc.
From cold state to functioning state the machine consumes lots of power and takes time. This is strictly pro . If you have enough boards to do , you can use the servces of companies who do just that. For 10 , 20 board it is a waste .
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Old 4th July 2004, 01:12 PM   #8
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Default Thanks for the input

Quote:
Dip soldering was fine in theory but it was too hard to get consistent work. For oneboard, forget it.
For a dozen, do them by hand.
For more, contract them out to professional assemblers.
Is this mean the idea of dip solder will not work at all?

Are the pro-soldering company good companies? Never there is one that "Hijack" your design, and sell it to someone else?
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Old 6th July 2004, 10:23 PM   #9
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Default Hijack your design

Assembly companies do just that. They don't get a schematic form you. All they want is the boards, the parts, a layout saying where the parts go and a sample board to compare. Unless you pay a lot extra, they don't test the boards and generally they have no one on staff who even knows much about electronics. They merely do the physical grunt work of putting it together.

That is assuming you use a local company and don't send it to Asia. Asian companies will rip off anything you give them without mercy.

But forget the dip soldering. You might want to know, I just sold our old wave soldering machine on Ebay. The buyer just picked it up. We got all of $50.00 for it. That's what happens when you insist that you won't ship it and your buyer pool is limited to greater Los Angeles.
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Old 7th July 2004, 01:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
We got all of $50.00 for it
Is that the price for used wave soldering machine? I wanted to buy used one. Where to look for them?

Anyone knows what is the price for new/used wave solder machine, inserting machine, excess leg cutting machine? Who sells them? I need small sizes, not factory sizes.
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