The soldering process may be accomplished in a wide variety of ways, but the four primary ingredients required will remain the same. They are; the base metal (or metal items being joined) a type of flux (or a method of cleaning and maintaining the surface to be soldered), the solder and a source of heat. It is important to match the soldering method and the equipment that will be used, to the soldering application that is being considered.
Base MetalThe base metal is the metal that is in contact with the solder and forms an intermediate alloy. There are many metals that will react willingly with solders to form a strong chemical and physical bond, while others can be very difficult, or even impossible to solder.
Flux is used to eliminate minor surface oxidation and to prevent further oxidation of the base metals surface during the heating process. Although there are many types of flux, each will include two basic parts, chemicals and solvents. The chemical includes the active portion, while the solvent is actually the carrying agent. It is the solvent that determines the cleaning method required to remove the remaining residue after soldering.
Solder is the alloy used to create the solvent action, which generates the bond between the base metals. The type and form of the solder is very important and must be determined by the individual application being performed, as well as the base metals and soldering method being employed.
There are several methods, as well as a wide variety of tools available to perform the task of soldering. Some of the current methods that are available include induction, conduction, ultrasonic, flame, dipping, resistance, oven and wave soldering. Some of these methods involve the use of small inexpensive hand tools, while others may require large and expensive machinery, equipment and tools. It is a good idea to become educated on the various methods and tools that are available, in order to insure that you are utilizing the best, safest, most efficient and economical means available for your specific soldering application.
Courtesy of American Beauty Tools