Soldering Iron Tips

Soldering iron tips transfer heat from a soldering iron into solder so that it melts and can flow into the joint between two components or workpieces. They’re also sometimes referred to as ‘bits’.

To protect your soldering iron tips, you should tin your tip before and after soldering to create a protective layer between the air and the soldering iron tip. Tinning prevents oxidisation and allows for a more efficient heat transfer.

Optimal operating temperature

Putting your soldering tips through excessive temperatures will shorten their lifespan. The temperature of the tip will decrease as the soldering iron is used more. There is the temptation to increase the idle temperature to compensate for this temperature drop – but don’t as this will shorten the life of the soldering iron tip. If you aren’t actively using your soldering iron think about turning it off or setting it to a low ‘idle’ temperature to maximise tip life.

How do you clean a soldering iron?

To keep your tip in perfect condition you should aim to clean before, during and after use. Before you solder, ensure that you have cleaned the surfaces which are to be soldered with an alcohol wipe.

To clean your tips, use either brass wool (less abrasive) or stainless steel wool (more abrasive). Try to avoid using a sponge as doing so rapidly cycles the tip through a hot and cold cycle. Doing this repeatedly will cause metal fatigue and tip failure. Once you have cleaned the tip ensure that you cover the tip with fresh solder so as to present oxidisation.

Using flux

When metals come into contact with oxygen an oxide layer is formed on the surface of the metal. This oxidisation prevents solder from wetting the joint correctly and impacts the quality of the solder joint. Flux dissolves this oxidisation layer.

Reactivating your soldering iron tips

If a soldering iron tip becomes oxidised it will appear darker in colour and you may not be able to tin it. If your tip is oxidised you can use a tip activator to remove the oxidisation as it will break down the oxide layer. Once cleaned and refreshed tin the tip again to protect it from oxidisation.

Soldering iron tip shapes

Most soldering irons have interchangeable tips that have slightly different shapes to allow for different tasks or precision levels. For example, conical tips are used for fine electronics work. Other common tip shapes include:

  • bevel (aka hoof)
  • chisel
  • concave
  • pyramid
  • bent

...
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Description Price Model Number Tip Shape For Use With Tip Size Tip Series Tip Angle Priced to Clear
RS Stock No. 799-8976
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Conical Sharp AT60D, AT80D 0.2 mm AT - -
RS Stock No. 799-8989
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Conical Bevel AT60D, AT80D 2 mm AT 45° -
RS Stock No. 799-8985
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Straight Conical AT60D, AT80D 0.8 mm AT - -
RS Stock No. 799-8982
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel AT60D, AT80D 3.2 mm AT - -
RS Stock No. 799-8979
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel AT60D, AT80D 1.2 mm AT - -
RS Stock No. 799-8973
BrandRS PRO
£2.33
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel AT60D, AT80D 2.4 mm AT - -
RS Stock No. 799-8954
BrandRS PRO
£4.13
Each
Units
- Conical Sharp DS90 0.25 mm DS - -
RS Stock No. 799-8951
BrandRS PRO
£4.16
Each
Units
- Conical Bevel DS90 2.4 mm DS 45° -
RS Stock No. 771-9486
BrandRS PRO
£2.50
Each
Units
- Straight Chisel KD-40 5 mm KD-Series - -
RS Stock No. 799-8960
BrandRS PRO
£4.16
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel DS90 1.6 mm DS - -
RS Stock No. 799-8957
BrandRS PRO
£4.16
Each
Units
- Conical Bevel DS90 1.2 mm DS 45° -
RS Stock No. 799-8945
BrandRS PRO
£6.89
Each
Units
- Straight Knife DS90 2 mm DS - -
RS Stock No. 799-8963
BrandRS PRO
£4.09
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel DS90 0.8 mm DS - -
RS Stock No. 684-204
BrandRS PRO
£48.08
1 Set
Set(s)
- - B50-A, Engel B50, S50 - - - -
RS Stock No. 547-846
BrandRS PRO
£17.60
Each
Units
- Straight Chisel B50-A, Engel B50, S50 - - - -
RS Stock No. 799-8967
BrandRS PRO
£4.09
Each
Units
- Conical Chisel DS90 0.8 mm DS - -
RS Stock No. 545-020
BrandRS PRO
£14.85
Each
Units
- Straight Conical B50-A, Engel B50, S50 - - - -
RS Stock No. 771-9483
BrandRS PRO
£2.50
Each
Units
- Straight Chisel KD-60 6 mm KD-Series - -
RS Stock No. 771-9509
BrandRS PRO
£2.50
Each
Units
- Straight Chisel KD-100 8 mm KD-Series - -
RS Stock No. 771-9473
BrandRS PRO
£2.50
Each
Units
- Straight Chisel KD-20, KD-30 4 mm KD-Series - -
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