Friday, April 18, 2008

tips for soldering

If you're attempting to make a CBG and install electrics, you will need a good soldering technique so here's a few tips for novice solderers.

Use the right tool for the job, a small electric soldering iron around 25 -35 watts should do. Make sure the tip of the iron is very clean and "tinned". That means applying a small amount of solder around the tip. If it's a bare copper tip, you will need to file the end clean to remove any oxidisation, heat the iron and apply some solder. Use resin cored solder, the resin removes the oxidisation and aids good adhesion.

Make a good mechanical connection first, i.e. if attaching wire to a volume pot then wrap the wire around the tag so it's held in place firmly before soldering. Now here's the big one where most novices go wrong. Apply the tip of the iron to the thing you are soldering and heat it up for a few seconds, then feed a small amount of solder to the joint, let it melt and run around then remove the iron. The wrong way is to add a big blob of solder to the end of the iron and try to transfer it to the joint like an eye dropper. Remember - heat the joint then add solder to it. It should be nice and clean and shiny. If it looks dull you might have a "dry joint" and a poor electrical connection. Reheat it and add a small amount more of solder.

Be careful on small electronic components like I.C. chips not to overheat it. Just add enough heat to melt the solder and remove it as soon as you have a good joint. Follow this technique and you should get good results. Remember the key to success is cleanliness. Make sure the soldering iron tip is clean and tags/wires are also clean first.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New look for SMOJO cigarbox guitars

You might have noticed something different here! I'm changing my "corporate" look (yikes did I say that word - wash my mouth out, that goes totally against the grain - but I can't think of an alternative word) to something more appropriate to the cigarbox guitar movement. That is a more basic hand made, distressed, retro type of look. It might change again before I'm done so bear with me. I have a whole lot of stuff to do to bring it all together but hey - it's fun. Feedback welcome.