Solder wick, coffee, and paper towels keep SparkFun running. You can steal someone’s diagonal cutters for a minute, but you’d better ask before touching their solder wick.
Solder wick is a composed of copper threads braided together. Flux is normally added to help the solder flow from where it is not supposed to be (the jumper) to the wick. Hence, solder wick is sometimes called desolder braid.
Yes, you really can solder anything, and solder wick is a large part of the process. TechSpray makes a very good product. This is what we use in SparkFun production. We’ve tried the cheaper wick and it just doesn’t work.
This wick is 0.055" (size #2) wide and 25ft long. As you use it, the bits of wick can’t be reused but 25ft should last you a year or more.
Be sure to checkout the SMD Soldering Tutorials to see how to use solder wick.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Works, but very narrow. Wider is handier for absorbing large amounts of solder, as in salvaging from older PCBs.
I like to spread the woven fibers out a bit. This allows for a wider and thinner weave which seems to help soak up more solder.