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.
See all skill levels
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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.
The image does not do the product much justice. I bought the product expecting to get the standard solder wick, albeit with a few extra turns on the internal spindle to get the 25 feet length but the package was larger, the quality was better and as much as its not technically re-usable, i got to wick much more solder per inch than any previously used.
Great for soldering IC's, and intricate solder work
This is my second purchase of the Techspray solder wick. It is the right width and length for my projects and does a great job of removing the solder. It arrived in a sealed plastic bag which is a plus as it eliminates environmental contamination.
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I always knew Amarillo would be known for something other than cows. Now I have proof!!!!
A brief note on the use if solder wick: It conducts heat. A lot of heat. It is generally a good idea to cut a piece an inch or two long and use that so you don't transfer heat all the way down the roll, and in the process melt part of the spool.
As you may have guessed, grabbing it with you fingers during use will probably hurt a fair bit, so grab the wick with something like pliers or tweezers, or best of all, hemostats, which will hold your wick nice and steady so you just have to think about the work.
I use this exact wick (though in a 10 foot length I got elsewhere as a quick replacement when I ran out, and at about double the price per foot. Seriously, get it here.), and I must say it is amazing stuff. Note that it does have a good amount of flux in it, so you will want to clean up the PCB with alcohol pads or similar once you finish.
This solder wick is amazing. I had only ever used the cheap stuff that comes in "electronics tool kits" in the past, and thought that solder wick was just a load of hooey. But this TechSpray wick truly works wonders! This is exactly what you need if you're replacing a broken SD socket on a Raspberry Pi, or for any other precision rework. Well worth the $16.95! Mine has already paid for itself several times over in recovered components and repaired boards...
Considering buying a roll? Buy two! You'll be glad you did.
It's not the traditional usage, but I've found an alternative use for desoldering braid.
I have a lot of USB drives that have some rather stupid keyring design (you can't attach a normal keyring on it) and by threading the braid though and soldering it, you get a strong and flexible keyring.
What are people's opinions on 'no-clean' vs RMA fluxes vs R fluxes like on this wick? Do no-clean fluxes work well enough?
This is good stuff.
I used to use Radio Shack's solder wick but the last time I purchased some it was very coarse and didn't soak up solder. This works just the way I hoped.
I usually leave a couple of inches of used wick on the end to use as a handle to position and pull fresh wick over unwanted solder.
I wish you carried the #1 (0.030") wick as well. It's just the perfect thing when you have a little too much solder on a joint but don't want to suck it dry.
The spool I have left from college is running down to the end, and it's hard to find the #1 size.
SRA Solder has #1 wick: http://sra-solder.com
Why did you increase the price of this??? It used to be $14.95. I would buy it at that price but, $16.95? That is simply outrageous!
Dude, it's only 2 bucks. Chill.
Okay okay, I guess I over reacted a bit, but $16.95 is still to much.
As long as the revenue continues to go toward product development, support, and the salaries of the awesome folks at SparkFun—not to mention their non-profit community outreach education programs—I'll gladly pay the extra $2!
[rant] I don't understand why people are always whining and complaining about prices in these comments... if you don't care about supporting the open-source maker community and educating a future generation of engineers and inventors, buy some cheap Chinese crap on eBay and wait two months for it to arrive. [/rant]
(P.S. Perhaps the manufacturer had to raise their price due to the ever-increasing cost of copper?)