Member Since: May 22, 2012

Country: United States

  • I just used my Polymorph to straighten my eyeglass frames without going back to the optician. I molded some Polymorph around the jaws of 2 different small pliers, pressed the still-soft Polymorph onto the part of the eyeglass frame I wanted to hold. Worked a treat without breaking the lenses or the frames (and no scratches to the frames either.

  • I bought a bunch of these breakout boards, an Xbee Explorer USB and several AdaFruit serial-to-XBee kits. I learned the hard way about how solder and these headers/XBee don't get along; I actually soldered one XBee into the header, not realizing the amount of solder flow I was getting.

    I found a slightly different technique than those mentioned here. It is similar to those I've seen for easy surface mount soldering:

    1. Insert the sockets into the breakout board. I used alligator clips to hold them in place temporarily. You can also insert an XBee (somewhat dangerous since it can become permanently soldered to the socket) or use modelling putty to hold the socket in place (works better than tape imho).
    2. Apply flux to the pins and PCB pads.
    3. Set soldering iron at 700 degF. As other posters have mentioned, quickly heating the pin is important to minimizing solder flow.
    4. Apply solder to the iron tip (a chisel tip makes this much easier).
    5. Touch the molten solder ball to the first joint. It will sizzle for a short time.
    6. As soon as the solder flows to the joint, remove the soldering iron. It will take a bit of practice to know how quickly to remove the iron to get a nice fillet on the pin. However, this technique will be a bit more forgiving about leaving the iron touching too long.
    7. Add more solder to the iron tip and repeat for the remaining 3 "corners" (2 sockets times 2 end pins).
    8. Check that you have not soldered the socket crooked. If you have, it is unlikely you can salvage that socket; just desolder it and try again.
    9. Continue adding solder to the iron tip and touching it to each pin until the solder flows.

    Once I figured out the "right way" to do this, it became trivial to get an XBee socket soldered like a pro.

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