Solder Wire: Best Diameters to Keep on Bench?

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Art Duino

Joined Nov 30, 2017
30
I was thinking about getting a solder reel instead of letting my spool roll around the bench while I try to work. Then I saw that they make double reels, which are not much more expensive. I wondered if I should go ahead, throw caution to the wind, and blow the extra four dollars or whatever, in order to avoid having two separate reels cluttering the bench later on.

The only spool I have right now is Kester 0.6mm 63/37. I like it for soldering very small joints. Is there a really popular larger size I should have on hand for general work? I could always pop for 0.031", although it's not that much bigger.

I do things like building guitar tube amps and trying to fix broken electrical/electronic products. My last job was reconnecting a detached armature wire in a Dremel tool.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,750
I just took a one foot section of 2"x4" and drilled three holes (in the wide side) about 4" a part and then glued some dowels in it. That way I could just slip one-pound spools of solder over the dowels. I used a cheap C clamp to clamp it to the back of my bench. I usually had some a spool of very find solder and a spool of coarse solder (don't recall the actual sizes) and that covered virtually all of my needs. If I needed something else, I could temporarily put it on the middle spool (with "temporary" usually meaning that it stayed there until I needed something different, which might be several years later or until I cleaned up the bench, which might also mean several years later).
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
10,734
The 4 spools of solder I have around my bench are all 0.031". They're usually on a shelf unless I'm soldering. I thought about attaching some #10 wire to the underside of the shelf as a spool holder, but have never gotten around to doing it.

The thicker and thinner stuff is in stored in a box until I need it.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
For through hole...
In general you should choose a diameter thats the same size as the leads you are soldering..

I too use .031" for just about everything..
I always just make spool holders with insulated #12 wire hooked on a shelf on the wall..
Proper table mount spool holders need to have quite a bit of weight to them or allow you to screw them down so you don't just slide them all over the place as you are pulling on it..
I always prefer though to have my solder up/off the desk so I'm not catching it on everything as table mount ones are just annoying....
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,401
I don't solder directly off the spool, nor do I keep my solder spools on my workbench; they take up too much room and just get in the way. What I do is take 10-15 feet of solder off a spool and wind it around four fingers of one hand to make a "working" supply of solder (like for a small project or one soldering session), and keep that on the bench. When it's gone, I make another one. Meanwhile, the heavy spools are kept out of my way.

For most work I use 0.025" dia. Kester 63/37. For heavy stuff needing a lot of solder, I use 0.050" or 0.062", and for extremely fine work I have a spool of 0.0065" dia.
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,401
0.0065"!! When I was still working, I used to special order 0.010" from Kester, the smallest they have in the catalog is 0.015. Where do you find 0.0065"?
Beats me, I got it years ago from work when they were going lead-free and throwing out all their old lead-based solder. I don't even know the manufacturer, as the spool is unlabeled.
 
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