In the 1930s, Carl Weller was a radio technician, and like everyone in his field, he hated soldering away from his workbench. Electric soldering irons took a long time to get hot enough to work, and then when you were done, it took a long time until the soldering iron was cool enough to put back into the toolbox. Many tried ways to get around this problem, but the resistance wire everyone used to produce heat was also a poor thermal conductor, so it didn’t heat the materials to be soldered well. Copper doesn’t have much resistance, but it has more resistance where it’s thinnest, and that resistance increases as copper heats up. Adding a step-down transformer, Weller invented a soldering gun that heated and cooled down rapidly, starting the Weller Electric Corporation in 1946.
How it works
In soldering, melting the solder isn’t enough. A proper solder joint is made when the metal being soldered gets hot enough to form an alloy with the solder, and flux is present to prevent oxidation of the hot metal. This means that you want a soldering tool that will conduct heat to the metal that you’re soldering in sufficient quantity to heat the metal, not just the solder. For circuit board work, this doesn’t take a lot of heat, but for larger wires and lugs, or structural work, or outdoor work where the wind can cool the metal that you’re working on quickly, you’ll want a soldering gun that can deliver a lot of heat fairly quickly.
Weller D550PK Soldering Gun Kit
The Weller D550PK Professional Soldering Gun Kit can do that job, at either 260 Watts, producing higher temperature than the one by the 200 Watt setting. The two position trigger switch selects the 260 Watt mode or the 200 Watt mode when fully depressed. It comes up to full heat in the matter seconds. It is designed for intermittent use, to operate for up to a minute at a time with a four minute cooling period between uses. It has bulbs to light the work area. The cutting tip is specially for cutting plastics, such as vinyl sheets or tile, and the smoothing tip is used to remove rough edges from saw-cut plastics. It can also be used for decorative burns on wood, leather, and cork. If the tip does not heat quickly at first, check to see that the tip is seated correctly. Do not release the trigger until the gun is away from the solder joint. Some flux vapors are hazardous, so be sure to use it with adequate ventilation. Another Weller soldering gun review.
One of the few brands of soldering guns that heat up so quickly. It is ideal for many different uses or if you solder things on a regular basis. NOT for electronics soldering though. The case included holds the soldering gun firmly and does not melt easily. A word of caution, the mechanism of the trigger tends to be a bit confusing. You need to double check whether pulling the trigger half way or all the way gives the highest heat setting.
Weller soldering guns are covered by a 7-year warranty, and there are many Weller soldering tools in use today that are decades old. If you will use as much heat to solder as this gun produces, this makes an excellent choice