Can You Engrave Metal with a Soldering Iron?

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Engravings make items special

With the right tool & tip you can add a special message on your gift to your romantic partner and brighten up his or her day. Or you can say something special to your children and give them confidence as well as letting them know they are loved.

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How to Use a Soldering Iron

But can you use a soldering iron to engrave those messages or other words and drawings on metal? That is a question that you will find the answer to if you keep reading this article.

The different tips used for soldering irons

When you enter the world of soldering you will find that there may be 100 or more different tips you can use on your soldering iron. Each one has a special purpose making it ideal for those specific tasks you have to do.

Here are a few of those tips and their uses:

Name or seriesNumber of tipsPurpose
B series1 tipRounded and all-purpose soldering tip that handles a variety of tasks
D series4 tipsThese are the chisel tips that provide a larger surface for more heat to transfer. They are also for a variety of tasks.
C series3 tipsThese tips are best used in drag soldering. They are great for spreading out the solder to give an even coat over many points needed coverage
I series3 tipsThese tips are for the fine detailed work that comes with needlepoint jewelry and similar projects. They do not transfer a lot of heat
K series1 tipDrag soldering, point soldering, and bridge repair are its specialties

You may find these tips listed under different names. A few of those names are the conical tip, the chisel tip, and the bevel or hoof tip. One key tip for when you go out looking for soldering iron tips.

One brand of tips may not work with another brand’s soldering iron. You will have to double-check to see if the tips you want will fit your iron. If you don’t double-check, you may waste a lot of money.

The different uses for soldering tips

Believe it or not many different trades use soldering irons and their tips. This is a well-rounded tool that has many applications and helps the men and women of different trades do a fine job on their projects.

NumberTradeTasks
#1.PlumbingSeal copper pipe together. Although a blow torch is usually used a soldering iron is used in tight spots protecting the plumber from harm
#2.RoofingSolder flashing, copper roofing material, and gutters. Accuracy is not important here. The joints are leak proof
#3.Stained glass constructionThe artists who produce stained glass for churches and other structures need a 100-watt soldering iron
#4.ElectronicsSoldering keeps the components together and the electricity flowing. A needle-nose tip is ideal for this work
#5.ElectriciansThe solder keeps the electricity flowing and they use these irons to connect wires together and to connect them to terminals
#6.Auto repairNot engine repair but it has its place in this industry helping to fill holes, connect wires, and so on
#7.Jewelry makingSmaller tips are perfect for making smaller jewelry. This tool is helpful in keeping the stones in place or to create a unique design
#8.Vacuum tube constructionThey still have their place in the world and soft soldering makes sure the copper stays where it should without damaging the tube
#9.Home projectsThere are numerous projects around the house that solder helps get done

Can You Engrave Metal With a Soldering Iron

It was important to let you see an example of the type of tips and uses soldering ions have before answering this question. As you have read, there are no metal engraving tips nor any industry using soldering irons to engrave metal pieces.

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There is a very good reason why this is so. Soldering irons only transfer heat. They meet and exceed the solder’s melting point making it a liquid and having it flow into all the corners and crevices you need to be joined together.

The irons do not have a motor that moves the tips at a high rate or any rate of speed. The tips just sit there unmoving and incapable of etching metal with your special message or name.

In other words, soldering irons do not have the ability to write in metal, any metals. Of course, you can write your name or message in solder but it may not last very long.

You can engrave a message on plastic

Even if you can’t use your soldering iron to engrave your name or design on metal, don’t give up hope. You can still make your own specialty tip and engrave what you want on plastic.

The steps are simple and all you will need is a piece of wire that is long enough and a pair of pliers to mold the wire into the right shape. All you need to do is wrap the wire securely around an old tip that can’t be used for soldering anymore.

Next, you file one end of the wire down to the point you want. It may be that you will need to attach the other end of the wire up the shaft of your soldering iron for a better grip and a more secure movement.

Once you are done, grab a scrap piece of plastic and practice what you want to have seen on your good plastic piece. When you make adjustments to your homemade tip and it is working as you want it to, start your drawing, etc., on your good piece of plastic.

Some Final Words

While you can’t use a soldering iron to engrave metal, there are a thousand and one uses for your soldering iron. These are handy tools to have around the house when you can’t afford a repairman, to fix your broken electronics or wiring.

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