How to Make Soldering Iron Using a Glow Plug

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Do you know it is possible to make your own soldering iron using glow plugs? You will typically find glow plugs in vehicles. Think of them like a mini heater, because they help with combustion by warming up the diesel and air. In petrol vehicles, you will find spark plugs instead of glow plugs. 

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How to Use a Soldering Iron

In our article below, we will show you how to make soldering iron using a glow plug. The tutorial is easy to follow, and requires basic materials. Let’s get into it. 

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Method 1: Glow Plug Solder That Uses Regular Batteries

You will need the following material.

  • Glow plug
  • 25mm PVC pipe with open ends
  • 4mm plywood cut into a circular shape to fit into one end of the PVC pipe. Drill a hole in the center 
  • Button switch
  • Bottle cap
  • 2 batteries
  • Copper wire
  • Electrical wire

Step-By-Step Process

  • Remove the bolt at the bottom of the glow plug
  • Fit in the plywood
  • Return the bolt so that it secures the plywood
  • Make sure you tighten it back into position
  • Insert the glow plug until it cannot go in any more
  • Use super glue to fix it into place
  • Strip the wires
  • Coil it around the glow plug
  • Use tape to secure it into position along the tube
  • Strip the bottom wires and attach it to one of the connections on the button switch
  • On the other connection, attach the remaining copper wire
  • Use as solder to connect the button switch securely to the wires
  • Further, secure the switch to the tube using super glue
  • For the bottom cover, we will need a bottle cap
  • Put a spring in the bottle cap using glue
  • Now drill a hole through the bottle cap, right in between the spring
  • Thread the cable you had connected to the switch through the hole. Take a look at the connector for a torch to get a better understanding of this part. You are creating a connection for the bottom part.
  • Put in the two batteries, ensuring a proper alignment (just like you would if you were putting batteries into your torch. 
  • Secure the bottle cap so that it covers the bottom part of the tube

Making the Tip

  • On the upper end of your glow pipe, wind the copper wire
  • Ensure you leave some space between the coils so that it does not short circuit
  • You will need to sharpen one end of the copper wire to a sharp point. It will serve as the soldering tip. You can use a file to help with the task. 
  • Ensure you leave some copper wire protruding from the top as this will form your tip. 
  • Your glow plug soldering iron is now ready for use. 
  • Use the switch to put it on and off when in use. 

Method 2 – Glow Plug Solder That Uses a Car Battery

You will need the following material:

  • Glow plug
  • ½ inch thick wood pieces measuring about 6” long 
  • Metal strip with perforations
  • Three M4 bolts and nuts
  • Small screw
  • Cable
  • Electricity
  • Ring terminal and female bullet connector with crimp
  • A basic tool kit comprising of a screwdriver, pliers, sandpaper or file, wire cutters, and a drill with a bit

Step-By-Step Process

  • Start by preparing a 4-inch perforated strip. 
  • Using the M4 bolts and nuts, bend the perforated metal strip on the glow plug around the threads. 
  • The M4 connection will also be where you attach the negative cable.

Making the Solder Handle

  • To make the handle, we need the pieces of wood cut to the dimensions above
  • Using the perforations in the strip as a guide, drill two holes into the wood
  • Take the remaining M4 nuts and bolts and combine the strips with the wood
  • You can use smaller screws to secure the ends of the wooden handle
  • Sandpaper or file would help you smooth out any rough places. It is a vital step to take because you need to be comfortable when you hold the soldering iron. 
  • Once you attach the handle, you should have something that resembles a letter, T. The lower part will be your handle, while the glow plug solder will be the horizontal top part. 

Cabling

  • Strip the cable wires at the end
  • Use the ring terminal for the black wire, and the female bullet connector for the red
  • The ring terminal or negative goes to the M4 nut that you had put in the perforated strip. You will then attach the bullet connector to the end of your glow plug. 

Making the Tip

Use the same steps as we did in method 1.

  • On the upper end of your glow pipe, wind the copper wire.
  • Ensure you leave space between the coils so that it does not short circuit
  • You will need to sharpen one end of the copper wire to a sharp point. It will serve as the soldering tip. You can use a file to help with the task. 
  • Ensure you leave some copper wire protruding from the top as this will form your tip. 

Connect the other cable end to your battery, and your solder will be ready to use.

Please note, this solder does not have an on and off switch. You will, therefore, not be able to control the amount of current when you are using it. Adding a switch is not difficult; you can use the steps we have highlighted in the first option to include the switch. Your other option is to include a light bulb to create resistance between the plug and the battery. If you have some cash, buy a voltage regulator that allows for current adjustment. 

Final Thoughts

We have shared with you two easy methods of how to make soldering iron using a glow plug. Instead of spending money buying a soldering iron, you can easily make yourself one. You will notice that we are using inexpensive and easily accessible materials. 

Some of the materials are things you will find within your home. Even if you have to buy them, it will still be a cheaper option to purchase some of the more expensive soldering irons available. 

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