Soldering is a fascinating process involving fusing two or more objects with molten metal. This is a non-ferrous metal, otherwise known as a filler. This process uses a soldering iron with a specific tip type.
Various soldering iron tips are made from a copper core plated with iron. These tips are interchangeable, removable, and also reusable.
This article looks at the types of soldering iron tips. We will discuss what they look like, excel at, and more.
Soldering Iron Tip Types
There are six main soldering iron tips, each with a slightly different shape. Each is designed to excel at a specific job. Let’s take a look.
Conical Soldering Iron Tips
The first type of soldering iron tip is the conical or a B-series tip. The conical soldering iron tip has a cone shape that ends in a relatively acute yet rounded tip.
One benefit of this type of soldering iron tip is that it allows for soldering at more or less any angle due to the rounded tip shape. However, most people consider the conical tip to be general-purpose.
However, due to the small tip, it also excels at precision work. The narrow tip enables the user to perform precision work that requires only small amounts of filler directed into specific areas.
Moreover, the conical shape allows this soldering tip to fit into small areas where other tips can’t. Therefore, having one of these conical tips for getting into hard-to-reach areas is very useful.
In addition, this conical tip helps concentrate heat into a single small point, making it ideal for most small jobs and surface mount components. This soldering tip is also often used for connecting wires in small spaces.
But, be aware that it is relatively susceptible to damage due to its small tip. If you use too much pressure when soldering, you can bend or break that tip.
Chisel Soldering Iron Tip
The next soldering iron tip is the chisel tip, also referred to as the D-series soldering iron tip. Unlike the conical tip, which ends in a rounded point, the chisel tip ends in a small tip that resembles a larger chisel.
The tapered edge is ideal for getting between small parts. You would use this tip for wide surface mount components, onboard connections, cables, and pass-through connections. In addition, this is a handy tip for soldering thick wires.
Moreover, this tip features a larger surface area than a conical tip, which means more heat is transferred to the tip and, therefore, to an electrical component. If you are doing small DIY jobs at home, this is the tip that you probably want to use.
The chisel tip is the most popular for soldering because it is ideal for many jobs. The wider tip helps spread heat evenly throughout pads and lead parts.
However, be aware that this chisel tip comes in various sizes, so you need to choose the right one. If it’s too small, you won’t be able to get to all of the points you want to, but having one that is too large is not beneficial either. If you pair the chisel tip with a tool designed for extracting material, it can also be used for de-soldering jobs.
The Hoof Tip
The hoof or bevel tip may also be known as the C-series tip. It features a slightly concave shape on its back. As the name implies, it somewhat looks like a horse’s hoof.
This soldering can hold a lot of filler at once, which helps spread solder. It’s also a handy tip for gathering excess solder when you need to remove some after applying too much.
One of the most common applications of the hoof tip is for drag soldering − when several pins are soldered at once. The hoof tip helps avoid pin bridges when drag soldering.
This type of soldering tip is ideal for applications where you have to load solder up onto the tip to spread it around to make a sufficient connection. This type of tip is also commonly used for soldering small-gauge wires.
The Knife Tip
The knife tip, also known as the K-series tip, features a slanted and sharp shape resembling an angled knife blade. One benefit of this soldering tip is that it can reach slotted cavities.
It’s also ideal for J-leaded components such as DRAMs and PLCCs. Due to the shape, the knife tip is perfect for fixing solder bridges that were created. However, point soldering is relatively difficult with the knife tip; it’s not impossible, but it is pretty difficult.
The Blade Tip
Another common type of soldering iron tip is known as the blade tip. This is not to be confused with the knife tip, as they are not the same. Instead, the knife tip features a very sharply angled tip that comes to a point at an angle.
On the other hand, the blade tip is flat and straight at the front; it resembles a narrow razor blade. Instead, it’s a broad tip commonly used for pad cleaning and reworking. This is also a good tip for extracting solder from several pads simultaneously.
The Needle Tip
The sixth and final type of soldering tip is the needle tip, otherwise known as the I-series soldering iron tip.
As you might guess, the front comes to a small and narrow point, making this tip ideal for detail work. However, it doesn’t transfer much heat to the tip and is unsuitable for large components.
You should now know the six most common types of soldering iron tips and their use.