Most electronics projects involve soldering. While soldering can be great fun and exciting, especially when you think about the end product, it is a process that involves some risk and can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Whether you’re just starting out or you have experience soldering, there are important safety guidelines that you must follow.
1. Always wear your safety goggles. Sometimes solders can spit. Your eyes are precious—keep them safe.
2. Never touch the element of the soldering iron—it can get up to 400 degrees Celsius!
3. Hold the wires to be heated with tweezers or clamps.
4. Never solder a live circuit.
5. Make sure you’re using the right size soldering iron for your project. Too much heat can ruin the board and/or the components.
6. Solder in a well-ventilated space. This will help prevent fumes from building up, which could cause your eyes and throat to become irritated.
7. If possible, use lead-free solders. If using lead solders, make sure to wear gloves. Any ingestion of lead, whether through the skin, the nose, or the mouth, can have serious health consequences.
8. Give any soldered surface a minute or two to cool down before touching it.
9. Always return the soldering iron to its stand when you’re done using it. Make sure that the stand is sturdy enough so it doesn’t topple over. Never leave it on your workbench. This can cause a fire. On this note, don’t keep any flammable material, such as paper, near the soldering iron.
10. Turn off and unplug the soldering iron when you’re not using it.
11. Keep cleaning solvents in dispensing bottles.
12. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after soldering.
If you’d like to learn more about the art and science of soldering, consider signing up for one of Blackfox’s soldering courses. Blackfox courses are suitable for novice and seasoned electronics systems technicians alike.
Boyson, Eric & Muir, Nancy. Safe Soldering Checklist. Dummies.
Department of Engineering and Health Safety, University of Cambridge. Soldering Safety.