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DIY Soldering Iron From a Broken Soldering Iron

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A technician and a DIY enthusiast, he makes his projects with thorough and indepth study for a high success rate.

Breaking a Tool in the Middle of Repair

Have you ever experienced breaking your soldering iron during one of your repairs? Or when you were about to repair something, you just found out that your weapon is broken? It’s really frustrating specially when you are making an urgent repair, or you are working in the middle of the night and the stores are closed. No worries, because you can make a 5v soldering iron out of your broken one.

Things You Need

Your broken soldering iron, a spare tie wire, solid copper wire(uninsulated), USB cord and 5v adapter.

Scavenging the materials.

Screw open your soldering iron, get the heating element tube. You will notice a wire coiled around through its length for several layers with a heat proof cover in between, they were the nichrome wire. Uncoil them carefully to avoid breakage, you will use most of it. Twist all of your scavenged nichrome wires to form a single strand. You will also have a heat resistant fiberglass sleeve from the broken soldering iron. When you have all the materials, proceed to the assembly.

Parts and materials, already available in your work area.  The nichrome wire is short but is enough for an emergency DIY hack.

Parts and materials, already available in your work area. The nichrome wire is short but is enough for an emergency DIY hack.

Fiberglass sleeve

Fiberglass sleeve

Procedures

Step 1

Measure and cut a ¾ inch solid copper wire to be your solder tip.

Step 2

Secure a firm body by twisting a couple of turns at the tip of the copper wire with a tie wire.

Step 3

Insert the copper wire into the fiberglass sleeve leaving a 5mm of tip uncoated.

Step 4

Coil a thin wire at both ends of the sleeve as shown in the picture. Any wire will do, may it be some of the cable wires inside your USB cable or some of the UTP cable’s. Remove the insulation on the part to be coiled around. Cover the wire’s parts near the sleeve with extra fiberglass sleeve, if you have any, or with some duct tape. This is to prevent the insulated part from burning.

Step 5

Coil the scavenge wire around the length of the sleeve making sure that it has contact with the wires at both ends. Refer to the picture below.

For steps 1-5, this should be the outcome.

For steps 1-5, this should be the outcome.

Bent and twisted several times for a strong body.  You can bend it in your own way.

Bent and twisted several times for a strong body. You can bend it in your own way.

Step 6

Prepare the handle. You can use any tube-like material where you can insert the body and secure it in place to be you handle.

Step 7

Insert the USB cable on the other end of the tube. Connect the G and V+ line of the cable to any of the two lines connected on the sleeve. Secure them with electrical tape to avoid contacts. Pull them inside the body screw or tape it to avoid unnecessary movements during the use.

Finished project, ready to melt some lead.  Ball point pen case was used for the handle.

Finished project, ready to melt some lead. Ball point pen case was used for the handle.

Before placing the handle, I do a test to check if all is well.

Before placing the handle, I do a test to check if all is well.

The glow indicates that it's ready to go.  Some wires will not glow that much but it will surely heat up.

The glow indicates that it's ready to go. Some wires will not glow that much but it will surely heat up.

Now you have your emergency DIY soldering iron from a broken one. After you’re done with the repair, go buy another soldering iron because this DIY project won’t last long. The sleeve will wear off in time and continuous use. The lines will be corroded in no time because it is now uninsulated. This hack is designed for temporary use but you can find some designs built to last using some nichrome wires and fiberglass sleeves too, but with steady solid copper wires as the lines instead of the thin wires.

Health and Safety Reminders

You are working with heat and electricity in this project so it is best to observe Occupational Health and Safety Standards. Keep unnecessary materials away from your working area. Do not touch heating elements to avoid serious burn and damages.

© 2020 Klarenz V