My First Soldering Iron


Christmas comes early this year. Yesterday I drove to Sears and bought myself a new toy – an $8, 30 watt, 700°F soldering iron. I know nothing about different types of solder, other than not to breathe the fumes, so I just bought the cheapest type ($4) to get me started: lead-free 96% tin, 4% silver solder with rosin flux core.

I’ve recently become interested in electronics because it’s cool to make home-made gadgets, but mostly because I re-watched Iron Man several days ago.

The packaging of both the solder and iron is marked with warnings. The solder packaging states, “May be fatal is swallowed.” The iron’s case reads, “When used for soldering, this product produces chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Why only California? Do other states genuinely not know the dangers or do they just think California’s being a wuss?