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Author Topic: Soldering Iron - Hot Knife ???  (Read 2012 times)
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lilabner
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« on: January 31, 2013, 06:56 AM »

I'm ready to tackle a kite or two. I've made a few bags in the past. I would cut 12"x12" squares... with a razor or scissors and then seal the cuts with a lighter. Roll Eyes  Embarrassed
I'd say it's time to take the plundge for a Soldering Iron/Hot Knife. I'm not too worried about price. But I also don't want to throw $$$ away either  Wink
I'm wondering what my options might be and what others are using Cool

Thanks much
Ab
 
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 07:08 AM »

i use a ~10$ soldering iron from radio shack.....pick up a handful of extra screw in tips so you can play with them (some people like to file the tip into a flat wedge like an Exacto knife)....

The other thing is if the edge is going to be wrapped up into a seam there is no reason to hot cut it....

i use a rotary knife most of the time and do not hot cut much at all.......

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tcope
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 07:20 AM »

Yup, just need a cheap soldering iron. I use the wand type with a point for the tip. I usually file them a little to make the end a little pointier. As mentioned, if the edge is in a seam, you don't need to hot cut. I like a rotary cutter for that.

Also.... have a system to keep the iron away from any and all fabric when the iron is not in use.
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mikenchico
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 07:45 AM »

Ditto on the the above replies. Heck the one for sale at $3.99 at Harbor Freight will work.

I just stick with a long pointed tip for most work now, when you flatten them you run the risk of getting a wavy cut if you change the angle against your straight edge or template, a round tip does not change the contact point if you use a thin straight edge or template and there's no twisting around to follow a curve.

For some tip options and a unit that will be reliable look at the wood burning kits available at many craft stores, they are made to be on for longer periods of time and have proven to be more reliable for me. Plus some have an inline switch on the cord which you'll turn off more often then if you have to reach under the table and unplug it from the extension cord.

You can get blade type hot cutting tips for the Weller type pistol grip soldering irons but honestly except when cutting the nose webbing you don't need that type of power, it's nice because the heat is instantaneous but I haven't had good luck with them over the long run, I just let my little woodburner get good and hot for 5 minutes anymore.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 07:54 AM by mikenchico » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 08:58 AM »

IMO, it doesn't have to be expensive but try to go for a 50W iron. It won't cool down when you run it against a ruler or cut on a cold surface. A fast cut with a hot iron is neater than a slow cut with a low powered iron struggling to keep its temperature up.

If you use coated fabric (eg PC31, Chikara etc.) there's no need to hot cut at all it wont fray.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 04:28 PM »

Ditto on the the above replies. Heck the one for sale at $3.99 at Harbor Freight will work.

I just stick with a long pointed tip for most work now, when you flatten them you run the risk of getting a wavy cut if you change the angle against your straight edge or template, a round tip does not change the contact point if you use a thin straight edge or template and there's no twisting around to follow a curve.

For some tip options and a unit that will be reliable look at the wood burning kits available at many craft stores, they are made to be on for longer periods of time and have proven to be more reliable for me. Plus some have an inline switch on the cord which you'll turn off more often then if you have to reach under the table and unplug it from the extension cord.

You can get blade type hot cutting tips for the Weller type pistol grip soldering irons but honestly except when cutting the nose webbing you don't need that type of power, it's nice because the heat is instantaneous but I haven't had good luck with them over the long run, I just let my little woodburner get good and hot for 5 minutes anymore.


Great tip here.  I gave up on solder irons as even the high end 50W+ ones wear out fast if you leave them on for more than a few minutes during use.  I use Weller's wood burning iron now and it comes with solder and hot knife tips.  Tough bugger since I left it on for three days once on my bench and it didn't even show a hint of damage. THis is the kit I use http://www.lowes.com/pd_357335-273-WSB25WB_0__?productId=3402984&Ntt=soldering+kits&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dsoldering%2Bkits&facetInfo=
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lilabner
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 05:35 PM »

Thanks gang!!!! Ya's saved me from  :'(wasting Cry TOO MUCH $$$$

I appreciate your help
Ab
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Doug S
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 07:21 AM »

I use several of the inexpensive pencil Weller soldering irons (the ones with the orange handles) to make kites.

I use a 25 watt soldering iron to hot cut the sail material, where I have filled the tip to a sharper and narrow point.  The point works the best for me, where I hot cut the material against a steel edge on an old glass table top.  I hold the sail material and templates in place use 1 in. wide Scotch blue masking tape (not the low stick type).  For large work, use use the full with of the masking tape.  On smaller projects, I cut the tape into 0.25 to 0.5 in. widths.

I use a 40 watt soldering iron to hot cut thicker material or layers of material, such as the nose on a stunt kite or the ends of bridle line material.

I use a 40 watt soldering iron with a very narrow tip used for circuit boards to hot cut small holes in reinforcements using a metal template.

I hope this helps,

Doug
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 06:12 AM by Doug S » Logged

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