Soldering Tip Cleaning Genie
Sometimes, it's the little things that make the big differences. For years, I've been using a small sponge that came with my soldering iron stand to clean my iron's tip. I had to do a lot of soldering while working on my book, and even though I had adequate ventilation, the fumes really got to me. A big generator of these fumes is the act of sponge-cleaning. The sponge, moist with water, cools down the iron, which creates a lot of lead-laden smoke. This cooling of the tip for a few seconds is also not good for healthy solder joins. Towards the end of working on the book, I had to place an order with Jameco for more bot parts. As an afterthought, I tossed something into my shopping cart I saw on their site, a little gizmo called the Soldering Tip Cleaning Genie. I'm always looking for new tools, and this one only cost US$5.00, so I figured, what the hey.
Man, do I love this thing! Nothing more than a metal ashtray-like dish stuffed with brass shavings, the Cleaning Genie allows you to quickly and safely clean your soldering iron's tip without lowering the temperature (at least not by very much) and with nearly no smoke. All you do is stab the iron's tip into the shavings to clean. The bottom of the dish is rubberized, so no slippage. The Genie also has three ashtray-style depressions along its edge, designed to hold the soldering iron, but I'd never trust these. You still want to use a proper iron stand for save keeping.
The Cleaning Genie has reduced the amount of smoke my soldering makes dramatically and I feel far less punchy after a long soldering session. Hey, wait, maybe that's not such a good thing. Cheap thrills and all that. At $5, this device is its own cheap thrill, something no brain cell-loving wirehead should be without.
Gareth Branwyn -[Friday, October 24, 2003]
Related Link: Jameco