Iso-Tip Soldering Iron
We were contacted by a company located in WI that makes soldering irons with cutting edge technology to see if we would be interested in trying their product in our stained glass field.
I cannot tell you how honored I am that ISO-TIP asked US!
We believe in supporting local businesses but usually that means small ones not leaders in their field!
The Iso-Tip Pro 90 Butane Soldering Iron Torch Kit – Model #9010 is very different from any other soldering iron I have ever used.
Until we started making stained glass, I knew very little about soldering irons...
I have learned so much about what makes a soldering iron for electronics and one that is used for stained glass so different (fine tiny joints and itty-bitty soldering iron tips that come to a point like a pencil)
If you have ever watched us work live you may have noticed that the soldering iron tip that we like to use for stained glass is more like a LARGE screwdriver.
I guess what I'm trying to say is stained glass soldering and electronics soldering have very different needs.
Here's a link to an article that talks just a bit about tips and why - It's written from the electronics point of view BUT it has a great picture of the different tip styles.
It's more than just the soldering tips though...
Have you ever heard of a rheostat?
A simple definition: a resistor for regulating a current by means of variable resistances.
Well, what does that have to do with stained glass?
Most soldering irons for stained glass use a rheostat to maintain a constant heat input. Some are built into the iron and other irons require an additional external one that the iron gets plugged into.
WHY does it even matter?
Too much heat while soldering can cause the glass to crack... this is always my biggest fear. I prefer soldering hot and fast but there are times when a cooler temperature is necessary.
Fancy soldering techniques and detailed edge work are two examples of when I like to turn down the heat.
There are many different types of solder but I will keep it short - the alloys (or materials) used to make solder can differ greatly which results in separate melting temperatures that can vary by over 650° F !!
Every soldering iron that I have ever used has been powered by electricity.
That sounds normal, right?
Iso-Tip has developed a butane fueled soldering iron.
Their irons mostly get used for electrical components and tiny soldering joints where stained glass might run a soldering bead as wide as .25" and over a foot long.
We tested the iron live - straight out of the box and let me just say I was impressed by most of its qualities but for me to reach for that iron first - every time - I need a larger sized soldering tip.
I’m still in awe how light the iron is. It is simple to use but one of my favorite features is how quickly it comes to temperature. Because it does not use electricity, I didn’t catch the electrical cord on the corner of my table or the glass.
If you want to see the replay of the unboxing and hear my thoughts as we used it, you can see it here on our Grace In Glass Studio Facebook Page.
You can even see me break the glass I was soldering on! Oops
At this time, they do not have a larger soldering iron tip, but my hopes are high that they will pursue developing one.
Since we the testing of the iron I do use it around the house and for some small stained glass projects.