Metcal Magic?
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Metcal Magic?

by analoger on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:13 am

While checking some Metcal soldering stations, they use a different technology to melt solder, not heat? So if I touch the tip it will not burn me? This is really cool to see that only solder melts and no heating.
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Re: Metcal Magic?

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:28 am

they use a different technology to melt solder, not heat? So if I touch the tip it will not burn me?

Which model is that? Their "SmartHeat" units still use heat and will still burn you. They will just burn you more efficiently than a conventional iron. :wink:

There are "ColdHeat" guns too. Not sure if Metcal sells one. These heat the joint by passing current through the tip. They are not really suitable for electronics work.
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Re: Metcal Magic?

by analoger on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:39 am

I see, I thought it uses some sort of microwave heating of the solder material without affecting other parts.
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Re: Metcal Magic?

by mikeselectricstuff on Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:44 pm

Metcals use induction heating to heat a slug of metal welded to the back of the tip. The material is designed to stop absorbing energy at a specific temperature.
This means they can pump a lot of power in without overshooting, and as the heat source is metal welded to the tip, thermal resistance is very low, unlike conventional iron which need electrical insulation between the tip and element.

The net result is very fast warmup (typically 5-8 secs from cold), and ability to quickly heat heavy copper groundplanes, tabs etc.
A side benefit is that the hot part of the tip is small, so you have a close handle-to-tip distance, without any heating of the handle, which gives good handling for fine work and comfort for all-day useage. Later models have soft rubber sleeves which are ribbed for your soldering pleasure

And yes they will still burn your finger.
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