A soldering iron is a tool that has a number of valuable applications. The general concept behind the tool is that a metal which has a generally low melting point can easily be used to join together other solid materials, such as metal or glass. The connecting metal, called the solder, commonly consists of a combination of tin and led, but can also be a combination of a variety of different metals. The solder can also come in a variety of sizes, which provides options for projects that require a stronger bond. The strength of the iron used will depends on what solder is used. In general, soldering differs from the technique of brazing, because of the low melting point of the metal used. It also differs from welding, as the two conjoining metals are not melted together, and are merely connected through the same medium. However, this technique and its tool are definitely not limited to one application.
Soldering can be used to create a bond without the chance of destroying the two connecting materials in the process. In terms of electronics, this has been a way for electricians to create conductive connections between fragile wires or circuit boards. The soldering iron provides a tool capable of delicately connecting the two metals without the worry of destroying the fragile parts. This is why the solder has also been used in the delicate art of jewelry making and repair, because two precious metals can be bound together without any fear of being damaged in the process.
Yet the versatile soldering iron can also be used to seal a space between to sizable masses that is both waterproof and, if intended, permanent. This is why the plumbing industry has used the tool for years to seal copper piping that is commonly used in today's plumbing industry. The seal is reliable enough to offer a permanent solution, but if modifications are needed it can easily be undone. This sturdy soldering has also been used when creating stained glass windows or art pieces, by allowing the person to join two pieces of colored glass with a thick soldered bond.
This illustrates how the task will determine the size of the solder and the strength of the iron. Electricians and jewelers will be using a different solder and lower heat soldering iron to complete their jobs, while a plumber or someone creating a stained glass window will have to use a thicker solder and higher powered iron. Yet, even the iron itself has been used in pyrography, which uses it to artistically burn an image on wood, or plastic welding, which is a critical part of many industries. Clearly, this versatile tool can be used to fulfill the needs of professionals and artisans alike.