Repairs You Can Print: 3D Printing is for (Solder) Suckers

[Joey] was about to desolder something when the unthinkable happened: his iconic blue anodized aluminium desoldering pump was nowhere to be found. Months before, having burned himself on copper braid, he’d sworn off the stuff and sold it all for scrap. He scratched uselessly at a solder joint with a fingernail and thought to himself: if only I’d used the scrap proceeds to buy a backup desoldering pump.

Determined to desolder by any means necessary, [Joey] dove into his junk bin and emerged carrying an old pump with a broken button. He’d heard all about our Repairs You Can Print contest and got to work designing a replacement in two parts. The new button goes all the way through the pump and is held in check with a rubber band, which sits in a groove on the back side. The second piece is a collar with a pair of ears that fits around the tube and anchors the button and the rubber band. It’s working well so far, and you can see it suck in real-time after the break.

We’re not sure what will happen when the rubber band fails. If [Joey] doesn’t have another, maybe he can print a new one out of Ninjaflex, or build his own desoldering station. Or maybe he’ll turn to the fire and tweezers method.

If you’d like to enter the contest, head on over to its page on Hackaday.io, and start coming up with a print to submit!

17 thoughts on “Repairs You Can Print: 3D Printing is for (Solder) Suckers

  1. Good cheap solution – for those with a 3D printer and a place to put them (I have neither). After fighting for 40 years with every manner of manual desoldering sucker imaginable I finally broke down and bought a hand-held electric desoldering pump. Like night and day, and though expensive compared to a $5 piece of poorly sprung plastic or aluminum I probably paid less for it than all those useless solder suckers combined. The complete lack of recoil is alone worth the $200 price. How did I ever live without an electric desolderig pump all those years?

  2. Those manual solder suckers are next to useless, braided solder wick is the only real option if you do SMD work. The trick is to use just enough heat, buy a decent quality wick with embedded flux, or at least using lots of liquid flux to help the wicking action. It is also the best way to avoid damaging the PCB traces during a repair.

    That said, nothing beats an electric desoldering pump for speed when removing components. it’s awesome to desolder a big IC and have it fall right out of the board as you desolder the last pin. Just beware that an old PCB will most likely have some traces lifted in the process.

    Nice 3d printed part anyway!

      1. I bought a Hakko 808 for about $200 and never regretted it. Takes 2-3 seconds per hole to completely clean it out every time. If you have a hole with a lot of heat sinking just stay there for a few more seconds until the pin wiggles around. Manual pumps are useless, it’s a race against the clock, the solder starts hardening, the tip melts, and the suction…well it sucks. Solder wick only pulls solder from where it can touch so you won’t be removing components from through plated holes with that either. It looks like the 808 may be discontinued but there’s another replacement that I’ve never used (FR-300)

    1. The most common failure mode for solder wick is age. Fresh stuff works great, but it all turns to crap after a few years of oxidation. Buy a new spool every year or so, and you’ll find it works better than you’re used to.

      1. heh. Oxidised beyond use is precisely why I threw my last lot out. I haven’t replaced it because I do so little soldering these days it’s simply not worth keeping a supply on hand.

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