THE HAKKO RED
My soldering iron of choice is the 30W Hakko Red with the sharp tip. When I was a kid, the one I had was from a very good brand but as i grew up, it kinda disappeared. Then, when I started work, it was the Hakko brand as they were part of our Company’s tools. Our repair techs would be given the much more expensive yellow Antex. In the end, I got my own personal Hakko.
There are various soldering iron tips on the market but I still prefer the sharp tip aka the pencil point. The main reason is that most of my soldering deals with fine leads and SMD components. When I get a new soldering iron, if it does not have a that sharp tip, I would get it separately.
The standard angled chiseled tips holds more solder and larger surface area. But it was the sharp tip which allows me to work with SMD and in tight areas within the model kit.
The soldering tip is just a copper core with an iron coating. So, scraping the solder off with something sharp is not a good thing for the iron plating.
The soldering iron is an essential tool for my Hobby, just like a brush or an airbrush is to a modeler. Also, it is a source of heat and for many modelers, this is the easiest way of making bullet holes in the models. The downside is that the soldering iron is usually ‘too hot’ for the plastic, and is hard to control. There is also another serious downside, where the melting plastic would stick to the tip and also, gives off non-environmentally friendly fumes.
But if you’re still going to go ahead to melt the plastics, please change the tip first. And if you only have one tip, you’d be spending the better part of the day in wiping the hot tip off sheets of paper towels.
WHY NOT THE NEW ONES?
After using the Hakko for decades, for a habitual person like me, it is hard to accept the latest innovation. Moreover, a RM32.00 soldering iron lasts me about 6 years on average. Buying an iron which costs more than 6 times and has model specific replacement tips is hard to accept. OK, so it has temperature control and LCD/ OLED display. I guess I would keep on using until they’re obsolete or I have some extra cash to spend.