EYE on NPI: Menda/EasyBraid WickGun Dispenser and Cassettes #EYEonNPI #DigiKey @DigiKey @adafruit

This week’s EYE ON NPI (video) has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! It’s the latest installment of the Wick franchise…

dontchaknowit – this movie is all about making rework fast and easy with the Menda/EasyBraid WickGun Dispenser, which will let you dispense de-soldering braid with the same ease and skill that our famous assassin dispenses with the bad guys!

Solder wick is awesome for reworking any printed circuit boards. It’s made of fine copper braid that often has flux embedded in it, and it ‘wicks’ up solder cleanly and easily. It’s great for SMT, especially bridging on chips pins, and also is helpful for cleaning up through hole parts.

Digi-Key has some great tutorials on soldering, including this one that covers fluxing, rework, wick and headers, one from Becky Stern with lots of wire-soldering details and a video from Shawn Hymel on QFN soldering and rework with hot air. Soldering is a bit of a messy process, especially for beginners, and it’s easy to make mistakes where there’s too much solder.

That’s where reworking techniques come in! It’s dangerous to operate electronics with short circuits, as somehow it always turns out that the short is connecting some high voltage pin to a sensitive input.

For through hole components, we always like to start off with a de-soldering pump, also known as a “solder sucker“. Pumps are great for removing large quantities of solder, but are a ‘big hammer’ – they’re not good for delicate tasks and also because they use the internal suction to pull solder away from the PCB, they’re not good for removing the last solder from a through hole pad where the component has been removed because air just flows around the solder.

Once you’ve got the majority of solder removed, use wick to clean it up. Do this by placing the wick over the area with solder, then pressing the widest part of the soldering iron tip against the wick to heat it up and cause the solder to flow into the wick. Finally, cut off the used wick! OK, not too hard – but suffers from requiring both hands which means putting down the iron while you yank some more wick out, then set it up, picking up the iron, doing the actual wicking, then putting down the iron again to cut the used parts.

If you’re doing a lot of rework, the Menda/EasyBraid WickGun Dispenser makes this task easy by making the dispensing, positioning and cutting a one-handed task.

The WickGun takes reels of braid of any width. Once loaded, turn the dial to dispense wick until you have a nice tail. Use the end of the wick against the spot you’re reworking, and once done, press the trigger to snip off the used braid: easy-peasy-lemon squeezy!

The wicks themselves come with a variety of different solder widths and styles: from lead-free to no-clean and #1 to #5 widths with replacement cassettes available from Digi-Key as well. And Menda/EasyBraid WickGun Dispensers and Cassettes are in stock for immediate shipment from Digi-Key, so you can order today and double the speed of your reworking by tomorrow afternoon.

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