Soldering free wires

I'm building a LED cube, and the LED pins are the framework and the circuitry.

I need to solder the end of one LED-pin to the next LED-pin right near the LED-body. I am new to this and just bought the soldering iron - its an OK one with temp dial and station. But in your experience, how do I get that NASA quality solder joint while I hold the solder, the soldering iron and have the components rolling around on the desk and possibly overheating. Is there something I don't know?


Improvise, little blocks, “fixturing”.
And - tape works wonders. (Bend one end back on itself to make a tab that you can pull back up easily.)

Far be it from me to suggest that ever useful third hand - your mouth - solder is now lead-free so the old brain-killing risk is minimised

But, if you had been to the old school of learning you'd have been taught that all joints should be mechanically secure before soldering (wires twisted together)

Tin both ends individually. Once both are covered with solder, put down your solder and hold the ends together. Touch it with your soldering iron, until the solder melts together. Voila

Alternatly. Physically connect them before, by twisting the ends together. Then solder.

The "third hand" can simply be propping the iron up so you don't have to hold it and pre-tin the leads.


A spring type clothespin screwed to a block of wood works great as a holder for parts.

For 3-5mm LEDS I take a piece of wood and a drill and make holes however far apart I want the LEDS. Then I place the LEDs in the holes and this keeps them still while I bend cut and solder the legs. The I just pop the row out(or layer).

Thanks for all the replies!

What I ended up doing was bending a little hook on the very end of one lead and tinning that. Then I put a spot of flux on the other lead, and held them together against the solder-loaded iron-tip. That worked really well.

The solder I have is tin93%+copper7%-FluxCore which is good I guess because it has no lead in it, but it won’t re-flow easily without the flux.

I am going to have a look at some of the ideas because I only did one 5x5 ‘layer’ so far and it ended up being a bit so-so in the allignment as it was ultimately hand-held. To look spick, I want to get them acurately placed within a milimetre.

I want to get them acurately placed within a milimetre.

thegeekway's idea would be good for that I think.


That's the holes in the wood idea to position the row-layout.

Yes, I really like that one but there remains the problem to connect each layer but that should be fairly straightforward - I will bend each leg say 3mm from the end at a rightangle and solder that tight under the next LED down. When 2 or 3 are done, the rest will be fairly stable.

Just to be clear: never inhale solder fumes - flux vapour is an irritant.

not only to ur lungs but your eyes as well, atleast for me as I have sensitive eyes, I used to just let the smoke pass my face when working on delicate things and I thought just holding my breath was good then id realize after 30min of soldering up close my eyes would get red and feel dry and irratated even though I didn't feel it immediately, now I wear safety glasses with the sides so it goes around my eyes, its a bit of an annoyqnce when ur trying to get up close and be careful but you get used to it, (and a fancy confortable pair is worth it)

a little (like computer) fan helps a lot too

Agreed - the flux does generate a lot of acrid fumes. I was doing this soldering outside, and it was like being at an oldtime barbeque with the smoke following you whichever way you sat. I'm sure I got a lungful, and I felt a bit sick later that evening - could be psychosomatic of course :)

The fan idea sounds good. Also I was reminded of those street art guys who use spray-paint, they use a gasmask with a snorkel-tube which goes aroundtheir back - probably overkill.

Rosen based fluxes never really bothered me (cough hack cough cough bleh) but acid core (which you shouldnt be using on electronics, what is this 1940?) and these new "no clean" fluxes will burn me up with a good whiff