Some time ago, in all apartments and houses, pipelines were assembled everywhere from metal pipes. They were connected by welding or threaded method. In our time of advanced technologies, an excellent alternative has been found — polypropylene pipes, characterized by ease and ease of use. Plastic parts are mounted using special tools and equipment. The simplest and most convenient device that allows you to create a high-quality connection is a soldering iron for mounting plastic pipes. The device is in demand among craftsmen who independently install plumbing and heating systems in their homes. Manufacturers release new models every year, and before buying equipment, you need to figure out what it is, how it differs from others, and what parameters you need to pay attention to.
How a soldering iron works and how it works
Almost all models have the same design, with the only difference being the method of attaching the nozzles to the heating surface. The soldering iron itself consists of:
- Enclosures with handle;
- Welding heater (placed in a cast metal casing);
- A set of special nozzles.
The soldering iron device can be compared with an ordinary iron. The device differs only in its purpose and form. Soldering irons, however, like irons, have 2 key links — a thermostat and a high-power heating element built into a flat or round case. It is on the shape of the body that the design of the fastening of the working nozzles depends.
Instructions are attached to each equipment, from which the principle of operation can be distinguished: a heating element connected to the network heats the stove, and it, in turn, heats the nozzles. The task of the latter is to soften the material being processed to a viscous state, which facilitates the connection procedure. The thermostat is designed to maintain the optimal temperature of the nozzles (about +260 degrees Celsius). It controls the procedure for welding surfaces, not allowing more melting than required. If the working nozzle gets very hot, it will easily overheat the joint and the polypropylene will begin to “flow”, which will reduce the diameter of the product or lead to its damage.
If it is not enough to warm the pipe, then the connection will not be tight. An additional task of the thermostat is to provide protection to the heating element (the metal head will not melt). It is better not to consider cheap models of the device, since their design does not imply the use of a high-quality thermostat, and a lot depends on it.
Separately, it is worth noting the role of nozzles. It is recommended to choose high-quality parts that provide a reliable joint when soldering. There are different coatings of nozzles. When choosing a soldering iron, attention is also paid to the thickness of the non-stick layer. The most durable tips are Teflon coated or metallized Teflon (even stronger). With their help, uniform heating of the workpiece is done.
Soldering iron selection options
When choosing a soldering iron for plastic pipes, it is important to understand that the key parameter is power. The size of the connected pipes and the heating time of the device depend on it, respectively, and the speed of installation (if the volumes are large, then this item is given priority).
It may seem that when choosing, you can be guided only by the power of the soldering iron. And now many people are buying devices whose power varies from 1.5 to 2 kW — this is not a completely correct approach to choosing.
Professionals use a simple formula that allows them to choose the optimal power: multiply the diameter of the pipes used (in mm) by 10 — this will be the value of the minimum power.
For example, to ensure the soldering of pipes with a diameter of 50 mm, the power of the equipment must be at least 500 watts. Based on this, the models are divided into:
- Household — enough power of 1.2 kW;
- Professional — from 1.8 to 2.2 kW and more.
A soldering iron used for soldering plastic pipes, as a rule, is already equipped with special nozzles, which greatly expands its functionality. Some manufacturers have a feature: the models they produce support up to two nozzles at the same time, due to which the procedure for soldering pipes with different diameters is even faster.
Nozzles can be coated with various materials.
Important information! The most practical coatings are Teflon and metallized Teflon. They are characterized by strength and uniform heating of the ends of PVC pipes.
On average, the maximum heating temperature of the equipment does not exceed 300 degrees Celsius. When choosing a device, you should pay attention not only to the operating temperature, but also to the ability to regulate it. In the course of work, this is very convenient: after all, +50 degrees is enough to connect one material, while the other needs all +300 degrees. Polyethylene pipes melt at +220 degrees, and polypropylene pipes at +260 degrees.
Asking the question “how to choose a tool”, you need to familiarize yourself with its controls and how control is generally carried out. It is useful if a light indication is provided — displaying the connection of the device to the network and the level of its heating. Here the task of the built-in thermostat is to regulate the operating temperature depending on the operating conditions. Some professional models are equipped with a special display that displays information regarding the current temperature. These are high-quality devices, which are easy and convenient to work with — after all, in conventional models, the temperature is determined intuitively by the master. When connecting pipes with your own hands, there is always the possibility of overheating of the device — here a protective shutdown will be a useful function. As for conventional models, they simply need a break from time to time, but this affects the productivity of the work.
How soldering is done
Consider how to use a soldering iron. The order of work is as follows:
- Pipes are cut perpendicular to the central axis. If the end is curved, this will significantly affect the quality of the soldering;
- Chamfers are removed from the end of the pipe (the cut site is cleared of debris);
- Nozzles are put on the equipment and it is connected to the mains. When turned on, the red light will turn on. When it goes out, this will indicate that the device has reached the desired temperature;
- The parts to be joined are heated. A pipe is attached to one side of the nozzle, and fittings to the other. Warming up takes about 6 seconds. The pipeline will begin to melt and it is at this moment that the connection is made. It takes less than a minute for polypropylene to cool down. During operation, it is better not to touch the pipe joint, otherwise all work may be spoiled.
After soldering, the workpieces are used for their intended purpose. For better welding, it is recommended to place pipes in a horizontal plane. The work can be easily done alone, without helpers.
Advantages of a homemade soldering iron
The base of such a device will be a hand-held heater. An amateur model is easily assembled by a person who is familiar with electrical wiring and has basic locksmith skills. DIY fans can assemble a homemade soldering iron and its key advantage is affordability. The downside here will be insufficiently high-quality soldering, suitable only for an amateur level.
A homemade device is assembled from:
- heating element. An ordinary electric iron will do, or rather its sole;
- Necessary nozzles;
- Nickel-plated bolt nuts (needed to fix the nozzles);
- Digital multimeter with external thermometer;
- Clamps or other fasteners.
TOP‑5 models of soldering irons for plastic pipes
Dremel Versatip 2000–6
This model is the leader of the rating, and it is capable of: melting, cutting, burning, soldering and even removing paint. Due to its functionality, it is popular among both amateurs and professionals. The device uses liquid gas (butane) to operate. For convenience of work the necessary temperature mode is selected. Heats up quickly, within seconds, and cuts and melts plastic just as fast.
Gerat Weld 75–100 69110
Manual equipment for connecting plastic pipes with two elements. One heating element included in the kit is a backup. The tool has a power of 1.6 kW. The set includes a thermostat and a set of optimal nozzles. All equipment is placed in a convenient metal case. This is a reliable, functional and powerful model. Among the minuses is the relatively high cost.
BRIMA TG-171 0010291
Relatively inexpensive and high-quality device with a power of 750 watts. It is easy to use and the technical characteristics of the TG-171 are not inferior to more expensive models. Due to the rapid warm-up, pipe bonding can be realized quickly. Temperature controller included as standard. Advantages: equipped with 6 double-sided inserts, 2 indexing lights, easy to operate. Minus: not the most comfortable stand.
Affordable and powerful (2 kW) device, which is very popular in EU. Equipped with two heating modes and a temperature controller. The package includes 6 nozzles, stand, tape measure and scissors. High power allows you to use the soldering iron in windy weather. Advantages: functionality, accessibility, choice of nozzle.
SPEC PTP-1000 SPEC-3268
Inexpensive model equipped with a stand, nozzles, a screwdriver and a wrench for changing nozzles. The device has a power of 980 W, which is enough for almost all household tasks. Thanks to the temperature controller, it is convenient to use the device. It fits in a special case, although it cannot boast of its strength.
A soldering iron for plastic pipes is a necessary equipment that allows you to connect pipelines and heating systems. The article addressed the question: “which is better to choose a soldering iron”, taking into account all the technical features and parameters, because each model has its own nuances and functionality. Keep in mind that different tasks require different equipment.