Soldering poses a few different dangers. (You might use solder to attach various pieces of your electronics project, such as soldering wires onto a speaker, microphone, or switch.) The soldering iron itself gets mighty hot.

The solder (the material you heat with the iron) gets hot. Occasionally, you even get an air pocket or impurity in solder that can pop as you heat it, splattering a little solder toward your face or onto your arm.

To top that off, hot solder produces some nasty fumes. Soldering itself takes experience to get right. Your best bet is to have somebody who is good at it teach you.

Here are some soldering safety guidelines you should always follow:

1. Always wear safety glasses when soldering.

2. Never solder a live circuit (one that is energized). Soldering irons come in models that use different wattages. Use the right size soldering iron for your projects; too much heat could ruin your board or components.

3. Solder in a well-ventilated space to prevent the mildly caustic and toxic fumes from building up and causing eye or throat irritation.

4. Always put your soldering iron back in its stand when not in use. Too, be sure that the stand is weighted enough or attached to your worktable so that it doesn’t topple over if you should brush against the cord.

5. NEVER place a hot soldering iron on your work surface. You could start a fire.

6. Give any soldered surface a minute or two to cool down before you touch it.

7. Never, ever try to catch a hot soldering iron if you drop it. No matter how hard you try, you are very likely to grab the hot end in a freefall. Let it fall; buy a new one if you have to — just don’t grab!

8. Never leave flammable items (like paper) near your soldering iron.

9. Be sure to unplug your soldering iron when you’re not around.

Don’t put your face too close to the soldering site because of the danger of stray hot solder and those horrible fumes.

Instead, use a magnifying device to see when soldering teeny-tiny components to a board.

You can buy clampon magnifiers that keep your hands free for soldering.

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