When soldering small electrical components to a board, tombstoning is always a potential issue. If one end of a component is secured before the other, the non-secured end is liable to pop up. Even a few seconds between when the first and second ends solder can result in tombstoning or drawbridging. When this happens time and again, creating a Manhattan skyline on a board, the culprit may be the materials used for soldering. At Kimco Distributors, we carry a full line of Kester products that might help with this problem.
Tombstoning is especially an issue with the smallest components, which are the parts that many of Kimco Distributors’ customers are working with. As the solder on one end dries, tension on the part builds. If the other end is not already held down with solder, the tiniest components do not have the mass or strength necessary to prevent tombstoning. This issue still arises with larger parts, but less frequently. Larger components usually can withstand uneven soldering more than small ones, because they are more rigid.
The fluxes, pastes and solders used directly impact the likelihood of tombstoning. These all affect the distribution of heat, and even a couple-second delay can have dramatic effects. Uneven distribution of thermal mass leads to the setting of one end’s solder before the other. As described above, this places tension on the other and is often the cause of tombstoning.
Because the fluxes, pastes and solders used directly affect tombstoning, changing the soldering materials used is the easiest way to solve this problem. At Kimco Distributing, we carry the best materials in the industry. Kester flux, Kester solder paste and Kester wire solder are all designed to minimize tombstoning. If it persists, even after trying different materials, we have loctite adhesives that can also be used to prevent tomstoning.