Hi, we’re a team of engineering undergrads hoping to redesign the soldering iron. Specifically, we’re looking at making it safer and more usable by younger teens and children.
We’re looking for any feedback or advice you might have, especially if you have kids, so if you can spare a few minutes to fill out our survey, that’d be awesome. Or if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and input!
If you're still working this out: the metal that's exposed out toward the tip is likely for thermal mass. A lightweight solder iron with little metal out there can heat up very quickly but then when you're soldering a heavier component, it loses heat so quickly that it doesn't solder well. However, from a safety aspect and also from the point of view of energy effiiciency, I guess there are reasons to consider wrapping that metal--either closely or with some air gap--with an insulator like a silica-based product. It's still going to get heat, would add weight, and add bulk that might make it harder to get into close quarters to solder--but all design decisions are a compromise, aren't they? Obviously the tip has to be metal. And consider that the new ROHS-compliant solders, and gold, and other materials as well, are harder on iron cladding materials than the old lead/tin solders. It might be nice to pick out a good cladding material.