F#%* me soldering is hard work! Spent almost all evening soldering 5 resistors and it still looks shit! (1st Eurorack DIY kit)
Heat the component legs and apply the solder after that, noob mistake is thinking that you are supposed to just heat the tin:) Get one of the stands where you can clip the board in different angles for easier working. Oh and a tin vacuum is a must!
A decent soldering iron, solder, cutters, helping hands, desolder pump, and proper work area are all things that help a successful build, watch youtube soldering tutorials, learn to troubleshoot, start small and have patience Good luck, it is a great feeling when a project that you built works.
Ah yeah cutters are must too. Im not super experienced builder, but have done bit smaller projects with arduino, midified couple things and biggest build Ive done was the LXR Drum Machine. Super fun stuff and very rewarding. Thinking of ordering couple guitar pedals to build next!
I had watched a few videos and had taken some things in (i.e. heating the component), but I guess it will just get easier through practice. A proper work area too would make things much easier, little blobs of lead on the kitchen table is not good for the family... :S
Soldering is really fun and certainly addictive.
All the advices you got here are really useful, but I’ll add to it.
Try to get a digital workstation to solder - I usually set it to 300 Cº and forget about it. It stays there for the whole session and it’s a breeze to work with.
Desoldering pump is useful, but there’s also desoldering braid. Try to get both so you can try them and see which one suits you most. After desoldering a couple of times and just maintaining calm I can now use the braid really well.
Sn60PB40 solder was once recommend to me to start and I still use it until this day. It has integrated flux which makes the solder flow through the holes like a charm and it looks perfect. What happens is that after you finish you will see a little yellow flux around your joints but it does no harm to your pcb. You can either clean it (check some guides) or just leave it (as I do).
Finally, I recommend you practice the simplest way to make the solder flow through the hole and make a perfect “lump” on both sides. Don’t use the tip of your iron, instead, lay it slightly on it’s side so you have more surface in contact with the pad. It’s really important that you heat not only the leg of the component but also the pad that it will make the connection(Try not to touch the pcb tho). By laying it on it’s side you increase the contact area and touch it at the same time both to the pad and the leg. After 1-2 seconds of this contact you can begin to apply the solder directly on the middle of the pad and leg and see it melt, then just take the iron out and see how it looks.
If it’s not perfect you can simply place the iron on the pad/leg again and the solder melts again and re-flows. Try to learn about cold joints.
Make sure you get solder that actually has lead in it.