One Handed Manual Solder Feeder

A contraption to help feed solder efficiently single handed.

Similar projects worth following
I've been soldering a lot of 1x20 pin headers recently and was looking for a way to be a bit more efficient. I could finish 2 or 3 joints before having to pause and reposition the solder in my hand to replace what was consumed. Normally I was using my other hand to pull more solder into position. Some internet searching didn't reveal any secret techniques to feed solder one handed. I tried some of the one handed techniques for feeding TIG welding filler metal. I couldn't find any that worked for me with fine / flimsy solder.

After a few iterations, here was my design for a manual one handed solder feeding assistive device.  A 3d printed hollow tube forms the base and with a wire ferrule connection at the end for a metal blunt tip near the soldering iron.  The body has a cut away area to expose the solder allowing it to be pushed forward by just the thumb and two contours to all holding it like a pencil.  Original design used a leur-lock syringe tip but solder would snag up.  The wire ferrule terminal may need a bit of super glue to keep it secured in place but provides snag free feeding.

Original design used rounded funnel on the free end to feed the solder.  Upgraded design now has integral spool holder with a mini bobbin.  For the original funnel design, regular benchtop solder spool holder can be used.  By holding the solder secure in the tube with thumb while pulling the whole contraption more solder can be unwound from the spool.  Rounded funnel design prevents kinks in the solder from causing snags while feeding.  My test prints were printed in PLA+ oriented vertically on print bed, works well but the fit and finish not real smooth.  Printed more with SLA resin; nicer feel but the cut away section has more flex than the FDM print.

With the original design, there was still a tether to the main spool on the desk.  This results in the occasional snag on some other part or getting tangled with another cord.  The integral spool holder took a few iterations but dispenses the solder smoothly using a M3 screw as a shaft.  Nothing special for the screw and allows for some spare bobbins to be stocked.  A few different STL options are provided to accommodate printing the spool design on FDM or with SLA.  This eliminates the tether and still provides a robust design without any motors, buttons, or batteries to complicate the operation or build.

The design was modeled with Fusion 360.  STL files, exported fusion 360 models, and .STEP files are available on Printables.  ( to build your own.  It is released with a creative commons attribution license.

MPEG-4 Video - 2.20 MB - 08/02/2022 at 01:34


  • 1 × 22 AWG wire ferrule

  • Integral spool testing

    mulcmu07/28/2023 at 23:46 0 comments

    Finally got some usable resin parts printed and cured for testing.  Works very nicely.  There is a bit of a trade off on size and weight of spool and balance in your hand while using it.  The spool could be mounted a bit closer to the ferrule or maybe a bit smaller in size to not be as heavy (at cost of more frequent refills).  

  • SLA Spool Print

    mulcmu07/23/2023 at 22:45 0 comments

    The first test print of the spool with resin didn't turn out so well.  Lost a lot of the supports on the feeder, the lid failed completely.  After chasing the threads with a die the feeder fit nicely with the spool holder.  The  spool holder still had the center hole sized for heat set insert.  I tried to install one with extra heat but ended up splitting the mounting location.  

    Last time I used this resin was winter and space heaters were used to keep printer warm.  Side project started to add a heater to the resin printer. 

    The spools turned out nicely.  

  • Spool Rev 2

    mulcmu07/19/2023 at 16:43 0 comments

    Spool and holder was redesigned.  M3 screw is used a s shaft for the spool to rotate about and keep the cap on the spool holder.  Printed test part from PLA, spool in two pieces and glued together.  Spool has 3mm hex for winding solder with a drill.  Spool spins freely on the M3 screw.  Superglue test fit works nicely.  Going to update design to make feeder and spool holder from single resin print, might as well print the rest from resin then too.

  • Spool design

    mulcmu07/15/2023 at 23:31 0 comments

    Resin version of the solder feeder finished printing.  Looks nice.  

    Whipped up a design for an integrated solder spool.  It has a threaded section to mount onto the solder feeder.  One side of the spool is secured with a screw after installing in the mount.  4mm hex allowed spinning the spool with a drill to load solder onto the spool.  Printed out the spool in PLA+ for testing and super glued it in place.  It turns pretty freely by hand, however feeding the solder off the spool was too difficult.  The whole outer edges of the spool rub along the mount.  Might work better with a cleaner print.  I was trying to keep design simple but might need a bearing or at least a smooth metal shaft to make it work.

View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



paulvdh wrote 07/20/2023 at 18:03 point

My personal method is to spool solder wire on empty solder litze spools.

It's not as sophisticated as this, but it's been adequate for 20+ years.

  Are you sure? yes | no

gdshfkgjh wrote 08/02/2022 at 05:04 point

As you retract the solder from the joint, slide your hand up the solder slightly and re-grip it. 

Your fingers have variable grip strength, so you can move the solder away while also allowing it to slip through your fingers slightly.

No need for pauses to feed solder. Worked for years on an electronics production line doing this. It's all about technique, and comes with practice.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eag_elwing wrote 08/02/2022 at 04:16 point

good project.

That said, for me it's just easier to have multiple solder gauge and use a larger one for through hole components... you don't loose the "agility" you can have holding directly the solder and you can solder whole rows at once or just pulling more solder once.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mulcmu wrote 08/07/2022 at 19:10 point

I do have another spool of thicker solder, I should get another spool holder so they are both readily accessible... 

This project is an example of a bad case of `3D printing syndrome` (mental condition where all problems must be solved using a 3D printed plastic widget when other non-3D printed solutions are more practical).

The contraption maintains a surprising amount of "agility".  I think in part that 3 fingers are involved in control and that the free unsupported length of solder can be much smaller, closer to the tip. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates