I run out of solder wick one night while i was repairing a power supply, i needed to clean some PCB traces so i improvised a solder wick, it’s not the that efficient or easy to use but it works and i got the job done.
How it works (solder wick) :
Solder wick is just braided copper wire coated with flux, when you heat it on top of the solder the flux and the solder melt, and then the solder wick acts as a sponge and absorb or soak up the solder (this effects known as Capillary action), the homemade solder wick has the same principle.
The making :
All you need to make your own solder wick is a piece of stranded copper wire or copper coaxial cable’s braid (actually the coaxial cable’s braid would work better) and a coat of flux, and it’s it.
I just cut a piece of a lamp wire i had lying around, and i stripped it, it was so old that it stripped easily.
I twisted the two wires to hold a straight shape and also to create the capillary action, for more efficiency i put a coat of flux on it, it’s gonna be hard to even melt the solder without it, the flux can also be add to the solder wick while desoldering.
If you ever used the solder wick (i’m not a big fun of it by the way, i prefer desoldering pump) you will now how easy it is to use it.
I found that you should trim the used part of the homemade solder wick, because it acts like a heat sink and makes it difficult to meld the solder.
This is the results, as you can see in the pictures it’s a clean desoldering job, not as clean as the off the shelf solder wick but it works!