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After purchasing a TC205 sponge and comparing it with the default sponge that came with my soldering station, I noticed that the TC205 sponge is very thin in comparison!

Is the thin sponge used for a different application? What are the slits on the sponges for?

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you try adding water to it? \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Mar 29, 2014 at 20:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know it's not funny to some, but I really can't help laughing a little. I'm old enough that when I was trained they didn't have these tightly compressed sponges. So my first mailed sponge caused me a moment's thought, too. But it only took a second's thought to figure it out. Anyway, to me this is a keeper just for the grins. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonk
    Mar 29, 2014 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ OMG haha!!!!!!!! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyxynyx
    Mar 29, 2014 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Question of the month :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Rev
    Apr 2, 2014 at 8:47

5 Answers 5

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The sponge comes thin as purchased because the cells have been flattened, but once it is wet the cells relax and the sponge will take its final form. There is no difference between thicknesses of sponge as all they are doing is abrading off the solder without damaging the tip. The grooves provide a larger abrasion surface without increasing the volume of the sponge.

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Brass wool works a lot better than sponges imo, and doesn't require water.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not an answer to the question but I agree totally. Hence +1 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2014 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking that as I typed it, but I decided it was relevant. \$\endgroup\$
    – markt
    Mar 29, 2014 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally prefer sponges much more then brass wool. To each their own. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2014 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried brass wool for the first time yesterday, and it sure works, BUT it spreads tiny droplets of solder all over the place! I might have had an excessive amount of solder on the iron, but still... \$\endgroup\$
    – sandos
    Mar 8, 2016 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sandos Don't wipe the iron. Just dip it into the wool and retract. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 11, 2019 at 4:17
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Try pouring water on it and watch the magic of science LOL.

Seriously it should just expand outwards every which way and look just like (or similar to) the one on the right.

Hey I could be wrong but one I did recently expanded beautifully.

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Others have already noted that you just need to add water to expand your new sponge. I wanted to address your second question about the slits. Line them up parallel with the iron when you put the sponge in its tray. Then when you drag the iron tip through the sponge to clean it, it can do a better job cleaning the sides of the tip. Some model sponges have the slits, others don't. I've never found it to make much difference either way.

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Brass wool is a correct accessories for cleaning soldering iron. Wet sponges should not be used due to worn out of soldering iron due to temperature difference between iron and wet sponge. Soldering iron will degrade faster while using wet sponges. So it is very clerar whether it is thick or thin, sponges should not be used.

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