Author Topic: Can you see anything missing from this "Soldering Bench Equipment List"  (Read 665 times)

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Offline Geoff

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Can you see anything missed, or could be improved on, in this list of equipment for a Soldering Bench?


This is what I use. And I was asked to recommend a list of what is need for a soldering bench.

Do you have some tool that is the "best thing since sliced bread" that should be add to this list? eg I find that an old "Dental Pick" is great for removing flux as well as poking and prodding.   
 

This is my ideal list of what is needed:

Soldering Iron (best pick is Set 4):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32820505482.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dXSz7So

Soldering Iron Tips (D08, D12, DL32, D52, and JL02 for fine work) :
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32782660441.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dHxznGQ

Solder (0.8mm and 0.3mm):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000928327866.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dvzfKwY

Flux paste and/or Flux Pen:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32788246494.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dvzfKwY

Soldering Iron Tip Refresher:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32957589000.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dHxznGQ

Solder wick (width 0.8mm and 2.0mm):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000036044708.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d1B5zen

Tweezers:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32856906652.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dvzfKwY

Side cutters and Pliers:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32654514434.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dn3lTVX

Hex Shank Drill Chuck (to hold drill bits 0.3-8 mm):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000613736633.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dXwyaTR

Isopropyl alcohol:
https://www.bunnings.com.au/diggers-125ml-isopropyl-cleaning-alcohol_p1564443

ESD safe Brush:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33037937444.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dvzfKwY

Stainless Steel Dental Pick:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32924846550.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.4238aac1UMfD77&algo_pvid=4c601d93-8909-44cc-8702-ce41925b7d24&algo_expid=4c601d93-8909-44cc-8702-ce41925b7d24-0&btsid=0b0a555716170771359748502e684e&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

PCB Stand or Third Hand:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001823949372.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dEXDEzK

Smoke Absorber or Fan:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32921948569.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.325434c5iaocRT&algo_pvid=2e1de5ec-c057-43d7-9825-bb49ab1a47c3&algo_expid=2e1de5ec-c057-43d7-9825-bb49ab1a47c3-0&btsid=0b0a556516170768841513863eaee4&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

Repair Mat ESD and Heat Insulated:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001627043275.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d1B5zen

Heat Shrink Tubing:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32904731577.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d4VYAMV

Tape Heat Resistant Insulation:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33039487756.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d5cUq6N

Heatsink Thermal Paste:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32745896271.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d2LLlsr

UV Solder Resist PCB Curable Solder Mask:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32887820656.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dGK6jnG

Digital Soldering Iron Tip Thermometer:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32848981775.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dn3lTVX


What would you consider a must have piece of gear, that is missing from this list, for a soldering bench? 
 

Offline Electro Fan

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solder sucker / desoldering gun?
hot air gun?
magnifier / microscope?
 
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Offline RayRay

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The alcohol you've picked is not fit for purpose! You need a bottle of pure (99%+) alcohol with a cork, not a spraying nozzle.
For solder, I'd recommend this one (I typically use 0. 5/8):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000128472972.html
It's a very high quality solder, and 63/37 is better than 60/40 btw (no plastic phase, goes instantly from liquid to solid)
If you wanna try lead-free, this ones pretty good:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32824531083.html
You could use 0.6 for general purpose, and smaller diameters for SMDs.
For Flux, I highly recommend this one:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32394410435.html
You could easily apply it with either tweezers or wooden tooth picks, no need for syringes.
Also, I'd suggest you get a goot solder pump, as it's better then the average low quality ones:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32869114560.html
For wicks, I use these (2.5mm) and they work great:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32931554391.html
For cutters, I like these:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001736644112.html
And this PCB stand is amazing:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001126472525.html
Nothing wrong with a third hand (for smalker stuff, or connectors) but for actually holding decently sized boards, it's fantastic.
Never used a tip refresher, I don't see the point in getting one to be honest (just keep the tip's temperature in check, and don't leave the iron on execssively without need). Also, I'd highly recommend this lamp:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001593591937.html
You could just use it with a power bank (helps seeing what you're working on).
And as said above, there are also other things you should add to that list. Hot air station be useful (but if you're only getting started, it can wait I guess). Magnifier with LED lights is very useful, and a Microscope too (G1200 provides a pretty good cost/value ratio). Also, don't forget to get a stand for the iron (and better use a brass tip cleaner, not a sponge!)
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 01:07:56 pm by RayRay »
 
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Offline Smith

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solder sucker / desoldering gun?
hot air gun?
magnifier / microscope?

A quality solder sucker will come in handy. Specially for larger quantities of solder the regular solder wick will become costly. Also sucking out some PCB holes will go much faster. I really like the ones with a flexible tip at the end. DO still get the solder wick too, it really has its purpose. For example getting solder from between IC pins.

A desoldering gun / hot air gun seems like a nice thing to buy if you really like soldering and saved up some cash later. You will be better off buying some good gear now.

A magnifier of microscope will really come in handy. Your eyesight can be very good, but there will be shorted pins or something that you will not be able to see. Any average monocular microscope will do for finding shorts or checking traces / components. But if you want to work under the microscope just get a good stereo one. Anything too cheap will just be frustrating and annoying to work with.
Trying is the first step towards failure
 
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Offline Electro Fan

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solder sucker / desoldering gun?
hot air gun?
magnifier / microscope?

A quality solder sucker will come in handy. Specially for larger quantities of solder the regular solder wick will become costly. Also sucking out some PCB holes will go much faster. I really like the ones with a flexible tip at the end. DO still get the solder wick too, it really has its purpose. For example getting solder from between IC pins.

A desoldering gun / hot air gun seems like a nice thing to buy if you really like soldering and saved up some cash later. You will be better off buying some good gear now.

A magnifier of microscope will really come in handy. Your eyesight can be very good, but there will be shorted pins or something that you will not be able to see. Any average monocular microscope will do for finding shorts or checking traces / components. But if you want to work under the microscope just get a good stereo one. Anything too cheap will just be frustrating and annoying to work with.

+3 (that's me agreeing plus me voting twice) on the microscope :)

and while the desoldering gun is great for removing through hole components if the budget is tight I'd forgo the desoldering gun and apply the funds first to the microscope

I learned more about soldering in about 3-4 months with a microscope than in about 30-40 years without a microscope.  When you can clearly see what's happening it makes a huge difference in your ability to learn, adjust, and improve.

Having said that, if you are just doing through hole and you have good eyesight you might be able to bypass the microscope and apply the funds elsewhere, but if your eyesight is just so-so, or if you are going to be doing SMDs, or if you really want to dial-in your soldering (and desoldering) an optical microscope is great tool for moving up the learning curve.  If you are just getting started there's plenty to be done and learned without a microscope but if you are going to be doing a lot of soldering at some point the microscope should be on the list.
 
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Offline tooki

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The alcohol you've picked is not fit for purpose! You need a bottle of pure (99%+) alcohol with a cork, not a spraying nozzle.
That's ridiculous. It's >99% IPA according to the MSDS, so it's certainly fine. I often use spray IPA.

With that said, I don't use IPA for flux removal any more, since so many modern fluxes are not fully soluble in IPA, leaving white residue. Commercial flux removers aren't that expensive and do a better job with less work and less solvent used.
 
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Offline tooki

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Can you see anything missed, or could be improved on, in this list of equipment for a Soldering Bench?


This is what I use. And I was asked to recommend a list of what is need for a soldering bench.

Do you have some tool that is the "best thing since sliced bread" that should be add to this list? eg I find that an old "Dental Pick" is great for removing flux as well as poking and prodding.   
 
[…]


What would you consider a must have piece of gear, that is missing from this list, for a soldering bench? 

Skip AliExpress entirely for solder, the chances of getting garbage are just too high. Name-brand solder really isn't that expensive. (Even if you spend $50 on a half kilo reel, it'll last a long time, so the cost per project is still absolutely negligible.) Stick to a name brand solder like Kester, Multicore/Loctite/Stannol, Alpha Metals, AIM, MG Chemicals, SRA, Asahi, etc.

My primary solder diameter is 0.7-0.8mm, plus 0.5mm. I have thinner and thicker, but almost never use them. I use mostly 63/37 leaded at home, but at work we are lead-free and it's fine too, if it's a good brand.


If you take care of your tips by always keeping them well tinned, you don't need the tip refresher. "Taking care" means NEVER wiping away excess solder before returning it to the stand* — leave it on (or even add more!) as a protective layer, and wipe off and re-tin just before use. And re-tin generously during use. Tips are a lot more expensive than solder.  Also, the flux in tip refresher is rather aggressive and actually is meant to be cleaned off after rejuvenating the tip, at which point you're supposed to re-tin it with solder. IMHO it's just easier to just treat the tips well to begin with.

* Doing so cooks the tip, whereas a layer of solder becomes "sacrificial" — the solder oxidizes instead of the tip itself.
 
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Offline coppercone2

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you need alot of wick, its actually used for gold plated connectors, you are supposed to tin them, then suck all the solder off with wick, then solder to it, for proper joints.
 

Offline lescro

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Isopropyl Alcohol
https://www.sydneysolvents.com.au/isopropyl-alcohol-ipa-isopropanol-100-5-litre
As at April 17, 2021, .125 Litres (ie 1/8 Litre) of isopropyl alcohol from Bunnings costs $9.20.  For $10, Sydney Solvents supplies 1 Litre.  It's even more economical if you buy five Litres.  Five Litres of 100% isopropyl alcohol from Sydney Solvents costs $25.30. (All currency is AUD)
 

Online artag

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Wouldn't bother with the third hand thing. It's the metal ones I hate particularly but although that has more reach it doesn't look as though it fixes the worst features : crappy alligator clip ends, and a springiness to the arms  (I've used coolant pipes, which is what those are) that means it always srpings a little away from where you put them.

Get a decent small vice instead. Panavise are good but expensive. You might be able to find a clone. What you're looking for is a ball that moves freely and then clamps with a lever, not a tight joint that relies on friction to hold position and doesn't have a 'free' setting.
A machinists dial-gauge stand might work well, but I haven't tried (because i've got some panavises)

I'd ++ the lighted magnifier AND the microscope. Don't use a PC USB microscope, use one with direct video. The USB one will be laggy. If you have an infinite amount of money you could look at long-arm optical stereo microscopes and Mantis.

The one thing I haven't seen mentioned above are hot tweezers. When you want them, you really want them.


 


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