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Show us your Soldering Station/Area - Page 2

post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenAdamson View Post

Slightly off-topic, but I'm looking for a cheap soldering iron (<£25) that would be good for getting me started with basic DIY audio. Of course, lower wattage ones will be cooler and therefore easier to work with for small PCBs etc, but are there any downsides to something like this? I wouldn't be doing much more than PCB/veroboard work, and a small tip might be a nice feature. What is the best tip shape for this stuff?

 

The best tip shape is a chisel point that fits the parts you're working with. The narrow conical points are, IME, mostly worthless. They lack sufficient thermal mass to transfer heat effectively, and force you to stay on a solder joint far too long. (The only exception I've found is with Metcal irons, but they are extremely expensive and operate on a different principle than regular irons.) The Hakko 936 (or clone thereof) is a good basic iron, although more than your budget allows.

 

The one GoldiLocks linked to looks like an adequate iron, you really want to be able to vary the tip temp, as well as have the option of different sized tips.
 

 

post #17 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by beerguy0 View Post

 

The best tip shape is a chisel point that fits the parts you're working with. The narrow conical points are, IME, mostly worthless. They lack sufficient thermal mass to transfer heat effectively, and force you to stay on a solder joint far too long. (The only exception I've found is with Metcal irons, but they are extremely expensive and operate on a different principle than regular irons.) The Hakko 936 (or clone thereof) is a good basic iron, although more than your budget allows.

 

The one GoldiLocks linked to looks like an adequate iron, you really want to be able to vary the tip temp, as well as have the option of different sized tips.
 

 


Hmm yes, looks like I will be wanting a small chisel tip, and around 25W, like this Antex XS25 - it has a 2mm tip, would this be suitable for surface mount as well as through-hole PCBs?

 

post #18 of 78

I never use a chisel tip. I do a lot of SMT, I like a slow taper and a fine point. I work in a warm environment. I use a cheap Maplin iron with adjustable power. I rarely adjust the setting. I've used all kinds at work, Metcal, Hakko, Weller, noname. I prefer to have plenty of heat available and depend on my skill and speed. My dad liked a chisel tip, but he did a lot of turret boards.

 

In days gone by we used to use a pair of long-nosed pliers as a heatsink on sensitive components, but soldering-heat induced failures are very rare now unless you're using a blowtorch.

 

I prefer to use a toaster oven where possible.

 

I taught a lot of people to solder to industrial standard..Soldering irons are like guns. People like to make a big issue over them, but when it comes right down to it, what's really important is the nut behind the butt.

 

w

 

Oh, a paint-stripper heat gun is useful for desoldering.


Edited by wakibaki - 4/13/12 at 7:37pm
post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenAdamson View Post


Hmm yes, looks like I will be wanting a small chisel tip, and around 25W, like this Antex XS25 - it has a 2mm tip, would this be suitable for surface mount as well as through-hole PCBs?

 

2mm is good for general thru-hole use, and maybe 1206 SMT. 1.2 or .8mm is a better choice for SMT. (0805/0603, SOIC packages or similar.)
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

I never use a chisel tip. I do a lot of SMT, I like a slow taper and a fine point. I work in a warm environment. I use a cheap Maplin iron with adjustable power. I rarely adjust the setting. I've used all kinds at work, Metcal, Hakko, Weller, noname. I prefer to have plenty of heat available and depend on my skill and speed. My dad liked a chisel tip, but he did a lot of turret boards.

 

In days gone by we used to use a pair of long-nosed pliers as a heatsink on sensitive components, but soldering-heat induced failures are very rare now unless you're using a blowtorch.

 

I prefer to use a toaster oven where possible.

 

I taught a lot of people to solder to industrial standard..Soldering irons are like guns. People like to make a big issue over them, but when it comes right down to it, what's really important is the nut behind the butt.

 

w

 

Oh, a paint-stripper heat gun is useful for desoldering.

 

To each his own, I guess. I've never had much luck using a Hakko iron with the pointy needle tips. The conicals aren't bad, but I definitely like the small chisel tips the best. A lot depends on what you work on - I tend to do a lot of RF and power supply stuff, typically with 2 oz copper, multi-layer PWBs.

 

I became a Metcal convert some years back while working on a large switching power supply project. Heavy ground planes, .90" thick multi-layer PWB with 2 oz copper, and no thermal relief on ground pads. The Hakko didn't have a chance. I got a Metcal iron, and have never looked back. Metcal is all we use at work now, partly due to calibration issues and ISO 9000 compliance. (Metcal irons require no calibration - the tip sets the temperature. Hakko irons have to be calibrated every six months, and that is a giant PITA.)
 

 

post #20 of 78

I first noticed the problem with the Metcal irons at Racal, when they gave us them for compliance. They were fine in the lab prototyping new equipment or for new build on the shop floor, but when you got an old military radio in for rework sometimes you could be pushing the iron against a joint for ever and the solder just wouldn't melt. I'm not constrained by ISO9000 at homedevil_face.gif.

 

w

post #21 of 78

Hi all, I've been using my Hakko 926 station and 900 Iron since the beginning of this hobby.

I rarely solder surface mount packages and PCBs simply because its hard to make PCBs, I don't particularly enjoy the process of exposing and etching PCBs.
Im guessing most of you probably send your designs to a PCB manufacturer?

Anyway here's some pics of my Soldering station, Workbench, Old Workbench (that I no longer use since my mom won't let me solder in my room anymore) and some of the components that are pilling up on the floor...

Solder station Workbench 

Old workbench IMG_5768.JPG

 

Bet you can tell where I buy my components...

post #22 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by b1o2r3i4s5 View Post

I rarely solder surface mount packages and PCBs simply because its hard to make PCBs, I don't particularly enjoy the process of exposing and etching PCBs.

Im guessing most of you probably send your designs to a PCB manufacturer?

 

Not to stray too far off the topic of soldering stations, but this is a question I have as well.  I've been looking at some designs that I can't find boards for and have been considering making my own.  Perfboard works but isn't my favorite.  What do you guys do for your boards?

 

b1o2r3i4s5 that looks like a happening workstation.  I get the feeling if anyone ever touched your stuff (tidied up) you'd lose everything. Same here beerchug.gif

post #23 of 78

See the threads here and here
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldiLocks View Post

 

Not to stray too far off the topic of soldering stations, but this is a question I have as well.  I've been looking at some designs that I can't find boards for and have been considering making my own.  Perfboard works but isn't my favorite.  What do you guys do for your boards?

 

b1o2r3i4s5 that looks like a happening workstation.  I get the feeling if anyone ever touched your stuff (tidied up) you'd lose everything. Same here beerchug.gif



 

post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldiLocks View Post

b1o2r3i4s5 that looks like a happening workstation.  I get the feeling if anyone ever touched your stuff (tidied up) you'd lose everything. Same here beerchug.gif

Maybe that's why I can never find my stuff... lol

 

Made a few PCBs before, find the process tedious and no solder mask or silkscreen layers.

Anyone here home-made double layer PCBs? I'm quite curious as to how you'd expose the board.

post #25 of 78

I've done double sided boards.

 

You just expose one layer at a time.

I mark my stencil with top and bottom.

I place a black mark at one corner of the board.

I peel off one protective plastic and expose that side.

I flip the board over, peel that plastic off and expose

that side. Then in the developer it goes...

I'm out of supplies right now and not doing any boards.

If I do another one, I will post some pictures.

 

Here is another thread.

post #26 of 78

Thanks for that Avro_Arrow.  I hadn't seen that particular method before.  Yours makes a lot of sense.  Having never done it before it seems a little daunting but I want to try it out.  I'll have to do one in a few weeks and post how it went.

post #27 of 78

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldiLocks View Post

Thanks for that Avro_Arrow.  I hadn't seen that particular method before.  Yours makes a lot of sense.  Having never done it before it seems a little daunting but I want to try it out.  I'll have to do one in a few weeks and post how it went.



 

post #28 of 78

I use the same cheap RadioShack station as the OP. I bought it years ago, way before RadioShack was bought by Circuit City here in Canada.

 

By desk, showing my soldering station.

 

It went trough hell and back. I'm just waiting for it to die to buy a professional one, but the little bugger just won't die! At 25$, it last me longer than more expensive ones I bought before this one.

 

I see you guys talking about the sizes of bit tips. I find this interesting considering the experience I have with all sort of tips. The original cut just doesn't last, the tip slowly gets eaten away and leaves a bowl in place of the point. So as time goes on, I have to turn the gun left and right to find the best corner of the bowl to solder small tabs. I asked once about this in an electronic IRC channel and I was told that it was because I didn't wash the tip when I was done. So I tried different type of ways to wash the tip but without success. The tips get eaten away anyways. Is this something normal, something all soldering irons suffer from? Do you guys have this problem too?

post #29 of 78

You get that problem with copper core tips.

I use Iron tips and have never had to replace one.

post #30 of 78

Thanks for the information. I never took notice of the metal the tips I bought were made of. I'll try to get an iron tip next time I go to my local electronic shop.

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