INSERT BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF WORKSPACE (Take a picture of a beautiful workspace, with all the tools and equipment nicely laid out.)
Solder will splash in ways you never thought possible! Protect yourself!
Soldering Iron Stand¶
These are the tools that you aren't going to need until you need them, and when you do, you're really going to get your use out of them.
Removing a soldered component is much harder than soldering it in the first place, because, well, let's face it: you're melting two pieces of metal together, then trying to undo that. That's a tall order. So see what's there, and hope you don't have to use these!
Flux is awesome because it helps the solder stick to the board. Unfortunately, in the process, it leaves a thick nasty residue behind that gets all over your board and eats away at it after awhile. So you want to clean this stuff up as much as is possible.
Normally, you'd dip the entire board in a cleaning solution when the assembly is finished, but that would require lots and lots of solution and is just not that practical. So we're going to clean boards the low-tech way: with paper towels and a little rubbing alcohol!
Don't sniff the rubbing alcohol!
The fumes coming off this thing are surprisingly strong, especially since we'll end up using a significant amount of it. Make sure to keep your nose clear and only use in a well-ventilated area.
This is flammable!
Keep this AWAY from the soldering iron and sources of heat or bad things will happen!
This fairly obvious item will be used in the application of the rubbing alcohol to the board. Other than that, there's nothing too exciting about it.
You're going to need a good bristly brush to scrap the cooked-on flux residue off the board, but you want one that will hold up to this kind of abuse.
A regular toothbrush actually works just fine for this purpose.
This is your first line of defense. You use a wet sponge to wipe soot and extra solder off your iron, making it easier to work. You're going to be good friends with this one, and especially like the sizzling sound it makes when you press the iron to it. Everybody loves that.
If wiping the iron on the sponge isn't getting it clean, the next step is to use a real tip tinner. This fascinating substance takes a very aggressive clean on your iron, tinning it almost immediately by dabbing the tip into the container.
If nothing at all else gets your iron tip clean, here is your last resort: a good manual cleaning. Rub the tip with a fine-grain sanding sponge and watch the oxidation and black stuff come right off.
In many cases, the components won't stay on the board while assembling without a little extra help. That's where your friend tape comes in. Tape will hold it flat while soldering and electrical tape will come off cleanly when you're done.
You'll be cutting a lot of wires, so you'll need wire cutters.
The best thing you can get are flush cutters; they have a flat edge so they can cut relatively flat against the board. However, these are a specialty item and hard to find, so you can use any kind of wire cutter you can find, or if nothing else, even scissors will do the job.
Yes, you heard right. Regular scissors. You're going to need these to cut the resistors free from their tape, and probably also to cut the electrical tape. These are used sparingly.
This is one of those goodies that's nice to have but not strictly necessary. Use it when you have a particularly stubborn joint that just can't heat up. Flux will burn any dirt and grease right off the surface so that it'll be much easier that melt the solder to the pad.
Have a particularly stubborn IC that you're worried about messing up when trying to remove it? If you have one of these lying around, it's no problem. This is the easiest way to remove an appropriately sized transistor; however, they're not found very often in stores and it's probably better to learn to live without having one.