One thing is certain, if you’re doing SMT, you’re doing rework. So having the right rework tools will save you tons of time, frustration and money. We try to aim for about 90% yield off the pick and place (or better) and repair the rest for a total aim of 95% or better. The first tool you’ll want to invest in is a really good soldering iron.
We originally were big fans of Weller irons and used them in school but when it came time to stock the Adafruit lab we decided to go with a Metcal MX-500 on the recommendation of a friend. It was a good recommendation! Metcals are really heavy, durable and heat up ultra fast.
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Yay! I’ve been waiting for this one – thanks!
Yes for Metcal!
A Metcal station is of those things that is both expensive and worth every penny. I don’t know anyone who owns one ever complaining — except for when they have to use another brand tool. I am lucky to have an MX-5000 and the ‘ultra fast’ thing is no joke — turn on the iron and it’s up to temp and ready to work in under 5 seconds. The pencil-grip tools are also unbelievably awesome — having your hands about 2″ from the working tip gives way more control than you have with most irons and that translates to faster and better work, particularly with SMT.
The only actual downside is that you need to buy different tips if you want to work at different temperatures, but honestly if you spend all your time fiddling with the temperature of your iron you are probably doing it to compensate for its poor performance in other areas. Still, sometimes you do need a higher heat tip for when you have to deal with a large ground plane or something. Even in those times though you just swap your tip, wait about 5 seconds and then you’re ready to go again. Crazy.
give a try the mini hook tip
whit tacky flux it permit drag soldering technique
i solder TQFP 100 in less that 12 second whit no pain