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May 1, 2014 AT 2:00 pm

3D Shoptalk: Inexpensive Reworking Station Does Double Duty For Controlled 3DP Hot Air Touch-Ups – WEP AT858D #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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WEP AT858D (110V) Hot Air Reworking Soldering Station.

[Also available elsewhere as Atten 858D+ (220V) and Saike 858D+ (110V/220V)]

To suit our contemporary technology-forward, embedded lifestyle, electronics prototyping at every scale is popping up everywhere across the planet. Design tools such as CadSoft’s EAGLE empowers hobbyist to create PCB designs to manufacture, and there is now a competitive market for short-run reworking facilities when the boards come back with that leetle voltage regulator problem. As a result, there is a bigger demand for affordable versions of highly specialized tools designed for electronics manufacture — including hot air reworking stations, the pricier parent to the heat guns many of us have already in our maker gear.

Inspired by Dave Jones’ EEVblog #167 review of the Atten 858D — I picked up a $70 110V version, the WEP AT858D (there is also the Saike 858D+). While it is not as fancy or “pro” as the Hakko 851 we use at Adafruit, it suits my modest electronics needs at 1/10th the cost.

After tossing on the pencil-rework tip, I discovered that in addition to helping with simple SMD and removing components, this tool is incredibly handy for 3D printing tasks. In fact, it is more useful for 3D printed projects than it is, necessarily, for delicate rework. Hitting a printed part (particularly one with sparse infill) with the blast from a heat gun leads to creaking structural damage and cracking, but picking a low temperature and using focused, low-volume heat I’m able to anneal parts I want to flex, bend, and reform — and I can soften scraps of filament into rivet hardware and hinges.

Those looking to stain and finish their printed parts can take a page from Martha Stewart Crafts to apply embossing powders and pigments to incredible effect.

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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!


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1 Comment

  1. I’ve also used my hot air rework station to rework hot-glue. The temperature and flow rate control, as well as different nozzle sizes, make it ideal for this!

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