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Budget Workbench Necessites

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Hey all,


Been doing abit of electronics over the years and here is alittle image of my workbench (not my design bench w/ all my computers) and what I've found to be necessities for it. On my workbench I do construction & debug, my sepperate design bench is well... for designing.


Would be interested in what you guys highly recommend as well. For hobbyists that is... no 100k Agilent terahertz bandwidth probes  plz =P Sub 1k rage



Clearer text:



Links to some recommended equipment:

Oscilloscope:  http://www.tequipment.net/RigolDS1052E.html?Source=Google&gclid=CLz2mbzImbkCFZE7MgodZTIAEg

Solder Station: http://sra-solder.com/product.php/6363/0?gclid=CISrxpy9mbkCFctAMgoddl8AJQ
Bench Kit: http://www.menards.com/main/see-more/shelving-visualizer/garage-basement/6-metal-workbench/p-1469456-c-9442.htm

Flux Remover: http://sra-solder.com/product.php/6684/98/plastic_safe_flux_remover

Tweezers: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/18072-ER/243-1100-ND/1953903

Part Organizer: http://www.sears.com/homak-mfg-co-inc-parts-organizer/p-SPM6178761201P?PDP_REDIRECT=false

Solder General 60/40 pb: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062715

Flux : http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049774

Edge Cutters http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/170M/170M-ND/278946

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I can see this topic getting fuzzy because there is a lot of work activities between concept to shipping.


Also, the definition of a hobby workbench is somewhat subjective  ;-)


Here are the benches in my workspace:

  1. Computer Workstation
  2. Engineering Bench
  3. Assembly/Technician Bench
  4. Testing Bench
  5. Shipping Bench

I have specific tools on each one so my lists would be extreme.


In no particular order, here are some links to tools that I use:

  1. Tweezers 1: WeiTus Stainless Steel Precision Right-Angled Tweezers
  2. Tweezers 2: WeiTus Stainless Steel Precision Angled Tweezers
  3. Logic Analyzer: Saleae Logic
  4. Soldering Iron: Metcal MX-500 (I got mine for $60)
  5. Solder Roll Holder: Weller SM1 Solder-Mate
  6. Desoldering Station: Metcal SP-440
  7. Handheld DVM: Fluke 87-V (This guy only sells Fluke meters)
  8. Benchtop DVM: Fluke 45 (His stock flows like a river - check often)
  9. Toolbox: Mastercraft 4-Drawer Chest
  10. Used Computer Hardware: CalgaryComputerWholesale eBayer (You can get stuff freaking cheap from these guys but you have to be a shrewed buyer. Don't buy busted stuff.)
  11. Storage Bins: Ikea Samla Boxes (I have at least 100 of these stackable boxes up on wall shelves. Nice and tidy!)
  12. Industrial Label Printer: Zebra SL105
  13. Benchtop Label Printer: Zebra TLP-2844 (They appear on ebay regularly!)

A microscope would be an excellent addition to the list. Ebay has tons of usb microscopes.

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Get a binocular microscope with a ring-lamp if you have plans to do any sort of fine-pitch soldering work, or simply any sort of fine manipulation.  The models from AmScope are cheap and not-terrible -- certainly good enough.  Also, I'm not crazy about the logic analyzer from Saelae, but it is cheap and good enough for certain things.  I like having higher speed and more memory buffer, though.  For doing SPI debugging, it has been necessary for me.

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I've nothing to add, but it looks like I need to drop another $1000 on my bench.


It's a cheap corner desk from WalMart with two monitors, center and left, and a laptop I rarely use in the cubby to the right.

Tower PC is under the left side and the right side has the subwoofer. The speakers are mounted left, behind a monitor, and right, behind the laptop.

Soldering iron is a 'cheap' Radio Shack unit and desoldering is a suction "bulb".


Breadboard jumpers are stuffed behind the monitor in the center, and behind a bag of tortilla chips.


Voltmeter is out in the truck, which needs a transmission rebuild.


What's a "reflow oven"? Does it work well with quesadillas?



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BRILLIANT!  We need a "Cheese Profile" for the optimal quesadillas and nachos!


That might be a worthy hack for one of these (or anything much like it).

KRUPS FBC4 Convection Toaster Oven, 1600-watt, Stainless Steel


I bring up this model because I've had one for years, it is great, and I know that it has digital control.  I might try hacking it over the weekend, now that I brought it up.

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What would you guys think of this for a tinkerer's bench?  I've been trying to justify one to myself for a while.


NEW!! Updated Aoyue 968A+ SMD Digital Hot Air Rework Station, 4 in 1 station has Hot Air, a 70 Watt Soldering Iron, vacuum pickup tool and a built in smoke absorber - 500 Watt Heater - 5 nozzles - 10 Soldering Iron Tips- Spare Heating Elements

Edited by bluehash
Aff no. added. Thanks Doc.
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I bought the Aoyue stand-alone hot-air station (852A++) about two years ago.  If you are really short on cash, you can get the 968 kit, but having a good alloy for your soldering iron is really helpful.  I wouldn't expect Aoyue is using nice alloy, but maybe.


I have a ~$120 Weller with digital temperature.  The replacement tips are cheap, and the heat is great.  Together with my binocular microscope I use it successfully for work on 0402 components and even some repair work on 0.5mm pitch LQFPs.


In any case, there is some ODM (probably Chinese) that produces almost all of the low-cost soldering/rework kit.  So, there isn't really a lot of choice unless you want to spend a lot more.  Fortunately, I would say their product is perfectly adequate for hobbyist use.  I also just noticed this product on amazon.com, which is a little bit different.  It might be worth a try.  It does look pretty cool.



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With pretty much all products in general, the massive all in one kits are usually somewhat gimmicks. I'm not a fan of the tip replacement methods on that solder station and i'd recommend buying dedicated solutions.


I'm a huge fan of the Aoyue 2900 because it has fully replicable tips. Integrated into the tips is the heating element and temperature sensor. Keeps iron maintenance extremely easy and allows for fast tip swapping. This is more or less a replica of how the 1000+ USD solder stations work.  



Then for hot air i'd recommend something like this:


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