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DIY’ers, what’s a good solder iron kit and helper?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Gutterguy, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. Jbnaxx

    Jbnaxx Tele-Meister

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    I have been using a 100/140 watt pistol type Weller. It gets hot almost instantly and it solders on the potentiometers effortlessly and quickly. I think it is actually easier on the parts because you don’t have to hold the heat on nearly as long.
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This stuff should get you started. You don't need to buy the stuff at StewMac because you can often find it cheaper elsewhere. I haven't found the soldering iron elsewhere. It has a button to push to boost the heat when needed. BTW, I prefer a chisel tip. I wouldn't bother with the helper unless you find you really need one.



    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...solomon-sr-137-turbo-heat-soldering-iron.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...ronics/soldering/solomon-soldering-stand.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...cs/soldering/stay-hot-solder-tip-cleaner.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...ers-and-cutters/fine-gauge-wire-stripper.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...ls-for-electronics/soldering/solder-wick.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...onics/soldering/kester-pocket-pak-solder.html
     
  3. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    5HWndo28OXCiRUVPgBmyPfLrpf7J3j9TE0AkUfZIZTU.jpeg
     
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  4. BassKulcha

    BassKulcha TDPRI Member

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    This. Don't waste your time with $35 Weller pen irons. I did, used it twice and realized it couldn't desolder things like chassis ground busses or anything tied to the chassis (I work on vintage tube hifi gear—). The ability to dial in the temp you want is itself worth the price of admission.

    I also ended up getting the Hakko FR 301 desoldering station, which has been a game changer—no more blazing hot resistors or fumbling with DIY "roach cliip" heat sinks. It's pricey, for sure, but if I'm working on a vintage amp or preamp from 1962, I definitely don't want to screw it up...

    A good tool is a good tool. You'll enjoy using it and it'll get the job done well. A cheap tool is, well, junk...

    I'd also get eutectic (63-37) solder, and also some solder braid for desoldering components from fragile areas like tube pins, and also for removing some of the inevitable gloppy soldering you'll do in the beginning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I opted for the Aoyue 9378 station from Amazon. I've had it eight years, no issues, and it sees quite a bit of use. Heats up from cold in about ten seconds.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BSW69LI/?tag=tdpri-20

    I paid $82 back in 2013, and I see that it's $100 now. Not sure how it compares pricewise these days, but at the time it was cheaper than Weller and Hakko, and in my view just as good.
     
  6. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    I bought one to keep at our main home. It actually works pretty well for light duty work such as what you describe. The one thing that frustrates me with it is the safety iron holder; it’s too light not to be knocked out of line and fall over when the hot iron is inserted or removed. Some modeling clay to fill the bottom is the cheap solution. Replacing it with a larger and better stand is the correct answer. EDIT: something like this, especially it you can secure it in a dedicated work space: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FP3P74Y/?tag=tdpri-20

    In our other place, I have a Weller WLC-100 soldering station. I also have owned a Weller 140 watt soldering gun for heavy duty work since 1973. Weller products have always worked for me. But I do very little fine, controlled-temperature work anymore. Most of my guitar maintenance/rebuilding work is done at our other place, where the frustration screams and cursing takes place without my Lady hearing it. Benign intentional tremor sucks. :mad:
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  7. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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  8. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been using the same Weller WTCPS soldering station since I bought it from Heathkit in the mid 1980's, it's built stereo equipment, guitar pedals and rewired a bunch of guitars. The system uses different kinds of tips with 700 and 800 degree ratings. For the back of guitar pots I use an 800 degree chisel tip, the rest of the wiring I use a 700 degree conical tip. Oh, and good solder, Kester 60/40, not that lead free junk. Happy modding!
     
  9. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    Thank you folks. I settled on a Weller 40w. My parts are almost all here. Hopefully I can get into the weekend. Thank you all for your input and time.
     
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  10. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    Thanks folks. Below is the finished product. Still needs some adjustments. Routing hole needs to be made larger in the cavity around the humbucker. One of the mounting screws from Seymour Duncan was not forged right and screwed up. No pun intended.
    It has TB-6/Qtr.pd. and a switchcraft 3 way and Yngwie/Seymour volume knob. It’s all mounted on a custom Warmoth pickguard.
     

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  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    I've used maybe a dozen different irons over the decades. Mostly expensive Weller digital temp-controlled soldering stations, but I also still have the first iron I ever bought, a $20 hardware store iron. I did all my early guitar work with the later, and it still works.

    When by last expensive Weller died, I was faced with buying a similarly expensive iron, or one of the new generation inexpensive irons I'd seen, like those in the kit above, ie often bundled with a lot of the little tools that are really needed to make soldering easy.

    Anyway I went for a $10 60watt Chinese iron with temp-control in the handle, and a selection of tips. Since I rarely do PCB work these days, the temperature is never adjusted. And I have to say I've been very impressed with my cheap iron. These days they're designed to feel just like an expensive Weller iron in the hand (much nicer feel than my old $20 iron).

    A few years ago I would have said don't skimp on soldering irons. Buy a name-brand soldering station. But I've proved myself wrong. Whether they are all equally good, I don't know. But the 'cost of entry' is now lower than it once was, and more people can hopefully get into soldering. If buying online, just make sure you get the right voltage for where you live.
     
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  12. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    This picture makes me laugh so hard. When I did electronic assembly for a living, I liked to walk around with a (cold) used soldering iron tip in a pliers as if it were hot. I would walk up to someone and say "do you have a spare tip like... oops!" and drop it in their lap. I laughed until I stopped.

    I agree that there is much better stuff out there now for much better prices than when I was a lad. However, when I left the aforementioned job, the plant was closing, so they let us take our tools. I took my 60W American Beauty pencil iron, and a baggie of spare tips, and I'm still using it 30 years later.
     
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