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>> Surface mount soldering with garden tools

Fri, Aug 14th 3:32pm 2009: Practical Arduino

Originally posted on PracticalArduino

I bet this is a tip you never expected to see! My essential tools for surface-mount soldering include tweezers and ... a garden fork?

A couple of weeks ago I came across a little how-to on MakeZine about making a pointer weight for SMD soldering. I had a go at making up a slightly smaller one and it seemed promising but not quite heavy enough (I was lazy and didn't put washers on top as weights like in the MakeZine article) and I used it for a couple of days with surprisingly good results. I didn't get around to adding weight though and then while coming in through the back door I saw my wife's gardening fork, and inspiration struck.

I grabbed the fork, put a blank ProtoShield down on my bench, grabbed some surface-mount parts, and went for it.


The fork has just the right amount of weight to hold parts firmly without being too heavy, and the tip is rounded enough that it doesn't damage the part but narrow enough not to get in the way of the soldering iron. All I have to do is line the part up with tweezers, lay the fork tip onto it, and it's ready to go. Both hands are then free to deal with the solder and the iron.

The result: very neat part placement very fast, with fresh solder applied rather than relying on solder stored on the tip of the iron.

Thanks MakeZine :-)

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