So, my current soldering situation is sad at best...
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I found my iron on the Titanic.
Sure, I could replace the tip (if I could even find a compatible replacement, damn you Radio Shack), but all of the surface mount guides I've read recommend a "real" soldering iron with temperature control and the works.
I decided to pick up Weller WES51:
It's about $100, but I can't really graduate as an electrical engineer without a proper iron. These are actually the same irons you'll find in labs all around campus, so I have experience working with them.
I also picked up some more gadgets:
- Optiloupe 2.5x loupe for my Donegan goggles
- VisorLight for my Donegan goggles (can you tell I really like these goggles?)
- Wiha 120mm fine point tweezers
I got some solder flux too as per the recommendation of the below video, but I had to get it on Digikey because there was no Amazon Prime solder flux available and even the cheapest stuff cost like $9 shipping. Ridiculous. As far as solder wick and actual solder is concerned, I can pilfer those from lab.
I was thinking at first that I might be able to get by with the kind of equipment I already have, but then I realized that I'll be soldering something like 132 LEDs on to the final version of this biatch, and I want to be as comfortable as possible.
Even if you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch this video, it's amazing. Oh yeah, and by "expensive equipment", they mean several thousand dollars.