Why have a soldering station?
When it comes to down to the nitty-gritty of soldering, you only really need the basics. A good soldering iron and a piece of solder wire can do the trick flawlessly, as long as you know what you’re doing. But if you want to take your craft to the next level, you’ll want to use every tool available to make your job easier and more efficient. And a full-blown soldering station is what you need.
You already know this, but you can’t really solder anything without your soldering iron. This is your main tool, and really the thing that this list is named for.
If the Soldering Iron is your bread, then solder wire is your butter. You also can’t do much soldering without solder wire. There are plenty of types of solder wire, but lead-free solder is environment-friendly and is what we generally prefer.
Wire cutters are essential not just for solder wire, but for stripping the ends off of copper wires. There are different variations of wire cutters, so be sure to get one of each if you can.
Your soldering iron gets very hot, and it’s dangerous to place it on your work surface unprotected. A soldering stand fixes that for you and allows you to let your hot tool sit while it cools down and you can move on to other things. It’s a little bulky and not quite as portable as other tools, so this will likely be a mainstay at your work station unless you’re planning on doing a lot of soldering on the go.
A small one is usually included if you purchase a soldering stand, but if you don’t or if you opt not to get a stand, any wet sponge will do. This is important for cleaning the tip of your soldering iron so it doesn’t oxidize and impede the heat transferring process. This may also come in handy if any errant solder drips onto your work surface.
Since you’re likely dealing with very small wires and objects, a tweezer can be helpful for getting or keeping tiny objects things in place. It also helps you in handling hot solder without burning your fingertips.
Nobody’s perfect and sometimes we mess up when doing our soldering. A solder sucker is great to have when you need to do some desoldering. It’s a pump that uses a vacuum to suck the solder right off your work surface. Make sure to heat up your solder so it’ll be fluid enough to be sucked right into the pump. This is great for removing larger amounts of solder efficiently and effectively.
The opposite of a solder sucker, a solder wick is better for removing small amounts of solder. It is made up of tiny threads of copper that absorb solder. Much like with a solder sucker, you heat up the solder and use the solder wick to latch onto what you need to be removed. This is also referred to as a desoldering braid.
Portable USB Microscope
This is especially useful for veteran workers whose eyesights are not in their prime. However, I find that this is close to being essential if you want to be as precise with soldering as you can possibly be. Plenty of problems with soldering happen at an incredibly minute level and a microscope is just the tool to help solve those problems.
It should go without saying that safety is the number one priority in the workplace. While safety goggles are not as ubiquitous for soldering jobs, there’s always a risk involved when dealing with heat and tiny objects that you need to look at up close. Safety goggles are your friend.
This is optional but recommended if you’re starting out and you’re more concerned about safety and comfort rather than pinpoint precision. You’re handling a hot object and accidents can happen. Experienced workers can work with their bare hands just fine and it helps with being more accurate, but you may want to prioritize safety if it’s your first time.
If you want to start your soldering career off on the right foot, always start with a good soldering iron! Check out Chandler Tool’s Single-Heat Top Quality Soldering Iron!