I am putting together a list for prototyping designs with surface mount parts, mainly for myself. But it will help anyone else with the same question.
I've never done surface mount before and only got one design on PCB with surface mount parts so far. I've not soldered parts on the board yet. I am trying to figure out what tools I need to do the job. I received some grant and the work is open source and for teaching. So I can afford some nicer tools. Here is my very short list of tools:
1. [EDIT] This German iron just crapped out on me. Got to get hold of repair service (seems only one person for whole USA). "Nice" solder iron with micro/mini tips. I got that. Weller WD1001 and a micro tip. The set already includes a small tip. http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/WD1001/WD1001-ND/935879
2. Fume extraction from OK electronics http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/SA-91-E/K499-ND/610376
3. Vacuum pickup pen for MCU http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/V8910/V8910-ND/1974025
4. Tweezers ESD Adafruit and sparkfun both sell them. I might get the angled nose one and a pair of straight one
5. 0.022" diameter solder (lead-free) RadioShack has them for $8 3oz, or search the web to find cheaper ones. I just hang a few spools of different sizes with hook-loop straps on my fume extractor. Grab the end and solder away!
6. Some magnifiers (for me?!)
7. I found a couple of multimeters for surface components around $25 at sparkfun and adafruit. Would be nice to know what you're soldering before doing the job.
8. Maybe I will get a rework station instead of oven. I don't know how that will work out with the business office. When I was in school I bought a pair of noise cancelling head sets, so I can hear people talk while working in super noisy environment (we tend to yell and get in bad temper in that noisy lab). But school paper pusher decided this thing can play music, so no reimbursement.
9. Solder paste
10. Squeegee? What is that, precious? If I don't have stencil, say for prototyping, what tool is best for spreading?
11. What else do you use specifically for surface mount?
FYI, I will only have may be up to 3 IC (including ATMEGA328P-AU) that are surface mount and one SD card slot, and 0603 chip resistors and caps.
So what do you think I am missing? I am interested in very small production runs say 20 units etc. I don't think I'll get reflow oven etc.
Thanks for your input!