Best Anti-Static Soldering Mat?

Anyone have any experience with anti-static mats that are soldering safe? I bought a cheap anti-static mat from Jameco and it's fine except it's getting messed up because it is not solder safe. I have a soldering mat from Amazon that is solder safe, but it is not anti-static so I can't use it once I have semiconductors mounted on the board (good thing I use sockets so semiconductors are the last step). When I peel the mat off the table the amount of static created is amazing - I feel it on my arm hairs. NOT SAFE!

I'd like to replace both with one. What is a good one that is static-safe and won't burn from hot solder? Any link would be appreciated.

Current mat for soldering:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FPX4G2/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

This is a badass mat, but it is not anti-static. In fact, it is firmly pro-static and not changing it's stance any time soon.

Current anti-static mat:

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_2130853_-1

Beginning to resemble swiss cheese. :(

http://www.uline.com/BL_7403/Anti-Static-Table-Mats?keywords=Anti-static Mats

CrossRoads: http://www.uline.com/BL_7403/Anti-Static-Table-Mats?keywords=Anti-static Mats

Thanks. How does this one look do you? It is slightly less expensive and looks like the same product.

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/work-benches/components/mats/2-x-4-anti-static-mat

I never bother with one. I have a wrist strap for when I’m working on particularly sensitive stuff. For the rest, I work on a wooden desk.

A wooden desk is as good as most anti-static mats.

I have never had a chip die from static.

Connecting them up backwards, accidentally dropping the Vcc wire onto a live +12V line so the Magic Smoke™ escapes, sure, but never static.

Choose whatever fits your workspace size JoeN.

I also work on a piece of wood, being careful to ground myself when handling bare chips. Most parts seem pretty safe once installed on a card.

I actually did loose one and only one... it was a windy dry day, I walked into the lab from lunch and poked my finger into a board I was cycling off and on... Everyone in the room heard the snap as my finger discharged through a gate package... Never again but it Can happen although I do agree an ic is relatively safe there... In the board... Now If I could just keep from dropping crap on them... Solder is my great enemy, clean the iron and the bits are guaranteed to go to the PCB... Especially If it's Sunday and the shops where the Real parts are sold... Are closed.

Doc

majenko: I never bother with one. I have a wrist strap for when I'm working on particularly sensitive stuff. For the rest, I work on a wooden desk.

A wooden desk is as good as most anti-static mats.

I have never had a chip die from static.

Yes but we're in the UK, where the relative humidity is usually high - static is only a problem during a few cold spells in winter.

As well as wooden desk I'd suggest a wool carpet/wooden floor as well, wear no synthetics - basically no nylon clothing/carpets in the vicinity and live in a damp country - easy!

MarkT:
As well as wooden desk I’d suggest a wool carpet/wooden floor as well, wear no synthetics - basically no nylon clothing/carpets in the vicinity and live in a damp country - easy!

So… don’t shop at Matalan then? :wink:

MarkT: Yes but we're in the UK, where the relative humidity is usually high - static is only a problem during a few cold spells in winter.

Illinois is the same way, you are never going to get a shock during the summer or even spring and autum but December, January, and February is very different. You can make small animals and children very unhappy with you just by shocking them after walking across the carpet. ]:)

The wrist strap idea would be best as you are the most likely source of static reaching tthe board

If you are barefoot or wearing [cotton] socks you won't build up a charge. If you are wearing shoes (depending on the soles), you will most likely build up a charge like a human capacitor. The type of surface you are walking on is often a factor too, whether it's carpet, concrete, linoleum, tile, epoxy, wood, etc.

I find barefoot/socks is safest for my components (I often walk back and forth between workstations/benches). If I'm wearing shoes, I zap everything and everyone around me.

Since this bubbled back up, I did buy this mat:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/work-benches/components/mats/2-x-4-anti-static-mat

It has been great ever since and never burns.

I now have a nice shiny new desk, and I don't want to damage it, so I don't directly solder on it, and I certainly don't do reflow directly on it any more ;)

I now use these - very cheap, very heat proof.

Calcium Silicate Bench Mats - 300 x 300mm

Not "anti static" per se, as they don't ground, but not prone to static, either, as they're pretty much completely inert electrically.

They're really designed to be the kind of thing you put under your Bunsen burner in a lab, but work equally well for soldering and reflowing. When I need to have extra heat for a particularly stubborn bit of reflow I use two of them together to doubly protect my nice new workbench.

By the way, that price is for a pack of 10, not each.

Docedison: I actually did loose one and only one... it was a windy dry day, I walked into the lab from lunch and poked my finger into a board I was cycling off and on... Everyone in the room heard the snap as my finger discharged through a gate package... Never again but it Can happen although I do agree an ic is relatively safe there... In the board... Now If I could just keep from dropping crap on them... Solder is my great enemy, clean the iron and the bits are guaranteed to go to the PCB... Especially If it's Sunday and the shops where the Real parts are sold... Are closed.

Doc

Nylon carpet syndrome, coupled with a dry climate? - in the UK its rare to find the relative humidity low enough to allow static to build up (apart from nylon office carpets and nylon shirts!)

MarkT:

Docedison: I actually did loose one and only one... it was a windy dry day, I walked into the lab from lunch and poked my finger into a board I was cycling off and on... Everyone in the room heard the snap as my finger discharged through a gate package... Never again but it Can happen although I do agree an ic is relatively safe there... In the board... Now If I could just keep from dropping crap on them... Solder is my great enemy, clean the iron and the bits are guaranteed to go to the PCB... Especially If it's Sunday and the shops where the Real parts are sold... Are closed.

Doc

Nylon carpet syndrome, coupled with a dry climate? - in the UK its rare to find the relative humidity low enough to allow static to build up (apart from nylon office carpets and nylon shirts!)

These days it seems to bottom out at about 300% RH. You know, it's hard to solder under three feet of flood water...

I've developed an instinct to touch the metal chassis first. Even if someone is handing me a board, I get odd looks because I touch their hand or arm first.

I've not had a problem melting my antistatic mat, as I generally put my boards in a board vise. At work, my mat looks terrible because I inherited it from who knows how many techs. So it has melted spots, holes, and a lot of cut marks from knives and from people banging the edges of heavy objects on it.

I just mostly get it dirty.

How are you melting holes in your mat? I've had the occasional solder blob when tinning the tip, but it just makes a small smooth spot.

I've worked in a lot of TV shops that have indoor-outdoor carpeting on the floor and the benches. So I kept my area sprayed down from a bottle I'd mixed water and liquid fabric softener into. Every week on Friday just before leaving, I would spray it all down until it is slightly damp. Bone dry by Monday, and no static.

I used the same trick to spray the carpets in front of the games in a video arcade, to keep people from getting a huge shock when touching the well-grounded games after having scuffed their way across the synthetic indoor-outdoor carpeting (see a theme here?)

I have heard these mats are pretty good. Its by 3M and is made of rubber which holds up to heat better than the vinyl mats. http://www.gotopac.com/3M_6800_Table_Mat_p/6810-3m.htm

kt425: I have heard these mats are pretty good. Its by 3M and is made of rubber which holds up to heat better than the vinyl mats. http://www.gotopac.com/3M_6800_Table_Mat_p/6810-3m.htm

All the mats mentioned so far, starting with Crossroads, seem to be the same mat:

http://www.uline.com/BL_7403/Anti-Static-Table-Mats?keywords=Anti-static http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/work-benches/components/mats/2-x-4-anti-static-mat http://www.gotopac.com/3M_6800_Table_Mat_p/6810-3m.htm

I got mine from Global because it was cheaper than Uline and the same spec. I see it is a little cheaper at PAC but I wasn't aware of them before. It has held up very well over the last year. Impossible to burn with a soldering iron.

How did I burn my prior Jameco mat? Any solder drip would burn at least a millimeter or so into the mat. It melted very easily. With the new mat, solder just pools on top and makes a little droplet like a chocolate chip - perfectly flat on the bottom and rounder up top. Then you just pry it off with tweezers or needle nose pliers. It leaves no mark.

Wow! I guess I've been lucky with mats. Never had a drip burn a hole, even just a mm deep.