Cool Tools thread

Really handy:

I have one of the other pneumatic deals but this one works really well for me. It looks a little cheezy but I have no complaints.

Anyone else got any useful suggestions? Bench shots?

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00945661000P

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station/dp/B000BRC2XU

Panavise Jr. 201

Microshears

http://www.usbgear.com/USB-PRODUCT-DETAILS.cfm?sku=USBG-7U2ML&catid=433&cats=433

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-10-pc-screwdriver-set/p-00941633000P

Nibblers

Really handy

really double handy? :) (One for the soldering iron, one for the pump?)

Oscilloscope :)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ARM-Dso201-Portable-Pocket-sized-Mini-Nano-Handheld-Digital-Storage-Oscilloscope-/220976820974?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33733eb2ee

hoff70: Really handy:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062731

I have one of the other pneumatic deals but this one works really well for me. It looks a little cheezy but I have no complaints.

Anyone else got any useful suggestions? Bench shots?

I read an instructable once about how you can pop a hose (tubing) thru a hole into the squeeze bulb of one of those, and pump air thru it to make an el-cheapo SMT hot-air rework station. I'd imagine, alternatively, you could remove the bulb, and use a proper diameter piece of silicone tubing (to withstand the heat) instead; that way you could use it for it's original purpose, too.

I’m planning on upgrading my solder station in the future. Now I have a RS 20/40 cheapo which is adequate but not great. The thing that really bugs me is the big heavy cord which ALWAYS seems to get tangled/twisted up. That, and the tip is pretty large for some stuff. I also have a RS third hand which is better than nothing. I would like to have a Panavise…

Not sure I’m at a level to require an O-scope yet but it’s intriguing. Especially the little nanos 8)

Good idea on the SMT reflow with the sucker! It does get MIGHTY HOT and seems to have no trouble removing solder from pretty big parts. I have a bunch of little 12v pumps from old blood pressure machines which would probably work. Plus some valves. Now I can start screwing up SMT stuff :smiley:

I picked this set up at Lowes this AM:

$10. Not heirloom quality and I prefer the old school plasti-dip handles but what the hey!

I really want a set of small, good quality, flush-cut side cutters

hoff70:
I really want a set of small, good quality, flush-cut side cutters

Try a local craft store (y’know, with acrylic paints, artificial flowers, fabric, candle making kits, etc.) and look in the beading aisle.

Digikey part #170M-ND.

$6.00. I bought one, and it's absolutely the best flush cutter I've ever used. It cuts right through through-hole part leads with no hesitation, leaving a nice clean shear.

I used it once to cut something way bigger than I had any business trying to cut and broke them, so I ordered two more. In the meantime, I used a Radio Shack cutter that I bought for $9. The couple weeks it took to place the next order and wait for the Digikey box to arrive were miserable.

Later on, I let my S.O. try them for beading work, and after five minutes, was told I wouldn't be getting them back. ;)

SirNickity, you should get (or maybe you already have) a job in sales :)

In the meantime, I used a Radio Shack cutter that I bought for $9. The couple weeks it took to place the next order and wait for the Digikey box to arrive were miserable.

I’ve used the RS side cutter for many years without issue. Works well with cutting small wires, thin plastic, skin tags, warts, small moles…

Thanks for the Digikey link!

I have a set of import knockoffs that are almost identical to those but they are about worn out. They actually came from a craft store beading section years ago and are my favorite snips.

this is the best cutter i used, ruined it trying to cut harmonic steel
http://www.elettronicamarinelli.it/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=901001223_901002026_901002111&products_id=11170

florinc: SirNickity, you should get (or maybe you already have) a job in sales :)

LOL -- no, I went through a frustrating period of trying to find a pair I liked. The affordable ones are not worth the money, and the good electronics supply store around here wanted about $30 for a pair. That seems exorbitant to me. I took a leap of faith on the ones from Digikey and felt like I had found the fountain of youth, so I thought I'd share.

Now, if I had to remove an errant mole, I think I'd sooner take a butter knife to it than the Radio Shack cutters. Those things don't so much "cut" as "gnaw off" the part. ;)

Oh, one word of warning though: When you cut a lead off, it will probably end up about 10 feet away. I have to assume my carpet is conductive now.

SirNickity: I took a leap of faith on the ones from Digikey and felt like I had found the fountain of youth, so I thought I'd share.

I've been meaning to pick those up. Tried a cheapo pair from Sparkfun, and was sorely disappointed. I still have them around, and occasionally take the file to them in an attempt to make them usable. Microcenter carries them too. Probably easy to find at various retailers. Less expensive than Klein as well.

I have to assume my carpet is conductive now.

It's become an anti-static mat? 8)

I have to assume my carpet is conductive now.

Add tweezers and bandaids to the list.

You may laugh, but when I was a kid and could not spend much on tools, I actually cut the leads off with a nail cutter. It worked very well, I just wasn't looking too professional when using them :) It's then when I learned to hold the lead with the other hand, otherwise it will just disappear. (In those days I also made my own flux (bow rosin dissolved in alcohol) and used aspirin pills to get rid of the insulation on the copper wires used in transformers/coils).

My 4 essentials Side cutters by Erem, Very Pricey... But you will only EVER buy one of them, I used a pair for 20+ years. Good small and large Screwdirvers, BuY Craftsman (Sears) or Proto... If they Still have that lifetime Guarantee Soldering Iron, I've used a Hakko 926 for 10 years... the same one too temp controlled and great tips of ALL descriptions, Only replaced one heating element and one soldering iron... The Iron cost me $19 - $20 dollars... $69.00 New was what I paid for the Iron. DMM Fluke 179 Very Pricey @ $250 - $300 for a new one. (My Toy) there are many good DMM's available but a good used fluke will Never break (Had 5 in my working career) 4 were stolen anlong with my good sidecutters. In the US are Hunter tools, not real cheap but very durable. Craftsman makes a great set of Electronics tools nopw too. O'Scope... Go get a Tektronics 2213 or 2235. Analog, Both but Very servicable the 2213 can be had for $60 - $80 and the 2235 is about $100 $120.00 usually they are checked out and are close to accurate cal with a nominal guarantee. You can find them from used equipment dealers on Ebay. I've only repaired one so far in 20 years... Well worth the money. In my experience a good set of tools is if taken care of well (Not Abused, like cutting guitar strings) are really extensions of your mind. Cheap tools are for me Dangerous and usually more trouble than they are worth. I am however a retired engineer and these tools were the minimums that I would work with. Unfortunately I have no experience with much that is European in manufacture. Probably buying inexpensive tools is a waste of money as they frequently need replacement, usually when there are no stores open or around. But Always buy the best you can easily afford. I don't buy many tool very often but I try real hard to buy the best I can afford. Living on a pension requires some life style changes.

Doc

florinc: and used aspirin pills to get rid of the insulation on the copper wires used in transformers/coils).

Interesting! I made six LM3886 amp modules a few months ago, and scraping the enamel off the hand-wound RF blocking inductors was by far the most laborious part.

Years ago enamel and to an extent Formvar wire could be stripped with a chemical wire Stripper, was nasty stuff that contained Methyl Chloride, Which was not only toxic but a carcinogen as well. Now I use 2 different methods, 1. for Formvar and keflar/nylon insulation I use a "Hot" 800F/425 C soldering iron ot melt/burn off the insulation, I provide flux and solder by using the tip and solder to scrape/flux-tin the leads, for medium size wires & emamel I use bits of wet/dry sandpaper and for large size wires formvar/enamel I use a craft knife to scrape the insulation off. on larger wires sometimes a small craft file works best. The usual caution still applies, Don't nick or partially cut the wire, It will break off at the nick or small cut.. For transformer winding commercially a solder pot was used with the flux being a "Hot" organic one and the pot temp about 400 - 425C, 750 - 800F.

Doc

Those yellow cutters shown in the picture are/were sold under the name “Plano” and I an using a pair I gave my son about 10 years ago. They’re still as sharp as they were when I gave them to him “New”… I mentioned Expensive tools in My last post and this is an example… The Erem Cutters cost me 44.++ dollars and during that time I used up 10 of the Plano or Cheapie cutters at work, both home and work uses were non production, prototype and repair. I do must need to point out that my choices were made from a point of experience and it was my intent that these tools be used commercially, rather than “hobby” type of use. For the durability involved and the amount of work it would be best to buy the less expensive varieties until you have a use for production or commercial class tools, the only exception being soldering tools and test equipment. A Poor grade of soldering iron can and frequently does do more damage in the hands of a beginner, besides frequently being simply inappropriate to the task… too, hot, too big a tip. Test equipment, meters, scopes, generators, etc, are their own reward. Calibration, Sensitivity and Accuracy are most often the hidden shortcomings of inexpensive tools and for some like a DVM and a O’scope there is a certain level of skill required in the use and interpretation/extrapolation of measurements for example a poor vertical amplifier or wrong type of probe can cover up erratic operation of devices under test, a meter with too slow an update/measurement rate will add a low pass filter that might well cause you to miss a fast measurement due to a low sampling rate and an O’scope can have two not so readily apparent faults, one is the frequency response and the other one is phase response of the Vertical amplifier in making complex ac measurements (Audio for example) if the phase/frequency response isn’t linear then the resultant measurement isn’t going to be so very accurate. For digital Scopes the prime limitation isn’t only the phase/frequency response ovf the Vert Amplifier but also the quality of the A/D converter that follows the input stages if the A/D converter is non linear or or has "missing’ codes or has poor dynamic response it will mangle the applied information selectively,Finally for O’Scopes there is the issue of spurious signals caused by noise form the A/D converter shown as “Artifacts”, not present in analog scopes they are for me always a question of Are they Real or not My other observation is that used good quality used analog scopes can be purchased for 1/2 to 1/3rd the price of an equivalent new Digital device…

Doc