Share tips you have come across

At work I check the specs on the Wrist and Leg anti-static leads testers, that some industries have to check their equipment.

The standard is typically;
Wrist between 1M and 10M.
Foot between 1M and 35M.

Lower than 1M is a fail.

Tom… :slight_smile:

Tom… :slight_smile:

A favorite tool on my work bench is a dial indicator ‘Articulating Arm’ ~$20.00 USD.

The arms are like a photo enthusiast’s ‘Magic Arm’.

These articulating arms can be locked to an infinite number of positions.

Attaching other tools to the end of the arm makes those tools more effective.

The arm is attached to an ‘ON/OFF Magnet Switch’ which holds the arm to steel surfaces.

The Magnet Switch works with the ~.023” thick 403 stainless steel ‘work surfaces’ mentioned many times in this thread.

If you need a sturdier connection, use a thicker steel work surface.

90% of the time I just use the thin 403 stainless steel work surfaces, however, for more demanding conditions, I use a 3/32” steel plate.

Halfway up the arm we come to the elbow.

The knob at the elbow locks ALL arm joints and slip rings at the current arm position.

Loosening the knob, makes the arm fall like a stringless puppet.

At the end of the arm, the business end, there is a clamp and a fine adjustment knob.

Suggest you only buy an arm with a fine adjustment knob, ‘Magic Arms’ do not have this adjustment.

The clamp can hold tools, the fine adjustment knob moves the clamp up and down.

I usually place a 1/4” bolt in the clamp and add a 1” rare earth magnet; I’ll refer to this as a “magnetic fixture”.

The fixture easily holds all the magnetic tools mentioned previously in this thread.

To connect the arm’s clamp to non-magnetic tools like a flashlight, a standoff is added to a ‘keeper’ which is held in place by the ‘magnetic fixture’; tools can be screwed into the standoff.

BTW, if you have a ‘super clamp’, you can screw it onto the 1/4” bolt.

Once you add an ‘Articulating Arm’ to your work bench tools, it will soon become one of your favorite tools, too.

@larryd, don't you do ANY work on your workbench? ITS TOO CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get out there and make something.. :) :) :) :) :)

What do you mean, I just finished 4 more NeoPixel clocks. :art:

But where are the wire ends of diode leads, the black over spray, discarded wire insulation, solder splatters? ? ? ?

The saw marks along with the drill dimples in the bench top?

Can ship these to you, just supply a self addressed envelope. :wink:

Ahhh, now that is essential to a work bench. "Discard Items" container. A goldmine of odd washers, nuts and bolts, make shift sleeving and shorting links, Almost as good as a junkbox.

Tom... :)

“A method for doing something might not work in all situations.”

This discussion shows two methods for removing SMD components.

‘Desoldering Spatulas’


  • magnetic hold-down clamps sitting on a 403 stainless steel work surface
  • Aluminum strips cut from a soda can (these will have a thickness of ~4 thou”)
  • 60/40 solder
  • silicone non slip strip
  • Acetone for cleaning
  • utility knife

When we need to remove a multi lead component it can be quite challenging.

A strip of aluminum can be slid under heated component leads to separate them from their pads.

Practice makes perfect.

Note to self: Get some .002" stainless steel shim stock and try it.

Apply ‘Liquid Flux’ on the leads to aid in solder melt.

If needed, place Kapton tape on either side of the resistor to shield solder splashes.


See posts #750 and #776

I assume all the above is done because no hot air tool is available?

Yes, but we all have a soldering iron available.

Just showing what is possible and sharing options and techniques.

With hot air, you ‘do’ have to protect surrounding components with Kapton tape as hot air is ‘not’ as targeted as an iron.

However, hot air has its place.

If you ever tried to remove an electrolytic SMD capacitor with a hot air wand, that capacitor can explode.

In which case you can use the aluminum strip method.

Flux, heat one lead and tilt the capacitor slipping the ‘strip’ under that lead; cool and remove the strip.

Heat the other lead pulling off the capacitor.


See post #776

You can easily remove air from your Solder Paste syringe with a piece of wire.

Syringe storage:

Once my Solder Paste syringe is load, I do not like to dismantle any part of it.

To prevent the paste from drying out make a DIY Luer Lock cap.

The Heat Shrink cap can be removed and re-used.

Using a 1 ml syringe over the 10 ml Solder Paste syringe makes the out flow more controllable.

If you are not doing too many PCBs, manual syringe depositing of solder paste is easy to do.

A 1 ml syringe is superior to a 10 ml syringe.

You can fill your 1 ml syringes from a 10 ml syringe; suggest you fill to the 0.3 – 0.4 ml level.

A “22 Gauge” tapered plastic needle is what I use most often; suggest you deposit enough solder paste to cover the whole “Component Pad”.

There is significantly less effort advancing the plunger when using a 1 ml syringe.

I use a two-handed method to hold the 1 ml syringe; a microscope makes the work easier too.

Although you can do an adequate job using only a syringe, a dispenser makes the process easier and more controllable.

The “Micro-Dot” dispenser is great for depositing solder paste and can be purchased from the following WEB site:

The YouTube videos here shows how easy the dispenser is to use:

To help my big fingers work with the 'Micro Dot dispenser' I made a “Spring Assist Fork”.

This helps me assemble this dispenser, I also added a “10 mm Washer” in front of the compression spring.

Following is a discussion for using Micro-Dot dispenser:


The great thing about the 'Micro-Dot Dispenser' is the piston springs back when you release the grip.

This takes the pressure off the solder paste and stops oozing.

No complicated compressed air machinery, no wires or motors. :slight_smile:

Laying down dots of paste is fast, accurate and the process is repeatable.

This is a good great ‘must have’ tool if you are doing a few boards and you don't have a stencil.

These YouTube videos give you an idea of how much paste is actually needed:



After using the tool for a few months, I had a problem with the dispenser insert pushing out of its mounting hole.

The solution was to solder a flange washer to the insert to prevent the insert from dislodging.

Since solder does not stick to stainless-steel (SS), use a SS M3 screw to keep the washer in place during the soldering process.

See the images below to see how to make the modification.

The manufacturer has said new batches will incorporate a flanged insert. :slight_smile:

This is an indispensable tool on my work bench so it’s nice to have it working again !

When you load a new 1 ml syringe from a 10 ml solder paste syringe, you first need to purge all the air from the setup.

  • Attach a 18-gauge blunt needle to the 10 ml syringe.
  • Advance the 10 ml syringe plunger until solder paste oozes out of this needle.
  • Move the 1 ml syringe plunger to about 0.1 ml.
  • Insert the blunt 18-gauge needle into the end of the 1 ml syringe until you touch the rubber plunger.
  • Push the 10 ml syringe plunger so solder paste starts to fill the 1 ml syringe.
  • As the 0.10 ml void fills, rotate the body of the 1 ml syringe so you fill the void and force out all the air.
  • Once you fill the end of the 1 ml syringe, pull out the 18-gauge needle.
  • Now that the 1 ml syringe is purged of air, advance its plunger until all the solder paste is completely expelled; after this point, ‘do not’ pull on the 1 ml syringe plunger.
  • Replace the 10 ml syringe 18-gauge needle with a Luer Lock coupler.
  • Fill the coupler with solder paste by advancing the 10 ml syringe plunger.
  • When the coupler is full of paste, connect it to the 1 ml syringe.
  • You can now finish filling the 1 ml syringe with solder paste; suggest you fill to 0.3 ml or 0.4 ml.

Unless you accidentally pull back on the 1 ml syringe plunger, you do not have to purge it again.

Waw! thanks for sharing new tips, very helpful!

Referring back to Post #250

I have changed the ‘Screw Vise’ design to what is described in the images below.

The new design creates a ‘Pinch Vise’.

A 2mm hole is drilled near the outer edge of one of the fender washers.

Install a 2mm X 4mm screw with nut in the hole, tighten.

‘Do not’ use the small washer that was previously between the two large washers.

Assemble the new ‘Pinch Vise’ as per the images, the two washers will now be at an angle to each other.

The tighter you screw the nylon standoff, the tighter the new Pinch Vise grips.

This design allows you to grip items from thousandths of an inch and larger.

For convenience, here is a collection of Logic Level MOSFETs in one PDF.

'You' must confirm the component characteristics in the original data sheets.

See PDF below:

Logic Level MOSFETs 20 07 17.pdf (1.32 MB)