Surface mount Stencils

Sounds interesting will have to try it.

The solder wick method works well too.

I first solder all SMD capacitors, resistors, SOT23s etc. with a hotplate.

Then solder the SMD I.C.s with the solder wick method.

Do you have a favorite?

My ideal would be water soluble as I like my boards clean.

No. The only affordable option here is from China.

I try to avoid adding extra flux, and you don't need as much solder paste as you might think.
My boards look clean from the start, so I rarely clean them.

You may not need solder paste. You can get wire solder that is finer than a hair and soldering iron tips to match. If you insist on paste, store it in a refrigerator, warm to room temp before using.

I've never put paste in a fridge, no problem (I was taught in no uncertain terms than solvents do not go in fridges (explosion hazard), so I'd be very careful to check before putting anything solvent-based in a fridge anyway.)

Have had good results keeping Solder Paste Syringes in the fridge.

Almost 3 years for a T5 syringe and it still works fine.

We put them in fridge for 20 years with no problems. Had separate fridge just for solder paste. What the cool temps do is slow the migration/consolidation of the heavy metal particles to the bottom of the container.

I have a tub of Chipquik SMD291SNL50T3 which is now over a year old and still seems fine. The datasheet mentions that it is still good past the stated shelf life.

I do keep it in the fridge but I'm confident that there is no explosion risk since the amount of solvent in one 50g tub would be fairly low, the fridge gets ventilated (opened) regularly and if there was a lot of vapour coming off of it it wouldn't last more than a few days before being dried out and useless.

At the rate that I'm using it I'm definitely hoping for a long shelf life...

I have 0.015" solder and a little 0.010" (solid). However it would seem to be easier when soldering some many pin ICs. The refrigerator is a problem, I won't put chemicals in my food fridge.

I think the next time I need solder paste I'll get a "tub". Store if in a cool corner of my basement and hope for the best the next time its needed.

Thanks for all the ideas.

Boy your probably as old a I am :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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If I have to hand-solder with an iron then I prefer to drag-solder with the thicker stuff.
Seems to be more flux in the thicker stuff that I have.

Never use non flux cored (solid) solder for electronics.

Everybody seems to develop habits that work.

If you are doing SMT by hand you need to use extra flux - more flux and less solder
is the mantra to go by. Once you have excess solder you'll get shorting of adjacent
pins and have to wick it out again.

Its always a poor compromise to do SMT without the best tools (hot-air rework
station and oven). For a complex board with lots of fine-pitch SMT (or with even
one BGA) its essential to have the right tools if you want 100% chance of success
with everything. If you have only a couple of SMT parts you can do hand-soldering
without risk to your sanity - I'd suggest excess flux and fine cored solder and a desk

Or... More/fatter solder with a bit more flux inside, and drag-solder it in a ball that you can lift off and the end of the chip with the soldering iron. That requires some experience, a temp controlled iron, and the board kept in a ~30 degree angle.

I agree, the solid was given to me. The 0.015 has too little flux to use it with add'l flux.
I've never had hardware to practice drag soldering.

The reason my interest in paste is lately I've had parts I could barely solder with an iron, and I couldn't find larger alternatives. One was a SOD-923 cased diode, another had a J lead and I didn't think to increase the pad for hand soldering.

I’ve been using T5 solder paste for a while and like the way it flows.

When all the T3 is gone, T5 will be my go to.

I got this hot plate and very much like it too.

Share tips you have come across - #857 by LarryDstrong text


Well, mine is bigger :slight_smile:
The only thing I don't like about it is it's height. Too high, and no place to rest your hand on.
A table with a hole, like you made, could be a solution.
But then everything is still too high.

The lowest temp is also too high.
Very low to just warm things would be nice. Not a problem for soldering though.

I have a big one too:

Nice tips. Thank you.

If you have a few spare $, a bench mate added to your workbench can be used to lower the big hotplate to a more reasonable height.

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