Gio's starter guide to tools, when you know your going off the deep end


Oh that’s awesome, I’m sold on the TS100 now


Thought of one more thing, I use a similar mat branded by Alvin 24"x18" (~46x61cm for those of you that don’t use 'murica units)

Green on one side and black on another. You can melt it with soldering stuff, but I haven’t damaged mine too much yet and I feel like melty stuff is a sign of use. I also am dropping all my keyboard stickers that I get on the green side cause I don’t have another place to put them really.

Lastly, if you watch AvE on youtube, it’s pretty much the same thing he uses.


its also a nice mat but double the cost of the fiskars which is why I used that one.


I didn’t realize it was $30. I definitely did not pay $30 for my mat. I’ll have to look when I get home. Maybe I only have the 12x18 mat then. Or one of the knockoffs.

If it was the 12x18, it is around $10, so fairly cheap and most keyboards should fit on it.


I’ll add this Solder sucker to the list - only because I make a lot of soldering mistakes and can justify a $25 solder sucker :joy:

I have a TS100 Soldering Iron and a Hakko - I think I like the TS100 slightly more (only because it’s so light and small) - but it’s hard to choose a favorite between the two. The Hakko is kind of the gold standard for a work table soldering iron.

Also, if you do a significant amount of soldering, spending the extra ~$75 on a Hakko or similar soldering fume extractor is not a bad idea.

You could probably find activated carbon fish tank filters at a local store or pet shop and combine those with an old PC 12V fan and wire your own fume extractor if you have the time and parts.


fan is a good idea, I just use a 5$ Walmart desk fan to blow it away from me heh


Wiha tools are also addictive…

These are pretty useful for magnetizing your screwdrivers to get those tiny steel M2 screws into your PCB without dropping them:


Great list here, should prove very useful for newcomers to the hobby! The only thing I would like to add is the soldapullt (solder sucker) you linked comes with absolutely trash solder wick. The soldapullt itself is decent & worth buying, but the wick barely work at all unless you add copious amounts of flux to it & the joint.

Usually I use this no clean wick, but needed a cheap soldapullt & figured “Hey I get some free wick with it as well, what’s not to like!” Well as it turned out the wick, go figure LOL! :exploding_head: I recommend anyone thinking of buying that soldapullt to just get it by itself & buy some higher quality wick like I linked. :metal:


Here’s the new hotness making the rounds using a standard t12 tip. as with most chinese stuff there is a CRAP ton of clones and its hard to pick the best one/decent price but I think this is decent:


Interesting. Pencil looks pretty comfy and the “station” itself is nice and cozy.


oh dang. that looks nice and compact. Gotta figure something out for the plug in the US, but not bad. Though that TS100 is looking hard to beat right now.


I took a look yesterday, my mat is the 12x18 version. Still works for anything I’ve done so far


That form factor is a fairly commonly used laptop power supply cable. Dell for sure and I think a few others. Since it’s 110 or 220v, it shoukd just be a matter of getting a replacement cable. Or you can get a plug converter, which I have used a lot, but they’re usually big, bulky, and not always very secure. I’d suggest snagging a new brick-to-wall cable and running that over a plug converter.


Yeah, desolder iron or gun gets rid of the whole “balance iron in one hand, heat joint; solder-sucker in other hand; tweezers in …” oops, out of hands


Gross… Don’t listen @notG10 washers are gud


I feel like there should be group buys for custom tools.


This is a really good point, the Hako 888FX is a great soldering iron that is priced well. Although it straddles the semi professional line IMO also. There are many really good cheaper options out there if you do not do a lot of soldering. I went with the 888FX because of the reasons you stated (trying to get into doing build services) & I do a whole lot of soldering beyond that as well.


wasn’t going to, the main reason I went with washers over using the band-aids/electric tape (tried both) is that it has a tendency to bind on the screw and just not do a clean job. Considering the price of washers and the cost of most keyboards I consider it a no brainer.

To each their own of course but that was my thought process involved


Good write up!

I have that nanch screwdriver set. I use it all the time.


Excellent resource. I have a lot of the items on this list and use the Hakko. These are all great items to have. The MG Chemicals tube of solder is actually quite a lot and will last for a few boards and for myself was easier to come by than the Kester brand.

Having a magnetized screwdriver can really make tray mounted boards a lot easier to assemble so that you don’t end up losing screws between the pcb and plate…