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


Gio, if you haven’t already, you should also include:

a magnetic parts bowl, keycap puller, and a keyswitch puller,

It would also be a good idea to put down some of the suggestions that people have posted below your OP as well


Also, one of these motion control screwdrivers if you are either needing to assemble a lot of keyboards or simply want to pretend you are the new Dr. Who incarnation!


I have the es121 and love it and @olivia


I agree with this. It would be nice to have everything in one spot.


Curved tip syringes for precise lube application (thanks @Walkerstop)


My honeymoon with the SS-02 is over, and it’s too late for an annulment. Two or three boards ago, I had to stop once a row to empty the chamber and lube the seal. Now though, I’m stopping every pull to unclog the metal inner nozzle. I think that the original finish was more solder-phobic but the quality of the inner surface has degraded whenever I used a pick to dig the bits out of there. It’s a downward slope but I’ve wound up with essentially a circular heatsink for flying molten solder. At least my chamber is clean, the solder never makes it that far!


That sounds unfortunate. I’m used to using these types of solder suckers: For desoldering things. The Teflon tips can get damaged by heat and use, but it should last a while and it’s fairly cheap. I’ve never had any issues with the tips getting clogged but once in a blue moon and that’s usually because a glob was on the plunger and came into contact with newly molten solder in the tip, clogging it slightly.


Wanted to throw in a tool I’ve gotten a ton of use out of - Stickvise PCB Vise. I don’t work on anything above 60% in size so its able to clamp onto the horizontal fairly well and keep the board stable while I solder. The spring-load on the clamp has done a pretty excellent job keeping things steady.

Incidentally, impulse bought a 3$ screwdriver in my last McMaster-Carr order that ended up being a Wiha. Amazon had it listed at 7.


@notG10 pls; update that guide :eyes:


Any suggestions for a cheaper alternative to the es120/121? I searched “electric screwdriver” on AliExpress and found the “Wowstick.” Does anyone have experience with this one?


@Quakemz Has the Wowstick; I think he said it works alright, but it’s really lacking in the torque department.


Like other things of mine, it’s average at best.


It “works”, but you generally have to get the screw started/finished manually, because the lack of torque. Honestly, I often just default to my normal manual driver from my ifixit kit because it winds up being more effort to grab my Wowstick. 10/10 Would not buy again.


Hi, does anyone have a suggestion regarding good solder you can find in europe ? thanks


Ts100, Hakko Fx-888d


I know kester is a pain to get but I believe MG Chemicals is pretty easy to come by and is good stuff at a good price normally


+1. Excellent performance at the price point. Also good at getting at lead free factory solder when doing switch swaps.

I prefer the Soldapult to any other manual desolderiing pump I’ve used (including the Engineer SS-02). It doesn’t clog and the tip is durable.

Those screwdriver kits look better than the huge iFixIt kit I bought. The kit works well enough, but the tools aren’t the best in terms of quality.

Tweezer kit is an almost must. When doing boards, different sized and angled tweezers make life a lot easier.

Great list!


Has anyone gotten a chance to try out the TS-80?


I haven’t, but from what I read it doesn’t heat up as fast as the TS-100. The TS-80 seems to be only the best because of its portability. It has a nicer metal chasis, but only runs of USB-C PD; meaning that you can only run it off a wall outlet charger/hub with a USB-C PD port, or a portable battery bank with that port.

They are both a bit restricting in their own ways, but much better than the TS100 in portability. If you want something for your desk, I’d go with the TS100 unless you’re into other hobbies where field soldering is very important.


Any recs for typical tray mount screws? I know they are M2 but I don’t know how long they should be. I find the ones that tend to come with cheaper tray mount cases strip really easily