What soldering tips do you tend to use? I use a 1.6x10mm chisel tip (Hakko T15-D16) for just about everything. I'm about to re-order, and I'd like to get some smaller tips. Probably a 0.8 x 9.5mm chisel and a R0.5 x 10mm concical.
I've read that bevel tips are useful for dragging solder. What size would you want, for general purpose electronics use, if you were only getting one? With or without a hollow?
Any other tips you're fond of?
For me, I have an array. I made a group of 5 holders to my soldering station. Takes up about 18" on my work bench. (I'm serious about my soldering... :) )
All stations have variable heat with temperatures displayed.
#1 is a Weller hot air station.
#2 is a Pace desoldering station (best IMO, but not cheap)
#3 is a Weller Dual Pencil fine tip station (tip is a very thin, fine point for SMD work)
#4 (3b actually) is a 1/8" screwdriver tip. I also use this station with beveled tips, but not very often.
#5 When I need a lot of heat on a circuit board, Like soldering an LM323K onto an Apple 1 Motherboard, I break out the Variable Temp Weller with the 3/16" tip
#6 is an SMD oven. I have a 50% success rate with this, as the oven I have doesn't seem to heat evenly and you have to watch for that. Invisible bridges when using Solder Paste can also be an issue as well. I consider SMD ovens somewhat more an art than a skill. (at least in my limited experience)
Bottom line here, when you solder, you have to use the right tool for the job, which is why I have such an array.
It makes all the difference in the world when doing board construction or repairs.
The other half of that equasion is using the right solder. Having 0.010 Dia is great for SMD work, whereas 1mm would be too heavy.
Using plumber's paste and a Q-Tip applicator is also a good idea when soldering, especially if you want nice, shiny results. (That tip may surprise you)
I've seen the videos on dragging solder using a bevel tip, but I'm not a fan of doing that. Draging with the length of the leads works OK if you control the amount of solder and you drown the leads with flux, but dragging across the leads can be hit and miss. Having to drag across the leads again to clear a bridge get's dangerous for the device because of the extended time heating the leads.
Using a desoldering tool (like the Pace unit) applies a minimal amount of heat and removes the excess quickly and safely.
Thanks, macnoyd. Do you have a photo of your setup?
I'm using a Hakko FP-102 soldering station, FR-301 desoldering tool, and a chinese 858D rework station. Most of what I do is through-hole, but I need to get better at surface mount.
What do you (personally) use the bevel tips for?
I will dig out my last order for tips tomorrow and we can compare notes! Generally I use a wider wedge tip than people think makes sense, but I don't know if it's actually a good idea or I just got used to it. Certainly helps with thermal mass a bit, I think.