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'Soldering press'?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Donny Bahama, Mar 11, 2014.

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  1. Donny Bahama

    Donny Bahama

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    Mar 11, 2014
    I've never been great at soldering - unsteady hands for starters - but with the advent of tiny surface mount components, repairs have become pretty much impossible for me. (I marvel at those of you who can do this!) So I'm wondering if there exists something like a drill press -- only instead of a rotating drill bit, it has a soldering iron at the end. The point would be that you could pull a lever and lower the soldering iron tip down in to the exact right spot - no matter how shaky your hands are! Of course, it would be hard getting everything lined up properly but my vision for this is that the 'table' (which holds the circuit board) would have adjusting knobs for the X and Z axes so that you could lower the soldering iron until it was 'almost there', then adjust the X and Z positioning with the knobs, then lower the soldering iron the rest of the way.

    If this doesn't exist, I'll design one, build a prototype and post plans. But obviously I don't want to reinvent the wheel so if it exists (preferably in DIY form but if not, a commercial product to use as a model would be fine) I'd appreciate a link. I'd also like to hear from you if you have any thoughts or comments on this project.
     
  2. kpatz

    kpatz

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    Feb 24, 2014
    Sounds like you need a hot air rework station. They make it a lot easier (and faster) to solder, and more importantly, unsolder SMT parts when doing repairs.
     
  3. Donny Bahama

    Donny Bahama

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    Mar 11, 2014
    Thanks for the reponse. I may need one (and I read briefly about a DIY version in a thread linked in the "Noteworthy Posts" sticky (or whatever it's called)) but I'm not just talking about SMT work, here; I'm also looking for a solution to the shaky hands problem - for any type of soldering.
     
  4. Jibby

    Jibby

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    Sep 12, 2013

    Excellent idea! Holding a circuit board is available with adjustable X and Y size, call it A. However the movement of the soldering iron in X,Y&Z is not available cheap. Alternatively A put on a flat table can be manipulated in X & Y movement manually while the soldering iron mounted suitable can move in the Z plane by a motorized arrangement.
     
  5. flippineck

    flippineck

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    Sep 8, 2013
    Could something be incorporated using flywheels / gyroscopes? Sort of like a robotic arm but with each of 3 degrees of freedom stabilised by a small but heavy spinning wheel. Maybe yoyo sized. So you could still use your hand for fine guidance but, the soldering tip would not respond to transient uncommanded shakes, just the major moves you intend to make. Like a sort of damping mechanism. Off on a tangent I know, just thoughts & ideas
     
  6. rhaugen

    rhaugen

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    Feb 21, 2014
    I would look at the small drill press attachment for a dremel tool. You should be able to modify it easily enough to hold a soldering iron. You could also use 1/4 threaded rods to move a carriage in two dimensions.
     
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