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Soldering Tools

So you want to build a keyboard, but are unsure of exactly what you'll need? Don't worry, here's a list of suggested tools for soldering:

The Essentials

At the minimum, you'll need these items to build the keyboards that Keebio offers:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Flush Cutters

Soldering Iron

A temperature-controlled soldering iron is recommended. Even though you can get by with using a non-temperature-controlled one, for a beginner, it's very easy to burn pads on a PCB due to inconsistent temperatures and the iron getting too hot. A decent temperature-controlled soldering iron is not much more expensive than a regular one.

Here's a list of some suggested ones:

Solder

Avoid lead-free solder unless you are more experienced. Lead-free solder requires high temperatures, and for someone starting out with soldering, using it often leads to cold joints and/or overheating of pads. Leaded solder is fine, and that's what most people use anyway.

Diameter: 0.031" solder is good for general usage. For SMD components which are smaller, 0.020" is recommended.

Tin/Lead Ratio: 63/37 or 60/40 are good ratios to go with. 63/37 stands for 63% tin, 37% lead.

Flush Cutters

You'll need flush cutters for clipping diode legs, resistor legs, and Pro Micro header pins.

Extras

Here's some additional items you might find to be handy during builds:

  • Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner
  • Solder Sucker and Wick
  • Hookup Wire
  • Helping hands/PCB holder
  • Multimeter
  • Solder Spool Holder
  • Flux

Tip Cleaner/Tinner

Using a wet sponge to clean your tip is okay, but using a brass wire ball cleans better and doesn't reduce the temperature of the soldering iron tip. Highly recommended.

Tip Tinner: Good to use once at the beginning of a soldering session instead of tinning with solder and helps restore tips

Solder Sucker and Wick

You're bound to screw up a build at some point, and you're going to need some way to remove that solder. Highly recommended to buy a solder sucker of some sort, wick is not that important to have.

Hookup Wire

Needed for attaching an RGB LED strip, using as jumper wires, or handwiring. Recommended wire gauge is 22 AWG to 28 AWG, make sure it's solid core and not stranded. Having multiple colors is also recommended.

Helping hands/PCB holder

Multimeter

No specific recommendations, main thing you'll probably use it for is checking for continuity, so having one that beeps is nice (most multimeters have beep option). The free/cheap ones from Harbor Freight will do the job.

Solder Spool Holder

Better than just leaving the solder spool sitting on its side.

Flux

Helps solder stick better. Usually the flux in solder will do just fine, but this can help sometimes.





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