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Recommended 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. Some of these items with have a star (β˜…) next to them, as these are the ones that Keebio has.


Here's a video we put together talking about the tools we like:

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:

Integrated soldering iron and hot air stations​

If you plan on doing some work with SMD components in the future, having a hot air station is great to have and sometimes doesn't cost that much more than a regular iron.


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. Don't cheap out on solder!

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.


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

  • Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner
  • Solder Sucker and Wick
  • Tweezers
  • 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.


If you're going to be doing any kind of SMD work, you'll need some tweezers to handle all those small parts.

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​

Solder Fume Extractor​


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.

Soldering Mat​

Nice for protecting the surface that you're working on.

Solder Spool Holder​

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


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

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