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Starting SMT home company.

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#48745

Starting SMT home company. | 29 March, 2007

I'm starting a surface mount company. Can anyone suggest good start up equipment? Temp controlled solder iron, microscope/ magnifying lamp. Any info would be helpful. Thanks.

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#48759

Starting SMT home company. | 29 March, 2007

For a microscope, you want one with the greatest working distance and depth of field you can get. You don't want a lot of magnification, so something like 0.7 - 20 X is good. If you are buying new, have salesmen bring them by and actually try them on the boards and components you will use.

For hand soldering, I tend to go with Weller. Their tips are pretty good and inexpensive. I am particularly happy with the obsolete EC1302 iron. You can still get new old stock irons on eBay, but you'd have to settle for used stations. For new, I think the WSL with WMP iron is about as good. I hate the handle holder, it is too easy to dislodge the iron off the base and then it is an exciting dance to see if you can avoid getting burned. The handle does stay cooler than the EX1302, though.

I use Pace gear for desoldering work, and they are amazing. I actually desolder some expensive 68-pin connectors off old rev boards, and you can't tell either on the board or the part that they were desoldered!

I'm just setting up a Philips pick and place machine after doing all hand mounting/soldering for the last 10 years.

Jon

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#48760

Starting SMT home company. | 29 March, 2007

Oh, I should have been more specific on microscopes. I have a Bausch & Lomb StereoZoom 5 and an old Olympus. They both work pretty well. I think the Olympus has a little better depth of field, but the B&L has better contrast. (Maybe the Olympus just needs a cleaning.)

There are some cheapie Chinese stereo microscopes that have very short working distance, so are essentially useless for micro-soldering. They'd be OK for inspection only.

Jon

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#48775

Starting SMT home company. | 30 March, 2007

I just purchased some PACE ST-25 systems for basic soldering and they work great. It was a deal at $155 each and they heat up FAST! Tips are around $6 each so the whole system is affordable.

A step up for rework jobs would be the Metcal MX systems. You can get them off eBay pretty easily, but they are not cheap.

I got a $1000 scope with a USB camera off eBay that I am happy with. Pretty good optics and having the camera is handy capturing pix for reports.

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#48776

Starting SMT home company. | 30 March, 2007

Hi Tammy,

If you're starting your own business and are asking these types of questions, I'd suggest hiring someone who knows the answers to these types of questions. Not a slam on your part, I hope your business does well (unless you start stealing my customers) but as an owner you should know the answer to these questions.

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Rob

#48778

Starting SMT home company. | 30 March, 2007

I'm with you on the Metcals, however, you will need very deep pockets for the tips.

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