Soldering and repair tools
Soldering tools and other repair tools I use and recommend
Hakko FX-951 + microsoldering iron (730-KN)
Expensive but great. Purchased used from cool controller/console repair guy on eBay ages ago. Using knockoff tips but they work fine. Microsoldering iron works well with whatever stock tip it came with.
Briefly used. Good from what I remember.
Nice and portable. Built many keyboards with mine when I had it. Good replacement tip compatibility. Downside is that the grip sits farther away and the iron is longer versus Hakko tips.
I haven’t gotten a chance to try one out yet, but looks like a cheaper TS100 competitor.
Rarely use the hot air station. No complaints though. Gyroscopic cooldown is helpful.
10x 20x microscope. The light is useless but magnification is great. Stand kind of gets in the way when working with larger boards.
Hakko FA-400 (with duct)
From what I understand, “fume extractors” are not a sufficient way of protecting from soldering fumes. The carbon filter doesn’t properly filter out flux fumes (?). Look into this yourself though. Regardless, the most effective way of protecting from soldering fumes is to push the air out of the room.
I use HVAC duct with this 3D-printed bracket. Air is filtered and then physically removed from the work area.
Homemade fume extractor
See this video. Mine uses Amazon box and 2x Noctua PPC industrial fans. Fans were turbulent and required a duct (will upload photo eventually). Moves an incredible amount of air, but hearing protection is recommended.
Quality solder sucker. Have had it for ~2 years now. Needs frequent cleaning; O-ring may need replacement.
Multi-purpose repair tools
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
Received for Christmas 2016 (great gift)! Used more times than I can count. Not sure how the new ones stack up, but I love my older model.
Xcellite flush cutters
Good side cutters.
Hakko CHP PN-2007
Best pliers I’ve used. Can easily pick up small pins.
Hakko CHP 105-SA
Great for handling small SMD components. Angle is a little akward and I wish I got flat (90 degree) ones instead, but these still work.
Kester 63/37 .020 spool
Circular saw tool. I sort of regret not getting a wireless model. I’ve been a little hard with mine but it struggles to hold the attachments when putting enough stress on them while drilling. I need to stop and re-tighten. Looking into other options/solutions.
Very precise digital callipers. Used for measuring and 3D-modeling.
Basic multimeter. Probe tips are a little too bit for smaller boards, but I’ve made do.
“KARY” desk LED bar
Went through other brands first, but this is the only one on Amazon that didn’t have any sort of LED humming/whine. Very bright, works great for soldering/repair/etc.
Vantage cutting mat 24" x 36"
Large, quality work surface. Eventually discard when too much solder builds up.