Long Overdue Soldering Tool Upgrades For The Basement

Posted: 03/14/2021 in Uncategorized

Hard to believe that it’s been nearly 12 years since I started Modding but more specifically since I learned how to solder. Without a doubt it has been one of most useful skills to come from the hobby, even if I’m still not particularly *great* at it. But for all that time and all the projects have come out of the basement, every single one of them had at least some kind of contact with the same soldering iron I got when I started.

The cheap consumer level Weller WLC100 had been an amazing tool for so many years, but as the soldering has become a great deal more complicated, I needed something that was a bit higher end.

The Weller WCL-100 is a consumer/entry level iron that ranges around $40 USD

So after speaking with some fellow modders and community members, it seemed there were two options for high performance, mid-range soldering stations. These being the Hakko FX888D and the KSGER T12. I’d considered both options carefully, but in the end I was impressed with the multiple layers the KSGER had for settings. Instead of just heat up/down option, there was a whole lot of programming options built in that I’m still learning.

The KSGER T12 Soldering Station. Around $90 USD depending on options

Down side to this option though, all you get is the unit, the pen and a few T12 tips. So I had to get a little creative because my work bench doesn’t exactly have a ton of room and sacrificing the extra space for a tip cleaner and holder wasn’t going to be ideal. So I designed a tray and bracket system that keeps everything all in the same footprint as the soldering station itself.

Works pretty well and if you want to print this out for yourself, the STL files can be downloaded HERE

Though, you will need 4, 4-40 x 3/8″ flat head machine screws and hex nuts to mount the brackets and also a pen holder itself. Mine came from the retired Weller station but pretty sure you can find them online somewhere!

There was another issue though in that these T12 tips are about 8″ long each! Which made fitting extra tips in my pull out drawers a little difficult. Fortunately, Greg from Laserbear.net (@collingall on Twitter) had a solution already good to go. This can be found here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4706907

You will need a size 608 bearing and may possibly need to sand out the recessed hole a bit to get it to fit depending on print settings. It’ll be tight, but it does fit.

There are even more upgrades on the way that should hopefully keep me ahead of the curve and assist with my aging eyes. This whole soldering to vias using 34 AWG wire is really starting to put the strain the eyeballs. So we’ll be making another post when those upgrades arrive!

So I’ll be back with more gear and more completed projects soon enough and until then, happy modding!

  1. […] Read more: Long Overdue Soldering Tool Upgrades For The Basement — Downing’s Basement […]

  2. […] back in March, I shared a post about some new equipment that the basement had acquired. One of which was a was new soldering […]

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