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Author Topic: First Project Necessary Tools & Advanced Suggestions  (Read 51139 times)

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Offline Grainger49

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First Project Necessary Tools & Advanced Suggestions
« on: November 10, 2009, 03:09:35 AM »
I will add to this post as the community make suggestions.

See the post below for links to suppliers.

These are all needed for assembly of the kit:

Soldering iron/station - Just a soldering pen with a stand and a sponge will do.  A station is nicer than just a pen. I went for a Weller but many Bottleheads have and like the Hakko irons and stations.

Solder - Many flavors, your choice.  Just be sure to get rosin (that is flux) core made for electronics.  Stay away from lead free, it is hard to work with.  Do not buy anything that is for plumbing.  DO NOT USE ACID CORE SOLDER!  It will ruin your kit.

Digital Multimeter - I suggest a used Fluke for under $80, often under $50, nice, autoranging, some have capacitance measuring - you need a meter that will measure 200V AC and 500V DC (455V in Paramount) safely.  Those are rounded to the next 100V increment above what is seen in Bottlehead kits.  Beware, cheap meters don't measure well.

A small needle nosed and small diagonal cutting pliers (wire cutters to cut wire and excess component leads) - I like the "spring return to open" type as they are always ready to use.

A medium sized flat bladed screwdriver and a wrench of some sort to hold the nut.

Wire strippers - I find those with wire gauges printed on them easier to use (Klein or Xcelite)

A ruler or tape measure

Wood Glue and masking tape for assembling the base that comes with all kits (except the Quickie).

Safety glasses when you clip leads and solder or reading glasses if you are old like me.

Alligator clip jumpers - This wire with alligator clips on each end is very handy.  Get #16 wire.  Too thin a wire can be a problem.  They make reading voltages much, much safer.

Now I'm adding this:  A backup set of tubes.  One of the first steps suggested in troubleshooting is to swap the tubes.  In many amps that is possible from right to left channels.  But more Bottlehead amps are coming out that have only one of a given tube.  So now I add this as necessary.

These will be handy but are not necessary:

Heat sink clips for use on transistor leads and LEDs - an alligator clip is not quite as good.

A vacuum desoldering tool or solder wick, I have both but prefer solder wick.

A soldering tool (see Alan's post below)

A hemostat (forceps)  -  from RS, they get them surplus and they are very useful holding nuts or as a heat sink.

A lighted magnifying glass on an arm or magnifying glasses.  You don't have to be old to need these.

A small fan to blow the solder fumes away from your face or a smoke absorber from Weller or Hakko. Here

Tweezers

A box with multiple compartments to hold parts as you assemble the kit.

A link to Doc's excellent suggestion from the thread I just went through.

More Advanced Tools:

A "Third Hand/Helping Hands" which is a heavy base with an arm and two alligator clips on the end - used to hold small circuit boards or a component when soldering (mentioned below in Breakfastchef's post).

Alligator Clip Jumpers (good for safely testing voltages).

An X-Acto knife

Nibbler - can make a square hole, a little at a time.

Hot Glue Gun - for "tacking down" wires and larger components to the top plate.

Knockouts
- makes a round hole or makes a round hole bigger (AKA Chassis Punch).

Dremel Tool - it doesn't hammer but does almost everything else.

Ignition Wrench Set (at Sears) - great for tightening RCA Jacks and those nuts in tight places.

Nut Drivers - good with "nuts"

A small tablet or smart phone with front and rear cameras - From rif, for looking where your eyes won't go.

A set of small files

A ream - makes holes larger a little at a time.

Electric drill and a drill press.

"Unibit" Stepped Drill Bits

Dental picks

Heat Shrink Tubing and a heat gun to shrink it (you can use a hair dryer).

Cable ties

Oscilloscope - the ultimate voltmeter, can be had used for $100-$200.

Edit: Check "reply #30" for a picture of a few suggested tools.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 11:47:29 AM by Grainger49 »

Offline Grainger49

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The Shopping Links:
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2009, 03:32:32 AM »
This post contains hot links to sites that sell tools.

In alphabetical order:

Allied Electronics

AuidoXpress/Old Colony Sound Lab

Digi-Key

Harbor Freight  Good Cheap Tools

Jameco Electronics

MCM Electronics

Mouser Electronics

Newark Electronics

Parts Express

Radio Shack

Sears  Lifetime Warranty On Craftsman Tools
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 06:21:34 AM by Grainger49 »

Offline booangler

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2009, 06:29:26 AM »
Grianger,

Nice list, and links are fun to explore, especially when you are home with back spasms.

One of the first tools that I made was a Dim Bulb Tester, invaluable tool to me. Right up there with a soldering tool.

Cheers,  Alan
The joy of music should never be interrupted by a commercial - Leonard Bernstein

Denon POA | PJCCS Quickie | Hagerman Bugle | SOTA Sapphire w/ Grado Gold | B&W 602

Offline Grainger49

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2009, 06:49:51 AM »
Alan,

I haven't found anything that is fun to go with back spasms.  I like to be amusing.  I thought I might collect some information from the old site that I knew was there.

Any additions of either tools or seller's sites would be appreciated.

By the way, how do you use a soldering tool?  I had one once but nobody ever showed me how to use it.  And I started with a neon tester.  
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 04:11:42 AM by Grainger49 »

Offline Air

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$14 Solder Station
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2009, 06:55:55 AM »
MCMElectronics.com (no affliation) had a Tenma variable heat soldering station on sale a few days ago for under $14 USD. A Radio Shack pen cost about $8 so it seems worth the risk, don't know if the tips are interchangeable (doubt it). I think the sale runs through end of November.
 -Chuck
Chuck McCalment    Linn TT- Seduction (C4S), EFPIII, Parabees's w/ shunt reg and DC heaters. Nava interconnects, homebrew power and speaker cables,  Homemade three way & S8's w/ ribbons for Christmas.
a Technics RS1500 that needs a little love.

Offline jbraveman

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2009, 10:04:06 AM »
Thanks for the list.  As a newbie, this type of information is very helpful.  Other questions I've been dealing with as this is the first time I've soldered anything:

1) What to do when the tip gets oxidized while you're working. (I've ordered a tip polisher)
2) What size soldering tip is best for this work?  My soldering station came with a screwdriver sized tip.  It seems like a conical one might be better.
3) What is the best way to make good mechanical contact before soldering with these small joints/wires.
4) Tricks for wire stripping.  I have a stripper/cutter, but I seemed to mangle a fair number of the wires

Offline booangler

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2009, 10:58:33 AM »
J,

My thoughts are this:

1) Wipeing the tip on a damp, not wet, sponge after and before every use can help keep the oxidation to a minimum. When you are all done soldering for the day, coat the tip with solder before shutting the iron off.
2) I use an 1/8 inch flat screwdriver tip for most of my work. Remember this is a personal choice and as such if your Iron supports replaceable tips by some extras.
3) When you can, twist or warp the wire around the lug, post, or terminal.
4) I just bought a quality 16-26 AWG stripper from Mouser to replace the Auto Stripper I was using.

Best of success to you, and keep asking questions.

Alan
« Last Edit: November 15, 2009, 11:00:36 AM by booangler »
The joy of music should never be interrupted by a commercial - Leonard Bernstein

Denon POA | PJCCS Quickie | Hagerman Bugle | SOTA Sapphire w/ Grado Gold | B&W 602

Online Paul Joppa

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2009, 11:47:10 AM »
...
2) What size soldering tip is best for this work?  My soldering station came with a screwdriver sized tip.  It seems like a conical one might be better.
...
4) Tricks for wire stripping.  I have a stripper/cutter, but I seemed to mangle a fair number of the wires
Booangler's tips are excellent so I'll just expand on them a bit.

A conical tip is most precise, but it also holds the least heat so anything larger than a transistor lead wire will take more time to get everything hot enough. The screwdriver tip has more area for better heat conduction but still hace enough narrow dimension to work with precision. Once you get enough experience you can use pretty much anything if you have to - I used a 250-watt soldering gun (made for plumbing, not electronics!) for years; now I'm using a narrow conical tip because I'm too lazy to order a more useful one. When I was young I had a woodburning set with an optional "soldering" tip which was more of a stubby-pencil conical shape. Doc B uses a screwdriver tip but he never lets me use his soldering station, I'm too ham-fisted!  :^)

Better wire strippers really are better. Sad, because I have a $5.95 stripper and I'm too cheap to replace it for 5 times the cost, but whenever I work with Ed I just love to use his wire stripper, it does so much better a job.

You've probably figured out from the above why I get to do more designing that building.
Paul Joppa

Offline Grainger49

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2009, 11:54:11 AM »
The two suggested tool makers at the top make wire strippers you will use for 20 years or more.  Home Depot carries one or both.

I have been using a small screwdriver tip on my soldering iron for the last 30 years.  I have used conical, but don't like them myself.  I am an experienced kit builder so I don't burn transistors.  But someone new to the hobby, and PJ is anything but new to the hobby, will find the pencil tip kinder to solid state devices.  This, screwdriver tip/pencil tip, is a personal preference thing.  Buy one of each and swap out to decide for yourself.

Look at the link to Doc's suggestion at the top.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 04:33:22 AM by Grainger49 »

Offline JC

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2009, 01:51:44 PM »
I've always used a fine conical tip for circuit boards.  They are useful for that duty.  A narrow screwdriver tip or chisel-tip, as they're sometimes called, for everything else.

A 35W or 40W Weller can last an awfully long time if you take care of the tip.  And, don't leave it on all day by mistake!  A stand to set it in between joints is a really good idea, if for no other reason than peace of mind.  If you're always keeping one eye on a hot iron just laying on the table, the distraction can lead to other "issues".

I've always used the simple X-Lite stripper that consists of opposing 'V' notches.  They take a little practice to keep from nicking the wire, but they do a wide range of wire sizes.

Needle-nose pliers come in a variety of sizes, and a variety of sizes can be pretty useful, I've found.  The tip when buying pliers and diagonal cutters is to see if they close properly, with little or no light between the two halves.  Pliers that don't mate well can be quite frustrating to use.

Thanks for hunting this up, Grainger!
Jim C.

Offline Grainger49

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2009, 02:51:10 PM »
Thanks JC,  Most of it was culled from the thread on the old forum.  I can find a wealth of information there.  But first I had to find the "Boolean and" on the search tool.

Offline 2wo

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2009, 02:57:32 PM »
Sears has a good 16-26 AWG stripper, 10 bucks of so. Look for the yellow handled one with the number 82554.

Guaranteed for life :)
John Scanlon

Offline breakfastchef

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 05:01:42 PM »
My list of standard equipment and accessories for hardcore DIYers...

Equipment & Tools

- Xytronic 379 soldering station, temperature controlled ($50 from howardelectronics.com)
- Helping hands (Radio Shack has these)
- Hands-Free Magnifier (like this one - http://www.garrettwade.com/shopping/product/anotherview.jsp?img=/product/large/19R0501_large.jpg)
- Solder Sucker
- De-soldering Braid
- Digital Multi-Meter (picked up a decent one at Wal-Mart for $20)
- Wire strippers
- Wire cutters (regular size and miniature)
- Needle nosed pliers (miniature, variety of shapes)
- Tweezers
- Forceps
- X-Acto knife
- Dental pics
- Screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. (stuff you probably have on hand)
- Test leads with alligator clips on each end
- Rulers (6" works fine)
- Drill and bits (drill press can come in very handy, too)
- Step drill bit set
- Small files
- Light source on articulated arm
- -Nut drivers

Supplies
- Solder (most any lead solder with flux core should be fine)
- Flux
- Small brushes (dusting, flux application)
- Cable ties
- Heatshrink tubing (selection of various diameters)
- Heat Gun (to shrink the heatshrink tubing)
- Containers to hold parts

Offline Grainger49

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2010, 04:47:14 AM »
Breakfastchef,

Thanks for the additions.  They have been added at the top.  Your link to Garrett Wade only goes to the main page.  However, it might be similar to this one at Harbor Freight:  http://www.harborfreight.com/helping-hands-319.html  This is what I referred to as a third hand.  As you can imagine it is a fraction of the price at HF.

Again, thanks!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 04:35:30 AM by Grainger49 »

Offline Tube Newbie

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Re: First Project Suggested Tools
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 02:18:56 PM »
Good info here!!! 

Thanks All!!!

Ron