NEW PRODUCT – Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D (936 upgrade) – Known by engineers for making excellent quality tools & soldering irons! This is a genuine Hakko FX-888D with digital temperature control! We worked hard to get the best and a great price, these are not Chinese/Taiwanese knock-offs. This iron is an upgrade to the venerable Hakko 936 – smaller footprint but more powerful for a faster heat up time.
The Hakkos have quality construction, this iron is the last one you’ll need for decades. Heats up in 30 seconds, with a calibrated temperature control knob gives precision heat to minimize cold solder joints. Once you know you’re on the path of electronics, this is the iron you’ll want beside you on your desk.
We got the medium tip on this iron, the most popular size, great for through-hole and some SMT. You can purchase replacement Hakko tips anywhere (we’ll carry some soon).
The PSS 3100e from MAFELL is the worlds first self-driven, rail-guided and mobile panel saw. In a single operation, the portable panel saw system handles cutting of lengths of up to 2800 mm (110 1/4 in.) and with the follow-on fence even longer cuts are possible.
Last week in my college physics lab we got to use these variable resistance ‘boxes’. They had two inputs and six dials, and could generate one million different resistances across the two inputs. I knew I had to have one, and why not make it myself? This tutorial demonstrates how to build one for yourself for pretty cheap.
NEW PRODUCT – Hakko Brass Sponge Solder Tip Cleaner. This brass sponge is super glam and super useful. Preferred by many soldering pros for cleaning off the tips of their soldering irons, it never needs wetting, wont cool down the tip, and its slightly abrasive to remove caked-on flux.
This model is made by Hakko so you know it’s not only good-looking but a pleasure to use.
NEW PRODUCT – Deluxe Solder Stand with Solder Roll Holder. This is such a sweet soldering stand, we had to carry it in the shop. It comes with a nice heavy metal frame, a double-wrapped soldering iron tube to keep your hands safe, a removable sponge and (best of all) a solder roll holder! Upgrade your setup for some luxurious soldering action.
Comes with the metal stand, and sponge. Take a few minutes to put together with a screwdriver. Doesn’t include a soldering iron or solder!
NEW PRODUCT! Large Double-Sided Storage Tote Box – This tote is “totes awesome” – plenty large with lots of storage, double sided design, solid clips, clear tops and a pleasing, easy to carry shape. We love this tote for storing all of our goodies and keeping them safe from home to the studio to the workshop. One side has little ‘cups’ that can be removed. The other side has the classic divider system.
Outside dimensions: 13.5″x11.5″x3.25″
One side contains 15 compartments made with movable dividers. Each compartment’s capacity is 2.6″ x 1.9″ x 1.25″, they can be made larger by removing the dividers.
The other side contains five 2.3″ x 3.5″ x 1.25″ bins and five 2.3″ x 1.8″ x 1.25″ bins, which can be removed to make bigger compartments or while working on a project.
If you’re serious about electronics and engineering, you’re going to need some tools to help poke, prod, measure and coerce all those stray electrons into going to their proper destination or tracking them down when they go astray. While hardly exhaustive, this guide will hopefully point you to some of the keys tools you might need to design, build and test things more efficiently.
I’ve tried to list them in the order that I think they should be acquired from most frequently used to more specialized gear, but obviously it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Where relevant, I’ve tried to list at least two models, one lower cost but reliable option for people getting started or intermediate users, and one professional device that I know is tried and tested if you need something that you can rely on day in and day out year after year when the numbers really matter. (more…)
NEW PRODUCT – Aluminum USB Microscope with Precision Stand – As electronics get smaller and smaller, you’ll need a hand examining PCBs and this little USB microscope is the perfect tool. Its smaller and lighter than a large optical microscope but packs quite a bit of power in its little body. There’s a high quality 640×480 camera sensor inside and an optical magnifier that can adjust from 20x (for basic PCB inspection) to 300x (for detailed inspection). Eight mini white LEDs are angled right onto whatever you’re examining so you get enough lighting to see, and are smoothly adjustable via a dial on the side. Watch the above video on YouTube (please subscribe!) and Vimeo.
If you plug this into any computer, it just shows up as a standard USB camera and the Windows/Mac software lets you take snapshots using the button on the side of the microscope or direct from the software (so you don’t move the camera).
We tried a bunch of different USB microscopes and when you need a thin camera, with a precision stand, this one is the best combination of optical clarity, usability, and price. It’s perfect for electronics hacking, rework, SMT (de)soldering, inspection, and soon you’ll find yourself pulling it out to look and photograph all sort of cool small stuff around your lab and home. Its small size means you can poke inside of enclosures to get a good peek!
I painted this monitor stand my favorite baby blue (Rustoleum 2X coverage satin Aqua). I quite like how it came out, especially with the cap piece left the original computer beige. I moved on to repaint my Weller, its pencil stand, my flux can, my other monitor arm, etc. I also painted another matching monitor arm for my oscilloscope, and swapped out the warm fluorescents for some 6500K T8s and “daylight” LEDs.
I’m pretty happy with the workstation overall. It embodies a few things that I’ve learned over the years, like:
Ample outlets – which can all be turned off by a single switch . Never worry if you turned off the solder station or glue gun again.
Very bright, cold lights, at least some of which are positionable. So many hacker workstations are too dark. Physiology of the eye says that bright lights mean small pupils – you can resolve more detail that way.
Solder station, oscilloscope and frequency counter all floating ABOVE the work surface, so they don’t waste precious bench or get stuck behind languishing projects.
And finally, tabletop at a height which can be used standing OR sitting at a stool. There’s nothing like hunching over a bench to eat inspiration alive.
UPDATED PRODUCT – Bus Pirate – BPv3.6. Interfacing a new microchip can be a hassle. Breadboarding a circuit, writing code, hauling out the programmer, or maybe even prototyping a PCB. We never seem to get it right on the first try.
The ‘Bus Pirate’ is a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal, eliminating a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips. Many serial protocols are supported at 0-5.5volts, more can be added.
WOODWORKING is a tricky skill to master. Students learn to measure carefully before they reach for a saw, and to cut as true to the design as hand and eye allow. But, even so, precise cutting is a painstaking job, full of pitfalls and mismatched moldings.
Alec Rivers, a Ph.D. student at M.I.T., guides a cutting tool through wood by watching a computer screen.
Now computers and their tireless calculations may bolster the skills of many people who want to create well-cut picture frames, inlays or furniture but lack the dexterity.
Alec Rivers, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and colleagues have created a prototype for a compact, computerized addition to power tools that automatically performs precision measuring and cutting.
The system, which has a tiny camera, motors and a video screen, takes part of the pain out of woodworking, by using what Mr. Rivers calls “tool GPS.”
NEW PRODUCT- Magnetic Project Mat. Repairs can be tough. You don’t need missing screws making it worse. iFixit designed this mat to make repairs easier. You won’t lose screws and won’t forget which screws go where.
Magnetized to hold tight onto small screws.
Dry erase surface lets you keep notes and stops mistakes.
Reduces reassembly time by up to 40% while preventing errors.
Magnetic surface is safe for hard drives, and other modern electronics.
Anyone who has done electronics repair knows how irritating lost screws can be—if you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a slightly lighter laptop. If you’re unlucky, your $1,000 laptop will be brought to its knees by a $0.05 clip hiding under a table leg. Designed by fixers, for fixers, the 8”x10” Magnetic Project Mat solves this repair problem. Spacious and secure, the mat will catch screws as you pull them out of a device and hold them there.
Use it as a workmat during cell phone repairs, and you’ll be able to stop worrying about screw tracking and focus on the cell phone; All the screws will be right where you left them. For laptops with up to hundreds of screws, use the whole mat as a screw guide and keep careful notes to not get lost. It will serve you as a dutiful partner, and you will lose fewer screws.
The pen is made by Staedtler, the German pen company that makes top-of-the-line artists’ pens and pencils, as well as the expensive precision pens architects use for blueprints. Their Lumocolor Correctable pen doesn’t smear or wipe away like most dry erase markers. If you brush your hand across the mat while performing a repair, the ink doesn’t scratch or smear. But the eraser tip or a dry cloth erases the ink clean every time. Designed and made by iFixit.