Soldering under a microscope is weird

But I think I could get used to it if I had to.

I was at Generator this afternoon, and I forgot to bring my 4X magnifier clip-ons, so I had to use the binocular scopes at their soldering stations instead. I would have liked it better if there had been easily-usable vises and clamps — I ended up just putting the board I was working on down on the table and using the baby articulating vise as a hold-down.

The straight-down perspective was particularly strange, and with the limited field of view I was constantly:

  • moving away from the eyepieces
  • putting on glasses
  • figuring out where my field of view was
  • taking off glasses
  • looking through eyepieces and trying to maneuver iron and solder into view

After a while I figured out how to hold the iron at a decent angle without getting my hand in front of the lens. This was my first time with a digital-display Hakko, and I think it has a slightly harder time maintaining temperature than the one I have at home. The solder was very fine-gauge, but it still really didn’t want to melt.

It was really cool, though, watching the solder wet first the pin, then the plating around the through-hole. And when the joint was right the whole molten area turned the color of the circuit board. And although the field of view is way too small when you’re just running up a bunch of headers, I could totally do surface-mount with this rig.

This entry was posted in going places, making, probably boring and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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