This purchase proposal is to improve our capability for surface-mount soldering. This is a big topic of interest for people nowadays, and could perhaps mesh well with the Repair Cafe if they'd like to try doing connector replacements.
Two options here:
- We could go for a cheaper, but limited capability if we want to save some money. This would be a fixed magnification stereomicroscope, and a low-end Chinese microsoldering iron. This gets the makerspace SMT capability, although use would be limited as it's difficult to teach with this setup.
- Alternatively, we could get a simul-focal trinocular stereomicroscope, and more reliable/durable soldering iron. A trinocular scope with a camera makes it very easy to teach people how to do surface-mount soldering, as you can “look over their shoulder” whilst they're working.
1., the cheap minimal option:
- £190, Swift S41-20 dissecting microscope. A pretty standard fixed-magnification scope with twin arm lights. The 10x magnification is really a bit high for soldering work, but it's rare to find the 0.5x objective blocks so there's not much you can do about that.
- £67, OSS T210 soldering station. T12 station that's setup to take Chinese clones of JBC C210 micro tips.
2., the more expensive teaching option:
- £857, Amscope SM3-TPZ with camera. A standard soldering microscope; ring light, trinocular port w/ camera, comes with a 0.5x objective that puts the magnification range in a much more useful ~3.5x-20x.
- £444, JBC CD-2SF microsoldering station. Another more standard bit of microsoldering gear; an actual JBC 210 station. Tips are pricey, but they've got an incredible lifespan as they're well made; expect to replace >2yrs. Station parks/cools the second the handpiece in the stand which helps a lot with this.