SMD Soldering

Most of my electronic construction is SMD (surface mount). Usually a soldering iron is sufficient for the job, but when it isn't I have used a contract manufacturer to fit the fine parts. However with my relocation there is no longer someone handy to help. The solution is to use solder paste. This is dispensed from a sringe. To reflow it I preheat the PCB on a hotplate, and use a small hot air gun (as used for craft work for embossing).

The hot plate was home built using a cheap clothes iron:

This was mounted onto an aluminium plate. The plate was then housed in a box. This box is lined with metal sheet. Modelling clay was placed in each corner (around a screw to hold it in place) used to build the holders for the plate.

In use the PCB ready for soldering (pasted and parts placed) is put onto the hot plate. After warming for a few minutes the hot air is used to melt the solder.