Tools for beginning surface mount Soldering/ Discrete Oscillator

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 11, 2021
Have been soldering with through holes in school, but want to start soldering surface mount components

What soldering tools for less than $50 will be good? solder paste?

Also, suppose I want to make a transistor amplifier, how can I quickly "prototype " it? With throughole, can quickly use a dead bug style.


FIrstly, can a 2N3904 Experimentally produce 100 MHz sine signal?
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Joined Jun 5, 2013
I do all of my SMT soldering with a normal temp controlled iron and fine solder wire. I use hot air for removal.



Joined Oct 2, 2009
Your #1 tool that you cannot do without is a properly sized soldering station. You need to spend some money on this.
I use a Weller WTCPT station.


I can change the tips from #7 (700°F) to #8 (800°F) for lead-free solder. The better solution is an adjustable temperature iron but that will cost more.

Also I switch to the finest conical tip available (1/32" or 1/64") for SMD soldering. I also go with the smallest diameter solder you can get (1/64").


Joined Jun 5, 2013
My Chinese no-name soldering station with temp controlled iron and hot air cost about $50. Best purchase I ever made. No trouble with it over about 5 years.

While I am talking about goid things I wish I had discovered earlier, get a brass wool thingy for cleaning the tip. My tip goes in there after each thing I solder.



Joined Aug 27, 2009
They make SMD prototype boards:

Get junk old boards and practice, practice, practice and practice.

I use a very good iron, flux paste, fine solder, tip(s) and hot air for SMD PCB work. It helps to have good magnification of the work.
This board was all done using fine solder and flux paste using the bump solder method with a hot air gun.

Flux and solder a small bump on the pads. Reflux the PCB and device pads with sticky flux paste. position on bumps Hot air gun to remelt and solder in place.



Joined Jan 21, 2019
You can prototype with SMD, I have had issues when changing from THT to SMD, same component, same manufacturer, had different behavior when going from THT to SMD. I now design the PCB and make changes using transformer wire and soldering SMD components to the initial board… cutting traces when needed and stacking components.

@nsaspook thats a nice setup.. I wish i could keep such a clean workbench!


Joined Jun 5, 2013
I use the drag method for small pitch ICs. You basically flux all the pads, tack down opposite corners with the bump method. Then drag the iron across en entire side while feeding solder. You get a mess of extra solder and bridges. Then you use copper braid to remove the excess. It comes out beautiful with minimal solder and no bridges. Find s YouTube video if you want to learn this, you have to see it done.