Epic Builds: Articulated Stereo Microscope Arm 2

I’ve wanted a stereo microscope in my home lab for ages.  In the last couple of years, it’s become an increasingly urgent need as I’ve hit the age where my eyesight is beginning to change.  Soldering and inspecting fine-pitch SMD work is becoming difficult without the aid of magnification.  So, I finally picked up a ...

Experiments in Drag Soldering 2

Here’s a quick video I did of my first experiments with drag soldering using a new Metcal hoof tip that I picked up on eBay.  This video only shows the technique on Small Outline (SO) packages, which are pretty easy to solder by hand, regardless of technique.  With minor alterations in technique, drag soldering works ...

Rigol DS1102E Unboxing & Mini Review

It’s been a week of new toys for the electronics lab here at the world headquarters of Tangent Audio.  Yesterday brought the affordable hot air reflow tool, and today brings my first personally owned digital storage oscilloscope. The low-end Rigol scopes can be had in 50Mhz and 100Mhz versions (both 2-channel) for about $325 and ...

eBay Hot Air Rework Tool Review

Based on Dan’s review and Dave Jones’ review, I picked up a Kendal 899D hot air/soldering iron rework station off of eBay for about $80.   These tools seem to be good value for the money.  The hot air section works well enough, though the soldering iron has uninspiring performance at best.  They are available on ...

Lathe Hoisting

With the lathe arriving at the house last week, I needed to formulate a plan to get it up onto the bench.  I borrowed a 1 ton chain hoist from one of the guys I mountain bike with, so all that was left to do was work out the precise details of where to hang ...

Totally Screwed

I received a big assortment of 18-8 stainless steel hardware from eBay, with a lot of useful sizes/threads.  It was a decent deal, given how expensive good quality hardware tends to be.  I’m sure I’ve got way too much of several things, and still lack things I need.  If you happen to see something on ...

New Workbench

With the help of my dad, I built a new workbench for the machine shop on Saturday.  I attached the top and notched and installed the lower shelf last night, and also applied the first coat of polyurethane to the MDF.  The bench is quite large – about 11 feet long by 2 feet deep.  ...

Shop Reorganization, Part I of XXIV

This weekend, I started the major effort of cleaning and reorganizing my basement on the “clean” (i.e. non-wood shop) side.  I decided to move my electronics lab bench around, and move the mill into the room which used to serve as my storage/electronics area.  After two days of work, I’ve got the mill set back ...