When you buying a DIY kit for the first time, a DIY microphone, a DIY compressor, a DIY preamplifier, or any other DIY project, it is always necessary to have the right tools at hand in addition to having the proper electronics knowledge.
Most of the time, the tutorials recommend using some accessories or materials that we will recommend helping you build your Mic&Mod kit or other.
Please note that the items recommended in this article are indicative, we are not paid for product placement.
Here are the essential tools to build in DIY
The soldering station is the basis, it is through it that you will achieve the best soldering, for this, it is advisable to invest in a correct station and with an adjustable temperature, which is not the case with the first price soldering stations. We recommend the German brand Weller, and more specifically the Weller WS81, which allows you to heat at temperatures between 150°C and 450°C, which is ideal. Moreover, it reaches the temperature quickly and its green light indicates if you have reached it. It comes with accessories including a fine tip, ideal for your precision work.
For the accessories, the soldering wire is a matter of choice, if you are a fan of the old-fashioned soldering and that will last over time, the ideal is to take a coil of lead-based tin which is the case on the KESTER 44 which is recommended in the DIY world, it has 40% lead and its fine alloy of 0.031 in diameter that allows you to make beautiful clean soldering and without burrs.
For lead-free soldering wire, we recommend the Weller WSW SAC M1 0.3MM, which wets and flows easily and therefore provides a cleaner, lead-free solder.
You don’t need to take silver solder wire which is much more expensive and will bring absolutely no improvement in the conductivity of your PCBs nor in the sound.
To clean your tip, you will need an abrasive dry cleaner like this :
To clean the soldering, you can find specific cleaning wicks in specialized stores, to clean the PCB, we use an old toothbrush with isopropyl alcohol, the result is always of good quality because the alcohol allows removing the dirt which can be inside and create false contacts afterward.
It is also interesting to have a desoldering pump nearby if you made bad soldering or to redo one that does not conduct well enough. This kind of model TOOLCRAFT LEE-192 will be good.
2) Precision tools
We recommend you to use precision screwdrivers, Facom brand is one of the best on metal tools, this small set of precision screwdrivers will be perfect. Of course you can find cheaper ones, but don’t forget that you will be screwing and unscrewing often, the wear will be more important on lower quality screwdrivers.
You will also need a set of precision pliers (cutting pliers, flat nose pliers etc…) with this kit from Knipex, you have the possibility to start on a good tool.
In addition to the KNIPEX tweezers you have a small precision tweezer, it is possible to buy different shapes for even more precise work. This is a set of Wiha.
To strip your wires, you will need this for different wire sizes. This is the best one from Knipex !
3) Electronic measuring tools
The ultimate tool of the technician is the multimeter, it is essential to have a correct one to make your measurements of components or others, most multimeters from DIY stores have the basic functions for anyone getting into electronics, on our side we use this model, the VOLTCRAFT VC-11499065 which has a large screen and sufficient measurement indicators to make your DIY assemblies and maybe even more.
4) Optional tools
In this analysis, we have highlighted the optional accessories that can simplify the hours of construction that you will spend to build your DIY kit.
To start with having a good brightness, for that the perfect lamp for the electronics engineer is a powerful and adjustable led lamp equipped with a magnifying glass, you can find some between 20 (24$) and 300 euros (360$). Here is an example with this picture
To solder perfectly, it is necessary to have a stabilizer to hold your PCB without it moving. We have a model equivalent to the Weller model in this picture, the Weller EFS120, it is possible to adjust the width of your PCB, it can tingle and to prevent your components from falling, there is an adjustable holding arm, which allows you to wedge the component.
You also have this type of Weller WLACCHHM-02 model with clamp arms to hold the PCB, personally we prefer the first model.
5) Security tools
Security is still an important thing to consider, in this paragraph we explain what you can best protect yourself with !
You solder with lead, or even without but your precision work requires you to have the nose permanently at the level of your soldering, think of equipping you with an extraction hood, they generally function as a kitchen hood, they are equipped with a carbon filter which one can change. Here you have the TOOLCRAFT ZD-153 hood, it is of good quality and removes harmful fumes, of course, the use of a mask is a plus.
For safety it is essential to protect your eyes with transparent electronic goggles, your hands with disposable latex gloves, and your respiratory tract with an FFP2 mask (that we all know by now), these elements remain optional basics but they are the cheapest of our study and those that will allow you to avoid accidents, here are the pictures of the basic models that we recommend you!
The last safety element for you as well as for the life of the components you handle, it is necessary to equip yourself with an antistatic mat connected to earth ground and to your wrist, example this model in the photo will also protect your work support, essential if you handle products which can stain.
Now you are ready to do a good job !