Tag Archives: soldering

Cool Tools: Metcal MX-5211 Soldering Station

Metcal MX-6211
This is it! This Metcal soldering station will make you put away your Weller or Hakko and never look back! The dual simultaneous iron feature means you no longer need to buy two Metcal base units in order to solder SMT components with both hands! At over $800, these cost more than most hobbyists can afford. But for electronics professionals, this is probably the best soldering iron money can buy today. Just think, a year ago I had to buy two stations like this to fully equip a single lab bench for two-handed soldering!

Amazon.com seems to have the best price on these (free shipping for prime members!): Metcal MX-5211 Soldering and Rework System with 2 Hand-Pieces

Note: Tips are not included, but this iron uses the commonly available STTC tips that work with the older MX-500 series base units. Tips are not cheap, typically costing $15-$30 ea, but they will last for years of daily use if properly cared for.

I recommend the 700 series tips (STTC-1xx) for general leaded and lead-free soldering, although the tip life on the 600 series tips (STTC-0xx) is better and the lower temperature is fine for leaded solder and light duty use.

Here are some of my favorite STTC series tips:

  • STTC-125 – General purpose 1/32″ chisel, get this tip first!
  • STTC-117 – Beefy 5mm chisel tip. Like most of the fat chisels and conical tips, this will heat up heavy gauge wire scarily fast. Good for soldering heavy PSU or motor controller wires and ground planes. STTC-125P is also good for smaller stuff like SMD PSU caps and multi-pin connector grounds.
  • STTC-140 – Long reach angled fine point tip, great for general SMT work 0603 and below. I equipped my station with one of these and an STTC-125 and I rarely need to change tips.

Here’s a helpful selection guide that also shows just how many different tip styles are available.

If you just need one iron, the Metcal MX-5210 is cheaper and can be upgraded later.

Rescue Shield kits back in stock – fix your bricked AVRs!

A new batch of HV Rescue Shield kits are fresh off the hotplate and ready to rescue your bricked AVRs! You can purchase kits here.

Also, I only have a few Geiger Counter kits left in stock. Things have been pretty busy here lately, so it will likely be a few weeks before I can build more. Get one before they’re all gone!

Both of these kits are great for both electronics newbies and experienced kit builders.

Don’t know how to solder? Learn how today!

Soldering is Easy shoutout in Lifehacker’s “How to Get Started with DIY Electronics Projects”

Photo credit: bionerd

Soldering is Easy got a shoutout from Lifehacker’s Thorin Klosowski this week in his post How to Get Started with DIY Electronics Projects, alongside Ladyada’s “E is for Electronics” coloring book.

Lots of great advice here:

One of the key things to learn right off the bat is that expert experience isn’t required for DIY projects. You just need an idea of what you want to make, and from there you can find tutorials guiding you through the process.

Sage words.

Announcing the “Soldering is Easy” Complete Comic Book!

Do you want to learn how to solder?  Do you want to make really cool things?  Do you want to teach other people how to solder (and make cool things too)?

I’m happy to announce the release of Soldering is Easy, a comic book that will teach anyone the basics of soldering.

This seven page comic book explains in detail and with pictures how to make a good solder connection.  It also teaches you all the other bits and pieces of knowledge  that you need to successfully solder together an electronic kit, even if you’ve never soldered before!

I worked with Mitch Altman (@maltman23) and Andie Nordgren to create this revised and extended version of the wildly popular one page handout that Mitch and Andie created in 2010.

The comic (and lots more cool stuff!) will be included in a book that Mitch and I are writing about How to Make Cool Things with Microcontrollers (For People Who Know Nothing). It will be published by No Starch Press.

Here’s a sample page (click for a bigger version):

As of late 2012 the comic book has been translated into 17 other languages! A huge thanks to everyone who sent in translations and is helping us spread our message around the world! We would love for people to translate the comic book into more languages! If you create a translation, please post a comment here and I’ll link to it! If you’re looking for help with a translation, you can try posting in the forums.

The comic is released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike), so you are free to teach with it, color it, modify it, share it with your friends, translate it, and basically do whatever you like with it!


The complete comic book is available for download here:

“Soldering is Easy” Comic Book (PDF)

We also have some other versions of the comic available:





PDF File Language Translators
Souder c’est Facile!
Lionel Delteil
Saldare E’ Semplice
Michele Maffucci
Det Er Enkelt A Lodde
Henrik Sandaker Palm
Lutowanie Jest Proste
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Det Er Nemt At Lodde
Jesper Haffgaard
Iedereen Kan Solderen
Ivo van den Maagdenberg
Alt. translation by Deeeep
Jootmine On Imelihtne
Markus Järve
Löten ist einfach!
Alexander Bodora
Richard Meinsen
Οδηγός Για Εύκολη Συγκόλληση
Forrasztani Egyszerű
Menyolder Itu Gampang
Bahasa Indonésia
Rudi Voon
Solder É Fácil
Portuguese (Brasilian)
Radamés Ajna
Solder es Fácil
(Version 1)

2nd translation by juani_c
Att Löda Är Lätt!
Christopher Eriksson
Special thanks to Alexander Bodora for creating this table!


And really, soldering is easy (and fun!).  Learn how to solder and teach your friends!