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In the Make: Online Toolbox, we try to focus on tools that fly under the radar of more conventional tool coverage: in-depth tool-making projects, strange or specialty tools unique to a trade or craft that can be useful elsewhere, tools and techniques you may not know about, but once you do, and incorporate them into your workflow, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. And, in the spirit of the times, we pay close attention to tools that you can get on the cheap, make yourself, refurbish, etc.


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We’ve covered the basics of getting started in soldering, basic soldering tools, and other aspects of beginning soldering a lot here on Make: Online. We’ve also covered some of the ways that makers improve their soldering experience by making their own helping hands, fume extractors, iron-controllers, and other tools and benchtop hacks. Here are some of our faves from over the years.

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Funky-fresh homemade soldering stand

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How-To: Variable temperature soldering iron controller

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Hacker’s soldering station

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Mint tin fume extractor

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DIY Solder fume extractor


Here’s the “solder cup” set-up I use for capturing all of the desolder I suck up with my desoldering tool.

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Extra Hands For Soldering

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Round up of some other Third Hand tools.

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USB powered soldering iron helps you do projects on the road

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“Insanely hot” DIY hot air soldering iron

More:Soldering Tutorial – Make Video Podcast

Maker to Maker – Soldering on Make: television

In the Maker Shed:
Makershedsmall

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Learn to Solder Bundle
Our Price: $59.88
Our Learn to Solder bundle includes a bunch of great products that will get you well on your way to becoming a soldering pro.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • Kent KB

    Gareth,
    Nice stuff as always.
    I love the insights into how Maker’s Make!There is always something to learn.

  • Jon

    I just use a 120mm case fan and stand it up next to where I solder. It sucks all the fumes away instead of into my face. It’s not as elaborate as some of these methods, but it does work very well.

  • The Oracle

    Running a 120mm fan off a power supply makes sense.

    That little red box uses 2 9V batteries in series then a linear regulator to power a little CPU fan at 12V. It’s one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever seen. It’s just a battery drainer. And 9V is the most expensive per watt-hour.

  • Anonymous

    Under $20 (USD) Air-Pencil Soldering Iron

    Original hot-air maker design found here:
    http://www.usbmicro.com/odn/documents/ACC430664DD26DDE5986574AAA62775FDFF29EA1.html