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DIYing is great, it is cheap, educational and down right fun. But only if you have a comfortable place to do said work.
In this article i am going to show you how to make a comfortable and efficient electronics workshop and what components you should always keep around.
I personally have a keen interest in electronics work, prototyping and building. Working is only fun and calming if you have a good workplace with all you will need at arms length. My workplace is built by me and improved over the years.
I hope you will find some of these ideas inspiring for setting up your workplace.
The first thing you should have a nice comfy area with good airflow, it’s no good to be cramped up in a tiny space with all those fumes building up, so open a window or door and turn on a fan, not only to cool you from all those heat sources but to keep your lungs nice and healthy.
I personally have mine next to a big door so i get plenty of air flow.
Another thing for comfort is a good chair; You want one that has enough padding to keep you conformable and in a good posture. As electronics work involves hours and hours of sitting and working.
Next thing is lighting, My room has good natural lighting and nice bright led lights in the roof, but a good magnifying led lamp makes SMD work a breeze. It keeps the strain on the eyes to a minimum. Observing tiny details and small components becomes easy. If you don’t have good lighting, you could purchase some LED lights from your local hardware store or make your own with these SMD LEDs from LCSC and solder them to a piece of protoboard.
The very basic tool you will need to buy is a soldering iron. For most hobby work a basic 30 to 60 Watt pencil soldering iron will do the trick. If you plan on doing extended work, i recommend to buy a good one and not the cheap china ones as they will fail while you are in between your work and make you angry. Invest in a good Hakko or Pace soldering iron. I have a 120 Watt Pace and it is perfect for my usage. But there is also a really good alternative from LCSC and you can find it here.
Soldering Iron is very dangerous to use without a good stand. But both these iron come with one, obviously the Pace one would be much higher quality but the Mechanic one is sill good.
If you are going to do circuit building or soldering work, a pair of helping hands go a long way. I have some cheap Chinese one which i had to repair countless times. I would suggest not to go too expensive as i have seen those to be not so durable as well.
To clean the soldering iron i have seen a tonne of devices but the cheapest i found is to buy a little container of tip refresher. Works perfectly.
Sooner or later you will be needing a desoldering tool. I have used and broken many over the year and now i have settled for a medium quality large sized solder sucker from LCSC. Its large and has good air flow.
Solder wire is also an important part not because there is not soldering without it-but because there are so many low quality ones that you will get frustrated with . So take the advise and invest in a spool of high quality medium diameter wire. I use 0.6 MM from LCSC.
If you don’t own a multimeter it can be really hard to try and diagnose what is wrong with a particular cricuit. I recommend one with at least volt and amp reading, ohms reading, and continuity testing. I have a UNI-T one from LCSC and it works a charm.
Remember to also keep this in reaching distance and it makes life a lot easier to have one on a stand.
It is key for a good workflow to have everything stored and organized, invest in some cheap draws and divider tubs and you wont regret it. There are some nifty storage containers available from LCSC here.
Tools and Components
Tools and components are what make DIY electronics possible, so i recommend buying some good needle nose pliers, wire cutters/strippers and tweezers. You won’t regret it.
The next thing is components, you need to have plenty of these as they can fail while in a circuit and not having spares will make you pull your hair out. The main things i recommend to have stocked up is the following.
- Electrolytic capacitors, they are really cheap so buy them in bulk at LSCC
- Resistors, These are really good for when working with LEDs as pull up and down resistors. They are also really cheap so buy in bulk at LCSC
- Integrated Circuits, these are great things to have around for semi-complicated circuits, the main one i recommend is the ATMEGA 328 and the ATTINY 85 from LCSC
- Modules, these are great for adding extra features to your product like Wi-Fi or GPS, they are really cheap so stock up on them, E.G ESP32 from LCSC.
These are great for prototyping and making said prototype more permanent. Get some here from LCSC here.
I hope this spread some light on the basics of an electronics workshop and how to make one.
Again i would like to say a big thanks to LCSC for sponsoring this article.