Chapter 3. Tools

There is much more to tools for electronics than just screwdrivers and pliers. While most of the common tools can be found at a local hardware or home improvement store, many are unique to the electronics industry. These specialized tools have evolved over many years, in some cases starting out as modified versions of common hardware store types, and in other cases designed from the outset to fulfill a specific need.

For the most part, you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of money on odd-ball tools if you stick to the common hardware described in Chapter 2 and avoid things like surface-mounted components with ultra-fine pitch leads. If you need to use an integrated circuit (IC) with something like 144 leads with hair-width spaces between the leads, then you should probably consider paying someone to mount it for you using screened solder paste and a reflow soldering system. For just a single project, it might not be worth the expense of acquiring a decent bench microscope and a fancy surface-mount soldering station and then learning to use it.

This chapter is a survey of some of the common tools you should consider owning for working with modern electronics. It is not intended to be a definitive or comprehensive guide. There are hand tools, power tools, and bench-mounted tools for tightening, cutting, drilling, and trimming. Other tools are used for soldering, inspecting, and finishing. I would suggest obtaining a selection of catalogs from companies such as Digikey ...

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