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Old 29th March 2009, 02:05 AM   #1
Alai is offline Alai  United States
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Default DIY Tools

Which brands are good bang-for-the-buck brands for soldering irons and dremel kits? Anyone have any favorite brands or other tools when they DIY?

Also seeking Forstner bit suggestions... as in from who?
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Old 29th March 2009, 04:16 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Canandaigua, NY USA
Get a Hakko soldering station- a real one, not a knock off. The Dremel Stylus is about the handiest thing on the planet. Not too cheap though. I also don't skimp on diagonal cutters. Get a good semi-flush name brand. One of the best is Lindstrom, but hardly anybody will spend $50 on a set of cutters. Xlite or similar is fine.
I may be barking up the wrong tree, but at least I'm barking!
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Old 29th March 2009, 04:33 AM   #3
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don't bother with a real Hakko, not worth the money for home use, tips are expensive (although you'll probably never have to replace them) but the quality of their irons is kinda getting less user friendly, and more pretty, and the tips wear out more quickly than they used to!!!
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Old 29th March 2009, 06:19 AM   #4
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For soldering irons or stations, I wouldn't settle for less than a Weller. That's one thing I wouldn't skimp on.

There are Dremel knockoffs that are as good as the genuine thing for lighter duty work (sold as "Power Fist" in Canada, but are relabled Chinese generic), but if you're cutting chassis holes for Z-mount transformers and like work, those will die in short order.... the bearings and switch are crap, though everything else is OK.

But, there are exceptions to the rule... China, India and other overseas have some real top notch "knockoffs" coming out that are tougher than the US/EU made tool.... but come with comparable prices to boot. Those often get relabled with "higher" brand names, like Craftsman or Skil.

This guy carries some of those great ones

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Old 29th March 2009, 06:52 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Ames, Iowa
I have an aoyue soldering station and It works GREAT! Huge bang for the buck. The people at use them for their business and I can see why
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Old 29th March 2009, 08:58 AM   #6
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I say buy a cheap Hakko knock off, and see how it goes.

I'm in Australia, so please excuse the Aussie ebay link

actually, I might buy one... I spend $AU320 on a "cheap" soldering station a few years ago, a Hakko would have cost me like $AU450 :S
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Old 29th March 2009, 06:42 PM   #7
slam is offline slam  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: CA
I ordered CSI-2900 (rebanded aoyue) from and it is a joy to use.

Make sure to get the free multimeter along with it too. This one actually has useful AC range for audio works. You never have too many multimeters.
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Old 1st April 2009, 03:30 AM   #8
Alai is offline Alai  United States
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Wow... Looks like I need to start saving money for some of these.
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