These are the tools that we put in our own tool boxes

Soldering Tools

This is the soldering iron I have on my bench. It's a solid iron with stable temperature and a nice variety of different soldering tips available. It takes ET series Weller tips. We use 1/64 long conical or 1/16 narrow screwdriver tips for finer work, and 1/8 screwdriver tips for heavier work. The 1/16 or 3/16 single flat tips are perfect for drag soldering surface mount parts.
I don't like the little wet sponges that come with most soldering stations. They cool the tip and impurities in the water can contaminate the solder.

Therefore, I use a dry tip cleaner. There are a bunch of ones on the market, but I like the Hakko because it's well-contained and the angle is good for mindlessly cleaning the tip between joints like the NASA soldering manual specifies.

A desoldering pump, colloquially known as a solder sucker, is a key piece of equipment in your prototyping toolkit. Melt the offending solder with your iron, and suck it away from the part with this tool.

Assembly & Prototyping Tools

This is a pair of straight point tweezers like the ones I use for assembly and prototyping work. I use both these tweezers and curved tweezers, depending on the situation.
This device uses a small vacuum to pick up electronic parts, or anything with a nice flat surface for it to grip. It comes with a variety of suction cups for different sized parts.

Electrical tools

These are the most amazing and easy to use wire strippers I've ever used. You set the depth gauge to the desire strip length, insert any wire from 28 AWG to 10 AWG and squeeze for a professional strip every time. Nothing more — no need to select the right slot for your wire, no partial stripping. The cushioned handles and natural action reduce the fatigue from repeated operation. Naturally, the blades are replaceable as well.

Measuring Tools

These are the calipers I have in my toolbox. I've had them for the better part of a decade now, and other than a chip in one of the jaws, they are still as good as new.
I've had this set for a decade or so, and it's seen plenty of hard use at my hands. It has held up extremely well, and it's as accurate as you would expect from a Starrett product.

Test Equipment

A wise man once told me there are two kinds of multimeters — Fluke and crap. And he was right. This is the model I use. You can also get a number of useful accessories for this multimeter, such as a thermocouple adapter.
I bought one off these at Fry's about three years ago, and it's still going strong with regular use. It's not a precision unit by any means, but it is a good value for the price.
This is a very cost-effective open source pocket oscilloscope that's great for field work. The default firmware is ok, but the BenF firmware is significantly better, and you will get more out of it if you upgrade.
This is a fantastic 24 MHz eight-channel logic analyzer. Besides the solid hardware design and high quality test leads it comes with, the software is dead simple to use. It's all open source, which means that you don't have to buy expensive software modules to analyze different protocols.
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