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Author Topic: Need info on tools necessary to basic kit-building  (Read 383 times)
IRISH_JOURNEYS
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Posts: 20




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« on: February 25, 2004, 06:15:27 AM »

Hi all,

In March I'll be sitting for my CW, Tech, and General exams--yes, all at once.  I don't want to waste any time getting into HF ops.

My question is concerning kit-building and the tools a person absolutely needs to build them.  For various reasons I'm looking at the Small Wonder Labs DSW 2 kit.  I would love to hear from anyone into kit building--and especially anyone who has built the DSW 2--regarding what tools I need to get to put this baby together.  I don't have any electronic assembly experience, but I'm willing to learn new things.  I can only imagine how satisfying it would be to communicate with someone in another part of the world using gear I made myself!!

Thanks for your time and help.

You can also e-mail me at irishjourneys@yahoo.com

Jody
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W4TYU
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Posts: 518




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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2004, 09:06:15 AM »

First you need a small soldering iron,preferably a temperature controled one.

Needle nosed 4" pliers
Flush cutting diagional cutting pliers also 4"
Small pocket knife-sharp to strip insulation from wires
5X Jeweller's loupe to check solder joints
Inexpensive analog volt-ohm meter to check electrical continuity and components
electrical solder
I also like to use rubbing alcohol to clean rosen and grease from board and parts prior to soldering. Fine steel wool also is handy to have.

Most of these small tools can be bought at Radio Shack, flea market, and hamfests.

Ole man JEAN
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2004, 11:19:41 AM »

You might also want to consider a lighted magnifying glass, depending on how good your eyesight is.
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KZ1X
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2004, 12:49:05 PM »

W4TYU's advice is good.  You can also find a lot of good information at www.elecraft.com in the "builder's resources" section.  Don't forget to buy an Edsyn Model DS-017 'Soldapullt' ... accept no substitutes.
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AG4RQ
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2004, 01:15:26 PM »

I just recently finished putting together a Vectronics VEC-1320K QRP 20m transceiver kit. According to the manual, "Tools and Supplies" are as follows:

30 to 60 Watt soldering iron
High-temperature Iron Holder with Moist Cleaning Sponge
Rosin-core Solder (thin wire size preferred, .031")
Needle Nose Pliers or Surgical Hemostats
Diagonal Cutters or "Nippy Cutters"
Solder Sucker (squeeze or vacuum pump type), or Desoldering Braid
Bright Desk Lamp
Magnifying Glass
RF power meter or VSWR bridge (or LED--any color)
50-ohm dummy load (or 1-watt 47 ohm carbon-film resistor
Telegraph key
Headphones or extension speaker
13.8V DC power source
Antenna cut for band of operation

73 and happy kit-building!
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AG4RQ
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2004, 01:17:59 PM »

I forgot to put this in my post. The manual didn't ask for it, but I find a pair of wire-strippers to be indispensable when doing any kind of electronic tinkering. Putting together my kit was no exception.
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W4TYU
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2004, 02:52:47 PM »

Electronic work is like many other things, as you do it, you will find the need for other tools and slowly build up a nice set.
Hemostats and dental picks and probes along with a "third hand" holding device all come in handy.
If purchasing used tools at a flea market or else where, check the condition of the jaws to see if they are not bent or damaged.
Ole man JEAN
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OK8BXF
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2004, 04:29:42 PM »

Hi Jody.

Everyone above has hit it on the nail.  The basic tools for constructing circuits on PCB's are mentioned.  Pliers, wire citters, tweezers etc and Jean makes a perfect point that you will always need new/different tools as you cover new projects.

You know I have never found the tool you use to tighten or loosen the bolts (fasteners) around SMA or BNC connectors on handsets!

As I say the above covers PCB construction pretty well but what about enclosures?
I find a good drill set (2mm to 20mm+) and a hand drill (not electric) is the best for drilling your holes.  I also have a tool form RS (don't know the code) which punches holes for SO-239 or N-Type connectors in enclosures.  It works by first drilling a hole where you want the connector and assembling the punch on either side with a nut and bolt.  All you do is tighten the nut and bolt and the punch closes. A good file set is also very useful, both small and large types.  Maybe not the best tip but with a good soldering iron you can melt nice holes in plastic and file it to shape.  Make sure you do it outside because it gets smokey! and wait till the iron has cooled down and the plastic just peels off.

This could go on and on but as you mention basic kit building I better leave it at that.

Hope you enjoy construction and remember it's not difficult unless you believe it is.

Gavin. OK8BXF / MM1BXF.
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K3WVU
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Posts: 491




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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2004, 05:59:28 PM »

Everyone has given great suggestions, but one very important piece of equipment has been omitted:  a good claw hammer to destroy the source of the frustration when a project goes bad on you!
Good luck, and have fun.

73

Dwight K3WVU
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N6AJR
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2004, 02:43:02 AM »

and a fresh russet potato..  when you have to solder up a mini din plug or such.. cut of the two opposite ends of the potato, so it can stand up on one end, then stick the din plug in the other end of the potato..

it holds it still while soldering and also makes a great heat sink.  

also a cheep bag of small aligator clips to fasten on the leads of items to act as a heat sink,

and your best eyeglasses, one of those hat bands with magnifying glasses on them and a good stationary lighted magnifying lamp/lens  

by the way I'm over 50 and the eyes are the next to go after the hair... 73  tom N6AJR
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G7HEU
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Posts: 261


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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2004, 02:43:36 PM »


I'd recommend a multi-meter ( ohms, volts, mA etc ). I know you said you are new to construction but even for your first kit the meter can be useful:

Double check resistor values whilst learning the colour code.

Check you have supply voltage when it doesn't work first time - that's just before you employ the hammer mentioned above :-).

And more I'm sure.


You'll get what you pay for in a meter but when my good unit went o/s on a Sunday I got one in a d.i.y. store for about $8.

Have fun!

Steve
M0HEU / G7HEU.



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W9GB
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Posts: 2611




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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2004, 10:42:04 PM »

Jody -

A few good web sites for reference purposes:
http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/wt9w/equip.html#WT9W

http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/wt9w/kit%20building.html

http://www.mtechnologies.com/building/atoz.htm

w9gb
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IRISH_JOURNEYS
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2004, 12:06:56 AM »

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied with advice and helpful hints (I got a chuckle out of the russet potato suggestion--it works as a tool and if something goes wrong, a baked potato as well!).  Since I'm new to the hobby I'm sure I'll be asking more questions.

Thanks again!

Jody
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