Workbench Essentials! (Part 2)

Continuing our theme from our previous article on workbench essentials, here we have Part 2 of everything you should have to make awesome DIY projects!





Comfortable Chair While this might sound ridiculous, a comfortable chair is essential for long, enjoyable hours of bench-testing.  What you should be looking for is back-support and the swiveling armless variety.  I’ve had many blobs of solder launched at me from a stray elbow knocking against an arm.  And forget about a stool – Backpain City!






solder suckerSolder Sucker Solder has a mind of its own, much like the villain in Terminator 2.  And if you try to keep your project neat with no stray blobs of solder to short out things, you’ll need a solder sucker.  Essentially, its a vacuum tube that acts on button-release, “inhaling” liquid solder.  When the vacuum is primed by pushing down the piston, out comes a neat little solder-blob that you can empty straight into the trash can.




screwdriversJeweler’s Screwdriver Set A flathead and a Philips’ head screwdriver should be issued from birth, but what about those tiny screws?  You’re screwed!  No, you’re not if you purchase a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers!  They’re essential for assembly work and usually only cost $1 in most discount stores.  Of course, you won’t get much torque from just your fingers, but if you combine these little babies with pliers, you can get anything open!





stripperWire Stripper –  Ever have to strip wires, only to find that the copper itself keeps breaking?  We know you feel and we have the perfect solution:  wire strippers.   They come equipped with wire cutters set to the exact gauge of the wire, loop holes for twisting wire, screw shears, and a crimp tool for quick-disconnects terminals.  So much flexibility!



gerberGerber Multitool If there’s one tool that’s save me countless burns and endless headaches, its a Gerber Multitool.  The pliers are always needed to tear into a fresh circuit-bending project, the wire cutters are always useful, and the bottle openers are there to open up a nice, tasty craft beer!






componentComponent Drawer Ever try looking for a specific electrolytic capacitor in a bag full of mixed values?  Ever have an LED go missing in a pointy sea of diodes, resistors, and loose bits of wire?  Sure, you have!  And that’s why you need a handy box on your workbench to locate specific electronic parts.  Jameco sells component drawers that come equipped with labels, alleviating much of the guesswork that bogs most DIY-er’s down.



flex light


Flex Light Haven’t you listened to your mother’s advice?  There’s a reason most engineers wear glasses:  poor lighting.  Rather than scanning PCB’s in the dark, scouring for a cold solder joint and a broken connection, you could easily crane a flex light and save the day – and your eye-fatigue.  This beats just having a lamp, which isn’t “flexible” enough to meet your requirements.  (Geeky alternative:  You can use a LED headlamp, but you’d look ridiculous!)




magnifyMagnifying Glass Sometimes overlooked (pun intended!), a magnifying glass can really come in handy when you’re looking at tiny parts and trying to suss out where your project went wrong (usually cold solder joints).  That, and it helps to not go blind staring into electronic oblivion!   Plus, you can pretend to be Sherlock Holmes and solve some mysteries. Jameco has some excellent 3rd hand devices that come with a mounted magnifying glass – two birds, one stone!