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DIY Board Holders for SMT Rework

There are lots of tool choices in the SMT Rework field but many are expensive. Over the past few years there has been an increase in the amount of tools available particularly from low cost Chinese manufacturers (Hakko, Aoyue, Tenma, etc). Most of the equipment I use is from these low cost manufacturers since I simply cannot afford to spend $1000+ for a single specialized piece of hardware. The only expensive piece of equipment I have is my JBC Hot Air Pencil that was purchased from a former employer and I couldn’t pass up the deal. One area I see lacking is board holders. There are plenty of systems out there for holding boards but the cheap ones are … cheap. The expensive ones I’ve seen are complicated or just cost too much. The best holders I’ve used are made by Martin SMT. They’re simply a magnet base with a spring loaded clamp that holds the board. But they unfortunately cost $70 each. You really need 3 at a minimum and 4 is good for the bigger boards which will run you $280, ouch. So, I set out to make my own.

Update Aug 2, 2016: Finally, there is a well engineered, moderately priced magnetic board holder available called PCBite in a set of 4 with steel plate. Mine have been doing me well for more than a year, but it might be time for an upgrade.

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Posted by on Sat, 8 Nov 2014
tags: repairs, smt, rework.