I broke down and picked up a few new toys..
QK 870 Madell reflow /preheater the general consensus on this is that its not made by madelltech so its better than most of their other stuff, I’ve done two quick tests with it and it performed as you’d expected though the manual is a bit interesting. Adafuit seems to like it too.
i also picked up a QK852 since its on “sale” for $125, it flows ok, the Zephtronics one is just so expensive! Haven’t really tried it out yet, but its useful for rework on some of the more expensive boards i do.
Talking of Zephtronics, I went temporarily nuts and bought one of their paste dispensing systems, not realising it needs an air supply…They say it has everything you need to start dispensing, except shop air, which i have in my other workshop in Vegas, but not here, I’ll have to pop out to the art store for some canned air. As usual with the Zeph stuff its not cheap but well made, I couldn’t tell you if i really needed this ( no i don’t) but since i haven’t been able to test it yet, i can’t tell if its useful, it is definitely a pain to hand dispense paste and keep it consistent and it wears your hand out doing a lot of them, even with zeph’s $25 plunger !
It follows the theme of the Zeph boxes, which i think is a lot of the price. I have their pickup tool, but again its I think its a tad overpriced, it doesn’t work with a footswitch using the typical hole over the pen approach, which I personally can never get used too. Dave@Zeph assures me its just me, and I’ll get used to it. It does work well though, but it does sound like an aquarium diaphragm pump to me.
I also used Pololu’s laser cutting service to make a stencil, worked as it said on the tin, though the edges are rougher than i can do with the cnc’d brass ones, especially since i can sand them.