MightyOhm’s laboratories have recently decided to start tackling more surface mount work. As part of this upgrade to SMD hot air reflow stations, they’re handling a lot of solder paste. Solder paste is happy at less than 50degF and above freezing, and [Jeff] didn’t want to chance that lead infiltrating his Manwich, so he built this solder paste fridge. The main unit is a standard 12V peltier based travel cooler. He attached a surplus PID controller with a K-type thermocouple to maintain the temperature while preventing the cooler from being always on. The only adjustment he really had to make was adding a bleed resistor to force the MOSFET to turn off. You can find more pictures of his project on Flickr.
I was poking around spark fun electronics, and came across this interesting walk through showing spark fun’s solder stenciling technique. (I’d put on some gloves before handling that much lead paste) They top it off with some alternative ways of doing reflow work. My favorite has to be the target hotplate method. It’s a nice introduction if you’re interested in doing SMD work to save money and space on your projects [but not sanity. say goodbye to that] Me? I’ve used a 15 watt weller with a dremel modified small tip. It works great if you’ve got some one of those syringes of heat activated glue. Place, bake and solder.