[ZL2PD] needed to replace an old Weller soldering station and decided not to go with one of the cheap soldering stations you can find all over the Internet. He has a long story about why he had to design his own controller, but you never have to explain that to us. He kept detailed notes of his journey and in the end, he built three different controllers before settling on one.
He started with a Hakko hand piece that uses a thermistor for temperature measurements. The first iteration of the controller had analog controls. He wasn’t happy with the number of parts in the design and the simple LED display. That led him to replace the controller with an ATTiny CPU and a use a serial LCD.
The third and final version still uses the CPU. [ZL2PD] realized the LCD display wasn’t very useful, so he went back to the LEDs and created a PCB. Finally satisfied, he created a 3D printed enclosure, an artistic dial scale, and scavenged a tool holder. The results look pretty good and there has to be something satisfying about soldering with a station you designed yourself.
Seems to us all he has left is to hack a fume hood. Or perhaps he’ll build a desoldering companion. If you want to duplicate his results, be aware that some irons use different types of temperature sensors. Or you might just want to blow $16 on a cheap station (see the video below) and work on other projects. We won’t tell.