We don’t know if [Marius Taciuc] was thinking about how all Jedi make their own lightsabers as a rite of passage, but he decided that it was time to build his own soldering iron. He used a Hakko T12 tip which has a built-in thermocouple. However, he found that the information on the Internet about the tips was either incomplete or incorrect. Naturally, he figured it out and you can see the completed iron in the video, below.
The problem stems from the thermocouple type. Some sites he found identified it as a type K device. Others said it wasn’t, but didn’t say what kind it was. He took a container of oil and heated it to various temperatures and then measured it with both a commercial soldering iron and the T12 tip. By plotting the data against known thermocouple curves, he concluded the device was actually type C.
The custom iron had a few design goals:
- Very small
- External power from 9 to 30V
- Small LCD display with backlight
- Rotary encoder menu
- T12 tips
- Monitor movement to manage standby temperature
- PCB temperature readings to shut down in case of overheating
- Audio warnings and alarms
- Statistics available on the screen
As you can see from the video below he made his goals and it looks like the iron works well. We’ve noticed a theme of taking high-end soldering iron components and pairing them with less expensive homebrew parts. This recent JBC build comes to mind. We’ve even seen other Hakko builds.