Solder Joint Defect Picture Guide (+ SMT)

Who knows how this will last, but IPC (a trade organization that publishes solder and electronics standards) has demos of thousands of dollars of all their training material available. This includes picture books of good and bad joints for both lead and lead-free solder (dull and grainy OK for lead-free!) as well as low-res versions of their DVDs, which cover everything from hand soldering techniques, to ESD safety and even PCB manufacturing. The through-hole and SMT picture booksare great references, in particular. The DVDs have great up-close video (and cheesy music). These standards were the primary source for our soldering guides and videos.

poor man’s clamp

When soldering a lot of surface mount chips, or when you don’t have a clamp handy, sometimes the best solution is just a piece or two of double-sided tape between the board and desk. “De-stick” the tape a little by touching it with your fingers to avoid permanent additions to your desk and to make it easier to rotate the board when needed. Only a small amount of tape is needed.


CuriousInventor launched in late 2006 (pre-arduino era!) as a place to enable hobbyists, students, and musicians to create their own technology. We sold open-source kits and tools, and offered numerous guides & videos on things like soldering, metal working, screws, electronics, and more. 

The store is now mostly empty, but we’ve kept the product pages and guides up since they have useful information. Many of our guides and videos still rank on the first page of google searches and have been seen millions of times. Content on this site and the CuriousInventor YouTube channel produced by Scott Driscoll.

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