Surface Mount Soldering

Contents and Introduction:

Surface Mount components, as the name suggests, attach to the surface of boards, not through holes like older components. SMDs (“Surface Mount Devices”) are lighter, cheaper, smaller and can be placed closer together. These factors, among others, mean that the days are numbered for through-hole components with widely spaced leads.

This set of guides will demonstrate (relatively) inexpensive tools and methods for soldering and desoldering SMDs.

SMT Components QFN QFP 603 PLCC tantalum 402 SOIC


  • Video: Surface Mount Soldering 101 : A 9 min. video showing the basics of SMT soldering and desoldering without expensive equipment. Includes soldering of a 603 resistor, a PLCC, a 44 pin QFP and a fine-pitch, 208 pin QFP, as well as desoldering with ChipQuik®, and prototyping with SchmartBoards®.
  • Tools for Surface Mount Soldering : Pictures and descriptions of relatively inexpensive tools needed to solder anything from resistors, to fine-pitch QFPs, to leadless QFNs.
  • Soldering a 1206 Surface Mount Resistor: A tutorial on soldering a 1206 resistor. These techniques can also be used to solder other small devices, such as capacitors, MELFs, SOTs, DPAKs, etc.
  • Soldering a PLCC: A tutorial for soldering a PLCC (Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier). These steps will work for any package with J-leads, also.
  • Soldering two QFPs: a 44 Pin and a 208 Pin Fine Pitch QFP: A tutorial showing how to solder a .8mm QFP (Quad Flat Package) and a 208 pin, fine-pitch QFP.
  • Soldering a QFN (Leadless Package) by Hand(Now with video) QFN (Quad Flat No-Lead) Packages are tricky because the connections are actually on the bottom of the chip, including a heat sink in the very middle. This guide covers techniques for soldering these chips by hand without a stencil, paste or reflow oven. Relatively inexpensive equipment is used, also.
  • Paste and Toaster Oven Experimentation: This guide describes our first foray into using paste and toaster ovens to solder a double sided board with fine pitch components. We try out two types of ovens, review a toaster oven controller, and give a step-by-step process overview.

Surface Mount Soldering 101

9 min. overview video demonstrating Surface Mount Soldering with inexpensive equipment. Includes soldering of a 603 resistor, PLCC, 44 pin QFP, 208 pin fine-pitch QFP, desoldering using hot air and ChipQuik®, and prototyping with SchmartBoards®.

Drag Soldering HowTo Demo

Here’s a quick video of drag soldering–a technique that enables you to quickly solder entire sides of ICs by simply dragging the iron across all the pins.  The key is starting with the right amount of solder, and adding generous flux.  The results are often better and more uniform than individual pin soldering.

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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