Description: This hot-air rework station is great for professionals and hobbyists in need of tight temperature tolerances and large air flows. This unit displays a digital readout of the actual air temperature with a flow rate of up to 23L per minute. This very powerful unit can be used for multiple applications including standard SMD reflow/repair/removal, thermal IC stress testing, thermoplastic welding, and shrink-wrapping.
Dimensions: 224 x 126 x 110mm
Based on 31 ratings:
6 of 6 found this helpful:
I’m an experienced electronics hobbyist who’s done lots of through-hole soldering, but relatively little SMD stuff. (I built a SoftRock RXTX transceiver – which has quite a few SMD parts – using only a soldering pencil. It was a huge pain.)
After spending an evening using the 303D to solder some practice kits, I’m a believer. It takes a little practice, but it’s easy to use and produces great results. Surface tension and the solder mask do all the work for you.
Every tried to use a soldering pencil to connect an SMD part where some or all of the pads are completely underneath the part? Can’t do it. With hot air, it’s a snap.
Soldering an SOIC with lots of pads? Good luck not making bridges between adjacent pins with a pencil. With hot air, just smear a line of solder paste across the pads on the board, put the part someplace close to the right position, and heat things up. The solder mask will make the solder “bead” to just the places it should be, and the surface tension will actually pull the part into exactly the right position.
Need to desolder a surface mount IC with 40 pins, and still be able to use that IC when you’re done? Hot air is the only way.
The 303D heats up fast, is easy to read and adjust, and runs quietly. (There is some fan noise on the higher air speeds.) Note that I haven’t used any other hot air rework stations, so I can’t compare it to others, but I’m super-happy with this purchase.
Watch the SparkFun video – it’s helpful. I found the “middle of the dial” air speed setting a little too fast; it was blowing my 0402 resistors all over the bench. [Edited to add: I was using the smaller of the two nozzles shipped with the unit. In the video, they were using the larger one. That’s why I needed a lower air speed setting.]
If you’re on the fence, and especially if you’re struggling to solder SMD stuff with a pencil, jump on this. It’s one of those “Where has this been all my life?” tools.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This thing is basically a magic wand that costs $115. You can wave it over an SMT component while barely tugging with a pair of tweezers and the component will come up, usually in reusable condition. You can do the reverse of that. You can make tiny grilled-cheese sandwiches. You can light cigars. I’m pretty sure that at 900 centigrade you can melt aluminum. Why pay more?
2 of 2 found this helpful:
These rework stations continue to perform day after day and have not let us down in the 14 months since we purchased the first one. We just bought the second station, and already have it working overtime.
The small nozzle was broken when received.
Hi, We’ll help get you a working nozzle. I’m going to send you a private email to work this out with you. Thanks
This thing just oozes quality. Other reviews cover everything you need to know. Just adding another voice to the choir. Make sure you watch the YouTube intro video.
It quickly heats up, the controls work well, and it doesn’t take long to cool off when I turn it off. The attachment for holding the hot end is convenient. Only complaint is that it only comes with the two nozzles. It would have been nice to include a few more with it.
I’ve wanted one of these for years but never committed to buying one. I finally did and I’m so glad I bought it! The build quality is excellent. It has some nice features like automatic cool down. It also comes up to temperature quickly and the controls are easy to use. It took some experimenting to find the best settings and skill to use, but I was eventually able to get all the parts I wanted desoldered from the board, and of course for 44 pin QFP surface mount chips that would be almost impossible to do with any other tool.
I just wanted to start working with SMD components and designs, but the hand-soldering smd process is a pain in the [censored].
I didn’t wanted to spend my money on something cheap that simply doesn’t work so I gave the 303D a try and I was surprised of the excelent quality and easy to use.
Now I want to work only with SMD components because this thing make its incredibly easy to do.
I recommend to get one of these is one of the best investments that you could made.
I use to have to drive into work when I needed to do Hot-air work on the weekend. It gets plenty hot. With the digital display it is easy to get the same temperature again.
My only complaint is that it does not turn up the fan speed when cooling down. That is why only 4/5.
Pro tip: When soldering a QFN part, tin the pads on the part first and use flux. If you’re the one laying out the board, make the pads stick out from under QFN parts so you can get the heat under it.
I haven’t owned another rework station, but from my limited time with it, it works really well for what I need to do. If I had to say anything negative, it would be that the air-tube is a little short for my workstation. Another 6 inches and it would have been perfect for me.
Best $100 I have spent on a rework tool!
Well built at a glance. Heats up fast, does the job. Amazing price.
We tried one of these where I work and I liked it so much I bought one for home.
It’s quiet, fast, simple to work and very responsive. You can set the air-flow exactly as you need it for perfect re-flow without blowing parts off the board. It doesn’t take up much space so it’s convenient to have it on the bench. I actually use it for more than re-work. It’s also great for the occasional heat-shrink job and drying stuff.
It seems many of the off-the-shelf nozzles fit if you feel the need for other shapes. You simply can’t beat the deal if you want the simplicity along with a good display.
I’ve only used it a few times but it’s already payed for itself.
In my stupidity I had forced a micro usb plug into a SMD micro usb jack and the extra force broke the jack off. Since I had the rework station and a cheap usb microscope, I decided to see if I could use the rework station to reattach the usb jack. It worked, and my $125 duet 3D printer board is working again. This station is worth every penny.
It purrs and pumps out regulated hot air. I can remove a single component on a surface mount board quickly and easily without disturbing the components around it. The temperature setting is digital and it reaches temperature quickly. I prefer an electric skillet for re-flowing a whole board, but I can re-flow with this in a pinch. Changing a resistor or capacitor value is a snap.
Without a nozzle it’s great for heat-shrink tubing. I can set the temperature to activate the shrink without overheating things inside. I can use it in its stand so both hands are free.
It looks sharp too. I don’t know how they make it for the price.
Works as expected. Works fine using a 300W 220V -> 110V converter.
It is a wonderful equipment to rework boards of other devices.
The station arrived in good shape and within acceptable time. The station worked as advertised and seems to hold it’s temperature. I was able to remove and replace SMDs with no problems and no overheating.
Thirty six years in the electronic repair & service industry! Been using Pyro-Pen all these years but this hot-Air machine is so great already paid for itself the first time I used it!!!!! Thank you Sparkfun. Mike Nab@ Mike’s Electrnics.
solder melts very quickly, air blows most of it from the joint so the components are usually clean enough to use without removing blobs of solder from leads.
I have only used it once to remove a 16 lead TSSOP component I had soldered in backwards. It was easy to unsolder it and re-solder it in the correct way. I was able to reuse the component. For the price it was a bargain!
Easy to use, easy to setup, and excellent results.
I am really happy with this Hot air rework station. It’s probably one of my favourite tools in the arsenal.
I’ve built a few SMD prototype boards using it. QFPN-100 chips I am using soldered and removed without issues. As well as all the other “jelly bean” SMD components. It’s perfect for prototype work and it has also retired my heat gun for shrink tubing.
The build quality seems great as well. All tools should be like this! Single purpose, simple to use and no frills. Would buy again definitely.
I started out soldering SMD with an iron. That was a nightmare of solder bridges and burning traces off of the board. After that I briefly experimented with the hot plate method that Sparkfun was advocating at the time, but found it too difficult to regulate the temperature and get a uniform heat transfer from the hot plate to the circuit board.
After that I moved on to the toaster oven and got good results by turning it on and off when it reached certain temperatures in a way that approximated the reflow profile provided by the solder paste manufacturer.
This product addresses certain issues that I ran into with the toaster oven method.
One is that it frees me from the need to populate the entire board before baking it. This can be a problem since I sometimes jostle a previously placed component while positioning another one, or cause things to become misaligned while sliding it into the oven.
Another issue is that the $30 toaster oven does not produce a uniform internal heat distribution, so some portions of the board become too hot in order for other areas to become hot enough. With this tool I can control the application of heat to each area and pull it back if it looks like something is getting too hot.
I recommend using the large nozzle for soldering and the small nozzle for de-soldering. The small nozzle produces enough pressure to blow away the solder paste. This is bad if you want the paste to stay in place and melt, but good for cleaning residual solder off the pins of a part that you intend to re-use.
Good luck in all that you do, Alexander W. MacFarlane IV Ph.D.
I have soldered SMD components using a soldering iron before, not really fun. So I decided to buy this station and now it is fun. The price is right, its features are right and it is really easy to use.
If you have not used hot air for soldering SMD, watch the videos on YouTube. It is really easy, you only have to watch for using the right amount of soldering paste, the right temperature and the right air flow.
I cant believe the quality of this tool for 114.00!!!!!!! great piece of equipment Thanks Sparkfun.
I don’t yet know how well it works. I have not used it, plan to do so soon. Will let you know what happens.
Does what it says on the box. Had no issues using it. fixed a few things with it already.
This hot-air rework station is one of the best I’ve used. The temperature control with digital readout is fantastic. I don’t have to guess as much about whether or not I’ll scorch the PCB.
I haven’t used it a lot yet, but it has been a tool of excellent quality so far. Since this is my first foray into hot air work, there is a bit of a learning curve. Rather than head right into it, I’ve been learning a lot by taking old pcb’s and playing around with them.