On 6/24/2012 9:28 PM, Fred Cisin wrote:
On Sun, 24 Jun 2012, Jim Brain wrote:
And the classes on electronics were tube based with a casual intro to
transistors after several semesters. I was way too impatient to go
The old Radio Shack "150 in 1" kit, some flea market broken
gadgets, and the Forrest Mims little handbooks from RS were my start.
multi-meter and iron included , I wouldn't change the thing. I
appreciate my iron all the more because I used the cheap one first.
SHOULDN'T be necessary to start with cheap tools, but I couldn't
afford anything else, and it sure taught me what I wanted and created
appreciation for good ones.
I think it "should" be necessary to start
with the cheap ones, or at
least high recommended:
* As you noted in the tutorial and here, it teaches one the
importance/value of the good tools
* It's a smaller investment, as you note. It also teaches one about
the importance of buying the correctly-priced tool for the job. For
example, in woodworking, I have a $19.95 Menards "Tool Shop" belt
sander. I know it's cheap, but I also know that it's the
appropriate tool for my use, as I rarely if ever need a belt
sander. Instead of buying an expensive belt sander, which I will
use 4 or 5 more times in my lifetime, I spent the funds on a nice
set of Dewalt 18V cordless tools, and I use those all the time. The
corollary to this is my uneasiness around people who only buy the
best tools, but don't use them often enough. Yes, I'm glad they
bought the good stuff, but it doesn't seem they'll ever get enough
value out of them. It seems such a shallow view of the investment.
We all know some friend who owns a huge set of Snap-On tools (or
some other tool investment), and uses the 3/8" socket set once a year.
* Sometimes the cheaper tool really is better. I've used a whole host
of desoldering "vacuum" solutions, and some of the very expensive
professional options do indeed work well. But, for utility,
portability, and ease of use, the $3.99 solder sucker bulb I bought
back in 1981 or so from Radio Shack works perfectly. I can throw it
in the box when I go the shows, I've learned how to use it well, and
it and solder braid make a cool tag team of desoldering tools. I
know others will curse the little red bulb, but it works well for
me, short of hauling my pro station to a show.
* Once you no longer use the tools, you can hold onto them for
emergencies (the old RS pencil iron sits in the RV, for the rare
emergency), or you can let others (who don't yet appreciate the good
tools) use them when at public events. I swear by my WESD51 Weller,
but not everyone appreciates a digital station and I'd hate for it
to get broken.
* It rationalizes the expense of the good tools. When I started, I'd
have argued for hours with the Weller owners that they just "wasted"
their money on an overpriced heating element. (Maybe not that
extreme, but I'd probably have thought it). But, when I decided to
buy a Weller unit, I didn't think twice about the price. It was
worth it, and it is. (Cue debate on Weller versus Hakko/etc. for
So, I think your original thought is correct. Buy the cheap tools,
learn to appreciate them, and then move on, all the wiser.