Tools and Products I Trust

In my experience so far, I have come to trust certain tools and websites. Some ask me what I use and why. The truth is, it always comes down to the price/quality ratio (and sales are always great too).

  • Screw drivers and pliers: Fuller and Vise-Grip are old brands with a reputation. The prices are great for their quality and you can often buy cheaper multi packs.
  • Soldering Irons: Weller makes great irons. They last long and have a good track record. You can get both cheap-reliable irons and expensive-featurific irons from them.
  • Solder: Quite frankly, you have to test it out yourself. I like to buy 98% pure silver solder, but others swear by leaded and other non-leaded variants. The pure silver generally gives me a stronger and more conductive joint, but again, this is up for debate and can depend on skill. Btw, silver doesn't give me headaches, other kinds do.
  • Rotary Tools: There are many varieties, but Dremel steals the trophy for household name. They take a huge beating and keep cool under heavy usage. Also, I love how much they include in their kits. You will not regret paying a little more for a Dremel than brands like King and Mastercraft.
  • Drills: Milwaukee takes the cake for me. Mastercraft and Porter-Cable make decent and cheap products, but Milwaukee's price more than makes up for its quality. I buy their cordless power tools and I do not want to go back to corded now, thanks to them.
  • Adhesives: 3M for tape is good in general. I've never had to go outside of that. For glues and epoxies, I like JB Weld and LePage if I cannot get JB Weld.
  • Paints: Krylon and Miniwax make great surface products. They can be expensive, but are made to be durable and last long. Their names are well known.

Component Stores:
  • SeedStudio: A great store for buying microcontrollers and related products. Their wiki pages are useful for setting up new components.
  • Sparkfun: Similar to SeeedStudio, but contains a larger variety of components. For instance, they carry lots of neat things such as Arduino controlled coin-slot operators that you find in drink machines!
  • Pololu: A good source of robotics components. 
  • Digikey: A good source of cables and connectors
  • Futurlec: A good source of resistors, capacitors, etc., as well as connectors.
Have any other/better recommendations? Please post comments below, I would like to here them!

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