Soldering Supplies

The typical classroom only needs a handful of soldering irons since the introductory course (Build and Program Games with Arduino) has students program before they solder. The different rates at which students progress through the curriculum results in only a couple needing to use soldering irons at any given time. For this reason, I recommend most teachers purchase enough materials to outfit three or four soldering kits. Each kit should include:

Item Vendor
Hakko Soldering Iron
There are better irons and there are cheaper irons. I like the Hakko irons because they maintain a specific temperature which makes soldering easier for students (mediocre irons often get too hot, increasing the odds that a student will accidentally overheat a component). It's also easy to find tips for the Hakko irons.

Apparently the market has been flooded with fake Hakko irons. I verified on that the seller (Kimko Distributing Corp.) is an authorized Hakko dealer.

Lead-Free Solder (Diameter/Gauge: 0.8 mm or 0.031") Sparkfun or Aliexpress
SRA #312 No-Clean Flux Pen SRA or ebay
Flush Cutters Aliexpress
Brass Sponge Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner
You can purchase cheaper sponges for cleaning your soldering iron, but make sure they are made from a soft metal like brass or copper. Steel is too hard.
Heat Resistant Silicone Soldering Mat Aliexpress
Safety Glasses
Masking Tape
Solder Fume Extractor DIY

In addition to creating kits for each soldering station, you will also want to purchase the following supplies. I keep these items in a locked drawer so that students don't use them prematurely. I keep the solder sucker locked up because I have had more than one student take it apart when it gets clogged with solder.

Item Vendor
Lead Free Tip Tinner SRA
SS-02 Solder Sucker
You can find cheaper solder suckers, but they don't work as well. Also, the cheap ones I had eventually broke (a more accurate description might be "exploded") creating a cloud of fine solder dust. The SS-02 Solder Sucker has a heat resistant silicone tip that you can push up against whatever you're trying to fix.
T18-B Soldering Iron Tip
Students are hard on soldering irons so you'll want to have spare tips around for when they eventually get corroded from overuse and/or lack of proper care. Before you break out new tips though, use the tip tinner on your old tips to extend their life.
Amazon (Untested)
Flux Pen Replacement Tips SRA
Last modified: Saturday, 1 February 2020, 8:59 AM