Random Soldering Tips for 1st Time DIY-Pedal Build

My GGG "Rodent" ProCo RAT clone arrived over the weekend, and I'm just about ready to fire up my soldering iron later this evening.

I've have quite a bit of soldering experience, but all of it has been with small electric motors for radio controlled airplanes, electronic speed controls, and lately with patch cables. But I've yet to solder even a single component on a PCB.

I'm planning to secure the PCB in a mini vise so I'll have both hands free. My clamp-on vise looks like this one:


I also have a couple of spring-loaded heat-sink clips, and I was planning to use these to dissipate heat, even from things like resistors and caps that don't ordinarily need such treatment.

I'm in no rush to finishing this build. My goal is to get it right the first time with NO MISTAKES. If I plug it in the first time and it works, I'll be a happy rocker indeed.

So: what are some general tips and tricks that I could benefit from, in no particular order?


Formerly tripp2k
Do a search on YouTube. There is some amazingly good videos on there about how to solder. I know, it is like scratching your elbows but worth the time to see someone give you good fundamental direction that frankly helped me when I was on a DIY kick.


Don't bother with the heatsink on the resistors and capacitors, they don't need it. Probably a good idea with transistors though to be safe.

Just make sure you're heating both parts you instead to solder and keep the iron on them for only a second or so.
Who sells those PCB alligator clip holder-thingies? It looks like a heavy base with two vertical some metal rods. Attached to the end of the rods is some semi-rigid wire with alligator clips on the end.

What is this contraption called?

EDIT: Third Hand. And I just ordered on on eBay for $3.50. Should be here in 3-4 days. In the meantime, I may still use the vise as long as I'm *real* careful.
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