Hello. ...some general PAiA kit assembly tips...
We have this series of inexpensive, simple kits that might include something you could use and develop some practical soldering and construction experience:http://www.paia.com/extras.asp
Here are some general Kit Assembly tips you might find useful in building these or other kits:
Take care when handling the parts as static charges can damage or compromise them. Touch a metal desk or lamp before handling them and don't shuffle across a carpeted floor with them in hand.
For soldering of wiring or other connections to the board, use only
a good quality rosin-core solder for printed-circuit-board work
(60/40 or 63/37 alloy in a 0.031 inch diameter). Silver solder,
lead-free solder, or water soluble flux are not recommended features
for our kits. Do not use paste flux.
A pencil-type soldering iron with a pointed tip (25-35W), diagonal
cutters, needle-nose pliers, screwdrivers, wire-stripper, knife and
a ruler for measuring wire lengths. Possibly you may need a
desoldering tool or bulb. A dvm is useful for dc voltage testing and
Soldering involves using the tip of the iron to heat the metal or
multiple pieces of metal and feeding in an amount of solder that
will flow to join strands of wire or fill printed-circuit solder
pad. There is a balance between the heating of the joint and the
feeding of the solder to the joint. Touch the tip of the iron to the
wire/pads and feed in a bit of solder. It will help with the heat
transfer as it melts, then as it begins to flow to the wire or the
pad and the wire feed in enough to fill the strands (tinning the
wire) or the solder pad. Avoid too much heat or feeding in too much
solder, but heat enough that the solder flows and not globs.
When soldering parts to a board, do them one at a time and avoid
bending the legs over against the pad. If there are many legs
extending through they can get in the way of the iron tip and
solder. If the legs are bent over all the way against the board the
solder will not flow as readily as when they are just slightly splayed.
A damp sponge works to keep the iron tip clean.
I like to recommend Kester "44" solder, 60/40 alloy and in a 0.031" diameter. It readily wets and flows making joints on our kits. Check places like Mouser.com, Jameco.com, DigiKey.com, Wassco.com, or elexp.com for soldering equipment and supplies.
Successful completion and operation of the kit is a lot more likely when you use the pieces we supply and can complete the kit according to the steps in the assembly manual, ie order the circuit board and parts kit, and, case or panel accessories. Then you can take the working unit and adapt and modify it from there, or start with another kit only.