The SMD challenge...
So all these boards are SMD parts except where they can not be or there is no point. I have built up many boards down to 0402 sized components and personally do not see most parts as a massive challenge (if you are careful). In fact having watched a 70+ year old engineer chew through 0603 parts on some crazy looking fragile board modifications I do not think anyone should be scared of trying out soldering on SMD parts.
If you do look at this and wonder if you can have a go at SMD parts then just give it a go is my advice. You can pick up 100 quantity of resistors/capacitors from any decent electronics supplier for next to nothing (much less than 1USD), if you have some good old fashioned strip board/vero board then you could practice soldering some SMD parts between the copper strips. Its not perfect but you will pick up how to make a good/bad joint and it really does not matter if you damage the parts in the process this way.
I have so far been building up these boards with my "normal" soldering iron bit (2mm or 3mm?) as I can not find my fine tips. They are not finished and I have not powered the boards up yet but so far I have had no issues using simple methods such as wicking excess solder off parts, and even just wicking solder joints to improve the quality of them if needed. I am using leaded solder (old fashioned 60/40 Multicore Ersin solder) which is much easier to work with. Trying to reflow or correct a lead-free joint just makes it look worse most of the time (no matter how much flux you use), from my experience.
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An electronics engineer and a long term electronics hobbyist. I like tinkering with stuff and making things.