We're looking for a decent hot air SMD rework station to help us fix up our prototypes. In the past, I've used one of the low-end Aoyue models, and found it lacking (the interface had problems, and the air pump got gummed up after a while). What should I be looking for in a rework station? Any model recommendations?
I'll put a vote in for the Metcal (now Oki) HCT-900 Its basically the same price as the Hakko units but has a much better selection of tips, specifically for QFP/BQFP packages.
That being said, probably the best thing you can buy to ease rework is a convection pre-heater, if your not using one already.
I use the Hakko 851 station at my workbench and have had good success with it. I find that I can deal with chip resistors / capacitors and small ICs (SOICs, MSOPs) easily with it.
I would buy mid-top end Aoyue again ;-) At least you can buy 5 of them for the price of Hakko ;-)
Personally I use KADA 858D (even cheaper Aoyue clone) and it's perfect.
I use an Aoyue 968. Cheap and has a few issues, but for its price there isn't going to be too much to complain about. Temperature controlled soldering iron, temperature controlled hot air (with adjustable flow rate) and fume extractor.