For a while I've been fiddling with electronics, designing my own pcb's and soldering a lot of thing together, which is lots of fun. I've become quite comfortable soldering small parts, like 1206 resistors (by hand) and SOT-23 packages (solder paste + hot air).
I now often come across parts that are basically supposed to be used in a professional way, by pick and place machines, for example, parts like TPS63001 (3x3 QFN package) or the MAX17043G+U (TDFN-8) and was wondering if I should attempt to use them and what would be the best approach. I know that using parts like those are best suited to be picked & placed in a automated way, but price wise that doesn't really seem to be a option for one off prototypes.
If I want to solder these parts manually, what kind of equipment should I be looking at? (Or should I not attempt using them at all? ) I currently only use a soldering station (a cheap baku) that also has a hot air gun, which is ok, but not perfect, so I was already thinking about buying a proper soldering station (maybe a weller). Would hot air be a good way to go with these small parts, or should I look at hot-plate soldering or even a reflow oven? Should I look into some device for magnification? maybe a electronic microscope? And what about a solder paste dispenser? would it be more suitable than stencils for one-offs? Any other tools that would be required for this work?
My main problem with soldering paste is currently that I don't have a proper way of putting the right amount on for these small parts. Usually I pot on too much which leads to shorts in the circuit.