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I've had a hand tremor almost my whole life that makes soldering difficult. In a general case, there are examples of when hand rework of very fine pitch parts is necessary. One cannot always hot air reflow.

Does anyone rectify similar problems through diet, medication, exercise, setting, eqt. techniques etc.? So what might enable someone to solder very small parts might just allow me to do normal sized parts.

There are several sources that note that alcohol dampens such tremors, but alcohol also dampens pain responses, making it much easier to burn myself. I've heard that blood sugar might play a role. Are there any medications that do not slow the pain reflex that improve this?

What tools and techniques might either help stabilize the shaking or minimize it's impact? Any other soldering tips for people with shaky hands or needing to do very fine pitched work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Despite the mention of soldering I find this off-topic and really a medical question that you should seek professional advice on. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    May 2, 2013 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Practice and don't give up. I wouldn't touch alcohol while doing PCB assembly. Suppose, it does make your hands less shaky, but you'll be more likely to solder a resistor in a wrong place. For starters, monitor things like caffeine, sugar, time of day. See how that affect you does. Many surgeons are careful about drinking coffee, because it may increase tremors. \$\endgroup\$ May 2, 2013 at 23:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I solder with my teeth, avoiding the problem entirely. I'm told the lead exposure could be harmful for some reason, but it hasn't hurt me yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil Frost
    May 3, 2013 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alcohol is not an option given how much I singe my hands. I'm not keen on turning those into proper burns. Ditto any other intoxicating medications. Blood sugar is the most promising option at the moment. I rarely consume any caffeine. \$\endgroup\$ May 3, 2013 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I donno if you're joking about teeth, but I do use my forehead when taking photos without a flash in low light conditions. \$\endgroup\$ May 3, 2013 at 0:42

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For some people soldering under a laboratory stereo microscope - a microscope that has a high stand off distance (so you have room underneath to operate the iron etc.) is sufficient to provide visual feedback and they find they can control their shakes better.

These can be relatively expensive but can also be purchased used for ~ $100. Here is an example of one.

enter image description here Lifted from luxeo website.

Sometimes the shakes are reduced but supplying resistance that the muscles can work against.

Sometimes you can hand solder using solder paste rather than just solder, that reduces the necessity to co-ordinate two hands. And in this case you can use two hands to control the iron in counter opposition. You apply the paste first and then solder.

Some people used a slightly weighted tether on the iron, you attach a lanyard and run it up to a pulley with a weight. Again a technique the provides opposition for better muscle control. It can be dampened also.

These are techniques that are used to hand probe chips at ~ 100 um or less.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is really good advice actually. I'll edit the question's to ask for more such "outside the box" solutions. I've a stand with a magnifier that I'll try to use more seriously. As I work at a university, I could perhaps experiment with other equipment if I ask the right friends. \$\endgroup\$ May 3, 2013 at 7:39

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