[Marcio Teixeira] needed to recap an old Apple Macintosh motherboard, and came across a simple hack to use common paper staples as a temporary heat shield (video, embedded below) during hot air rework. The problem with hot air rework is minimising collateral damage, you are wielding air at a temperature hot enough to melt solder, and it can be take quite a lot of experience to figure out how best to protect the more delicate parts from being damaged. Larger items take longer to heat due to their ‘thermal mass’ but smaller parts can be very quickly damaged from excess heat, whilst trying to remove a nearby target.
The sharp edges of plastic connectors are particularly prone, and good protection is paramount. Sticky tapes made from polyimide (Kapton,) PET, as well as metallic options (aluminium tape is useful) are often used to temporarily mask off areas in danger of getting such collateral overheat. But, they can cause other problems. Kapton tape, whilst great at withstanding the heat, tends to distort and buckle up a little when under the blast of the rework pencil, and that can make it a little annoying to work with at times, not to mention some brands of tape leave a nasty sticky transfer residue all over the board when exposed to heat, which needs additional cleanup.
Maybe a box or two of staples might be worth adding to one’s bag of tricks, after all more options is always good.
If you’re less interesting in hacking with a hot air work station and much more in hacking a hot air rework station, here you go, and whilst we’re on reworking duff computers, here’s what happens when a Hackaday writer tries his hand at fixing his son’s Xbox.