Do your mark 1 Eyeballs no longer hold their own when it pertains to fine work close up? Soldering can be a literal pain under such conditions, and even for the Elf-eyed among us, taking care of pads at a 0.4-mm pitch is probably best tackled with a little optical assistance. When the times comes for a little help, consider building a soldering microscope from a Pi Zero and a few bits and bobs from around the shop.
Affordable commercial soldering scopes aren’t extremely hard to come by, but [magkopian] made a decision to roll his own by taking advantage of the streaming capabilities of the Raspberry Pi platform, not to mention its affordability. This is a really basic hack — nothing is 3D-printed or custom-made milled. The stage base is a basic aluminum project box for heat resistance and extra weight, and the arm is a cheap plastic dial caliper. The PiCam is mounted to the sliding jaw of the caliper on a scrap of plastic ruler. The lens assembly of the cam needs to be hacked a little to change the focal length to work within 10 centimeters or so; alternatively, you could splurge and get a cam module with an adjustable lens. The Pi is set up for streaming, and your work area is presented in glorious, lag-free HDMI video.
Is [magkopian]’s scope going to give you the depth perception of a stereo microscope? Of course not. but for a lot of jobs, it’ll probably be enough, and the fact that it can be built on the cheap makes it a great hack in our book.