[Marcio Teixeira] needed to summarize an old Apple Macintosh motherboard, and came across a simple hack to use regular paper staples as a temporary heat shield (video, embedded below) during hot air rework. The problem with hot air refinishing is minimizing collateral damage, you’re using air at a temperature high enough to melt solder, and it can take quite a bit of experience to figure out how best to protect the more delicate parts from damage. Larger items take longer to heat up due to their ‘thermal mass’, but smaller items can be damaged very quickly from excessive heat as they attempt to clear a nearby target.
The sharp edges of plastic connectors are particularly fragile and good protection is of the utmost importance. Adhesive tape made from polyimide (Kapton,) PET, as well as metal options (aluminium tape is useful) are often used to temporarily cover areas at risk of such overheating. But they can cause other problems. Kapton tape, while good with the heat, tends to warp and tighten a bit under the force of the rework pencil, and that can sometimes make it a bit tedious to work with, not to mention some brands of tape leave a nasty sticky transfer residue all over the board when exposed to heat, requiring extra cleaning.
It might be worth adding a few boxes of staples to your bag of tricks, because more options are always good.
If you’re less interested in hacking a hot air workstation and a lot more in hacking a hot air reworkstation, here you go, and while we’re reworking duff computers, here’s what happens when a Hackaday- writer tries his hand at fixing his son’s Xbox.