We at BA Engineering have been preparing ourselves for the production of our Datsun 510 LED Tail Lights. During the prototyping phase of this project we soldered all of our surface-mount devices (SMD) parts with a hot air gun. Hot air guns are cheap and easy to use – perfect for prototyping. However, using a hot air gun for a large number of boards, especially boards with hundreds of components, can become cumbersome. Because of this, we needed to find a new solution for soldering. Our initial thought was to purchase a reflow oven – but then we saw the price tag. From what we gathered, a decent reflow oven costs over $4,000, something our small business can’t afford. We then stumbled upon the ControLeo2 reflow oven controller. The ControLeo2 is a kit that allows you to convert a toaster oven into a reflow oven. Converting a toaster oven to a reflow oven requires quite a bit of modification to the toaster oven, but it is significantly cheaper than commercial reflow ovens of similar quality. The toaster oven we decided to modify was a Black and Decker TO3250XSB. This oven’s dimensions measure 16.5″x12.5″x9.5″, making it suitable for the large size of our tail light panels. It will also be able to accommodate multiple boards. By using the Black and Decker convection oven, we were able to achieve a low cost solution for mass board production using an off-the-shelf unit and the ControLeo2. The ControLeo2 uses SSR (solid-state relays) to switch heating elements on and off based on the reflow curve. This oven features a top, bottom and boost heater. Inside the oven, the interior has been lined with DEI Reflect-A-Gold heat tape to trap the heat inside. We also added an external welding blanket surrounding the main compartment to insult the oven further. Additionally, this model is equipped with a convection fan that helps move air around the oven for even heat distribution. The reflow oven we assembled is now calibrated and ready to proceed with a production batch of tail light panels. The reflow oven should prove to be an effective solution and time saving tool for our team. Here are a few pictures of the oven. Let us know what you think in the comments below.