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8 Essential tools for a Hardware Design Engineer

Hi all Hardware Design Engineers,

what tools do you use every day to do your job? What tools are essential for you and which you found very useful?. Feel free to share and leave your comments.

– Robert
HW tools and accessories
Here is my list of the things what I found useful or what I use when I work on a hardware design.

Tools & Accessories

  • Soldering station Weller WES51. Minimum one, two are very useful when de-soldering (Essential)
  • Microscope IND-2Z. Enables me to work directly on the table and soldering under microscope (Very useful)
  • Power Supply HY3005-3 (Very useful, but if I could, I would choose power supply where power rails can be individually switched off)
  • Magnifier, Eye glass x7 (Essential)
  • Digital Calipper, measure in inch and mm (Very useful)
  • Tweezer (Essential)
  • 0.5mm Tin (Essential)
  • Braid (Essential)
  • FLUX (Essential)
  • FLUX remover (Very useful)
  • Scalpel handle and Blades (Very useful)
  • Colour ribbon cable (Useful)
  • A white tape. White because it’s easy to write on it (Useful)


  • PC or Laptop. I use Dell Latitude E6400 (Screen resolution 1440×900) and I am extremely satisfied (Essential)
  • Second monitor (Must have), Currently I use ASUS VE247H
  • Printer (Must have), currently I use HP LaserJet 1022, but an A3 printer would be much better


  • Altium Designer, my favorite tool (Essential)
  • Orcad used together with Cadence Allegro
  • Cadence Allegro for advanced PCB layout
  • Blueprint-PCB for assembly drawings
  • MS Excel for calculations (e.g memory length matching, …)
  • Free ViewMate gerber viewer (Very useful)
  • Free PDF Creator to print into pdf (Very useful)
  • Free VMware Player. I run most of my work under virtual machines. It’s then very easy to backup complete work/system. In case of something happened to my laptop, I can always start image of my virtual machine on a different computer and continue at work. (Very useful)