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I know you will hear advice to the contrary, but I recommend just biting the bullet up front and getting an industry standard weller wes51 or wes51. Coming from the machining trade, I'm sure you noticed it is pretty much the only soldering iron used by professional engineers. I got by for over 20yrs with basic irons and cheap stations, until my first job where I got to use a wes51. Man, night and day I swear! I immediately went out and bought myself a wesd51, a bunch of tips for it, and never looked back. I have absolutely zero regrets spending $130 on a tool I use frequently (avg 5hrs/mo, sometimes 40hrs in a week). In the 10years I've owned it I have not had a single joint it wasn't happy to do well, and I've only had to replace a tip once because they are so well built. It doesn't hurt that the wes51 series also has a very precise temp control so tips (and joints) never overheat. With 50W and well done ergonomics, it makes any job a breeze (after getting my '51 my friends started calling me the 'solder master' lol... thanks to Weller for that).

Now wes vs wesd... really up to you as they both hold very accurate temps. The nice thing with the d model is I just set it to 300C and forget it. With a wes I would have had to make adjustments the first few hours until I got it just right... and if my kids play with the knob I'd have to do it again (not sure if the non d model has a temp lockout like the d does).

You can save $ and get cheaper, but if you do I bet the first time you get to do a decent size job with a wes51, you will regret it. ;)