Soldering Toolkit Info
See Also: How to Solder (Electronics Fabrication Guide)
Stuff You'll Need
These things are must-have and you won't be able to do the project without them. :( But it's not the dark magic it may seem :)
Use this item to heat and melt solder joints for attaching electronics to the circuit board. If you plan on getting involved, don't skimp and go for a good one. It will be a good trade (money for less future frustration). Most hobbyists work with an electric soldering iron like the one pictured below, generally using one rated at between 20W and 40W. Go for one with a point rather than a screwdriver-like end. A pocket gas-powered iron of up to 50W is perfectly acceptable as they can be controlled easily.
If budget is not an issue, you might want to go for a more advanced soldering iron like the Aoyue 968 Digital Rework Station.
This is an expendable item that you melt to create electronic joints. Its fairly common and you can get it at a variety of places such as electronics stores, and possibly even a hardware store. If you get your solder from a hardware store, do not get acid-core aka acid-flux solder. Acid-core solder is meant for soldering copper plumbing pipe, and can damage electronics. Pick something a millimetre or less in diameter if you get the choice.
Wire Clippers / Crimpers
You'll need to do basic electronic stuff like clip wires and strip insulation. They are also just generally handy items to have laying around =) Buy good ones, checking that the jaws meet and the return spring is not going to slip out of place. Make sure the cutting surface is on the side of the tool, or "side cutters", with which you can cut wires off nearly flush with the bottom of the circuit board.
Soldering releases some things that aren't pleasant to inhale. Having a fan is a good idea and keeps you from having to hold your breath for each solder joint you need to make.
Stuff To Make Life Easier
Helping Hands Tool
This thing will really rock your world by both providing a solid way to hold your board while you solder and also by giving you a closeup look of what you're actually doing on the board. You'll thank us later =)
Also, if you decide to ever do something fun like stop moton animation, these things have some human looking characteristics and are so cute!
Useful for stripping and dissecting cable, provided you're careful. Also useful for carefully scraping the crud off mucky soldering iron tips, and removing stubborn oxide film from component leads.