As for starting your first pedal build I cannot stress enough no matter how skilled a person is that you spend an adequate amount of time studying the Guides (all of them) on our Guides Page. This tip alone will save you a world of trouble!
The reason is not to suggest your are incapable but pedal builds, amp builds and computers are three completely different animals and more importantly they require not only (more than basic knowledge) but the right tools and technique for each job.
For example despite having soldering experience watch my solder tutorial (found on the Guides Page) anyway so you know more about our boards and what works using them. What works for our pedal boards will not be the same as what you would do for building amps including the tip shape, heat and absolutely technique. As an example (soldering iron) Heat and Tip size used for amps could destroy a pedal PCB.
The Guides will also explain pedal size components, orientations, temperatures, using fine conical tips, wiring, how to read codes and so much more that will save you making common errors that could destroy a board and help with a more trouble free build.
Of course our GUIDES cover so much more than what I just mentioned and there is no need to repeat what is already written but I cannot stress the importance of digesting those materials.
When I have time later I will try to address the other questions.
In the meantime read up on all of our Guides.
Anyone else please feel free to chime in here 🙂