Introduction: Basic Modifiable Soldering Station
Welcome to my first Instructable for a soldering station.
There's many soldering stations on this website so why is this one special?
It is very material efficient, can work for a variant of breadboards, you can work at different angles on your projects and it is easy to build.
I have seen a few nice solderings stations, but many lacked either some specific functions or were only for 3d printing.(You CAN 3d print this, but I don't get why you would do so. If you want, I can share the 3d model with you. Tell me in the comments if you want it)
This is my attempt at a soldering station, that is specifically, however not exclusively for breadboards.
Aditionally it is easily modifiable so you can add extremely many things to your own Soldering station.
Step 1: Basic Concept
To make the basic concept easily understandable I've created a quick little animation which you can watch at
youtube (it should be embedded here). Esentially the Solderings station can be used for multiple sizes, only limited by the size of the station itself. Later there's rubber bands used to apply a little bit of pressure on the breadboard to enable it to be rotated 360° (in theory, in reality there's little reason to go over 90°) without the board falling down. The Video shows the basic platform, without any modifications and the rubber bands. As you can see there's a lot of excess material, however this material will give the station aditional stability.
Step 2: Building the Basic Platform (1/2) - Cutting the Parts
- Wooden board of desired stability and desired size. In my case it was ~ 37 cm x 25 cm x 2 cm
- Wooden cuboid, either seperate (~ 2 cm x 2 cm x 20 cm) or you cut it ou of the wooden board (maybe add 2cm to lenght then).
- Wood saw
- wood glue
- 2 x screw (~3.5 cm)
- drilling if anyway possible
optimal equipment (for the lazy maker):
- jigsaw (with wood blade or iron blade)
- drilling machine
- 2 x screw (~3.5 cm )
- wood glue
- sanding paper
- ruler / geometry set square
If you didn't get a board the correct size, use another size or cut it yourself! Be careful to make the cut in a clean 90° angle, so the slide will later on fit into the board perfectly.
- If you only got one Board, cut your cuboid out of it, look at the template for the cuts: you'll get a big Board (37 x 25 cm), two cubes (2x2x2 cm) and two cuboids (8 x 2 x 2 cm). If you got a Board an a cuboid cut the buboid two times at 2 cm lenght (if your coboid is "a x a x b" long, cut two times at the lenght of "a" to get cubes). Then cut two 8 cm long cuboids (2 x 2 x 8 cm).
- Have a look at template 2 to see how the slide is cut out of the board. Use a thin sawblade. If you use a jigsaw you can use a metal blade as this is thinner than a wooden blade.(Metal blade for wood won't hurt the blade but don't do it the other way around)
- Now cut the cubes to the L shape (look at template 3).
- Now your pieces should look like picture 6.
Step 3: Building the Platform (2/2) - Assembling the Soldering Station Platform
Let's assemble the Soldering station, shall we?
Have a look at Template 4. "1" are the cuboids (2 x 2 x8 cm) from a top view, "2" are the L shaped wooden peaces cut out of the cubes.
- Assemble the L shaped wooden pieces onto the front of the cuboid, by screwing the L piece onto the cuboid. Be careful to put the screw below the middle of the L piece, unless they are shorter than mine were. Have a look at Template 5 for clarification. Before screwing the screw in, cut a 90° hole into the wood first to guide the screw! The hole should be thinner than the diameter of the screw. Do not screw the screw too tight, in order to be able to rotate the wooden L pieces by hand.
- Glue the cuboids to their respective positions. Hint: First look for the position of the upper cuboid on Template 4. Glue it in the center between the sides of the board. Then look for the smallest breadboard you'll most likely use. Add the lower cuboid in a range so that the breadboard does barely not fit inbetween the two L shapes.
- check if everything is working by sliding the slide back, lying the breadboard inbetween the two L shapes and slide the slide back into the board. As long as you don't rotate the L shapes it should work now.
- To make the platform functional, put rubber bands over both cuboids (the 1's) close to the base so that those bands apply pressure on the board to increase friction so the board doesn't fall down.
Step 4: Modifications (cosmetic, Useful, Safety Related)
Okay so you got the basic station. This is functional enough to be used, but you are a maker so you will most likely want to perfect your station. That's why the following steps now will feature one modification for your Soldering station at a time. All of these can be used simultaneously! As the title states these can be related to safety, make things more useful or simply have a cosmetic use (which in this case is useful as well). Of course it's up to you if you want to add them!
Step 5: Modification I: Guides for the Rails. (Use and Cosmetics)
This is an easy to do modification that just requires some sort of wood. If possible a wooden strip would be perfect.
Cut two times the lenghts of the rail away from the wooden strip and glue it to the board. This will prevent the whole soldering station from collapsing when there is no breadboard in the mechanism and the rubber bands are too high above the base. Aditionally it may look nice.
Step 6: Modification II: Resistor Colour Code Templates, Safety Signs and Personal Design. (cosmetic & Use)
If you have a laser printer you can use "TheRealDanielJ" (https://www.instructables.com/member/TheRealDanielJ/)'s method of acetone print transfering any design to your station.(https://www.instructables.com/id/Acetone-Print-Transfers/)
I recommend using Saftey signs for the cuboids and resistor colour code templates, as you will most likely work with resistors on your station. I've added those in the Images, but they are german. Finding some for yourself should take you 20 seconds on google. Aditionally you can use a personal design, or your Instructable profile picture. This will make your soldering station personalized and more convenient. I personally skipped this part as I like the "natural" look of wood better and have The resistor colour code templates already where i keep my resistors - in a trading card keeper (it's like a book).
Have a look at dagelias' Instructable/Hack for that: https://www.instructables.com/id/Resistor-storage-office-type/.
Step 7: Short Info
If you are still with me - nice :)
I'd just like to tell you to read the next steps for modifications first before starting to build them, as you may regret having started with one modification before another when reading on.
Step 8: Modification III: Lighting (convenience)
Build a simple circuit out of a battery (or multiple in series), a switch, resistors and one or two LED'S. The circuit is in the pictures.
What you need:
LED (white is optimal)
resistors (depending on your coice of LED)
Assembly is relatively easy, stick closely to the circuit for this Step if you feel unsure anyways.
Place the WHOLE circuit onto either the board or the slide! If it is on both at the same time you cannot use the station as before as moving the slide would rip the wires. Because of that simply attach the LEDs on one cuboid. They will be bright enough to light your breadboard to work on. Add a small Lampshade out of any material you have at hand, to prevent the LED from blinding you.
Now you can work even in bad lighting conditions!
Step 9: Modification IV: Fume FAN (security and Convinience)
Now this is an easy one: Most likely you still have a pc fan lying somewhere, in an old pc you don't use anymore or the basement to "keep for later". Now it the time for that thing to shine ;)
If you do not have one but still want to get one - they can be bought for cheap at the electronics store around the corner :).
In my case I still had an old 12 V fan and luckily it was very silent (10db apparently).
Using a 9V battery and a switch you can use this fan as a fume extracor, to get rid of those fumes from soldering that are unhealthy and smell horrible.
Things you need:
battery (9v or multiple 1.5V AA batteries in series)
switch (not 100% needed but believe me it's worth it...)
Fan (12V is fine)
Have a look at this very basic template for the electronics. First try finding out how to make the fan work. Use some cable you still have or use a paperclip and cut that into two pieces. Connect one to the Katode (-) and one to the Anode (+). Now connect those to the fan. In my case I connected the ground cable to the Kathode and the red cable to the Anode. When connected the Fan works. As the battery doesn't have 12V the fan won't work at full power but it works good for soldering fumes. Now build the curcuit. If you do not have a 9V battery you can put normal AA batteries in series. One has 1.5V so you can use 6 AA batteries, that will then have 9V. Of course you can use 8AA batteries to get 12V and have the fan move at full power.
Attach some fume filter to the fan or if you are on a budget use a sponge that still let's some air move through.
Step 10: Modification V: Why Not Use the LED and FAN at Once?
Why be restricted to use only one of the modifications III and IV? Combine both!
In my case I used:
1 LED (white)
Resistors (total of 270 ohms)
the 12V fan.
Having read the Modification III and IV, you should be fine to put those two Modifications together. If not - write a comment, I or other people will try to help you :)
Step 11: Making Mod V Look Good. (cosmetic)
You now know how to make the most important Mod (ModV that is). But just glueing it to the board will look somewhat unfinished and while this Step will not have a true practical use it will be better for the looks :).
As the 9V battery is the height of the board you can insert it into the board. Cut a piece the size of the battery out of the Board so you can isert the battery there. Drill a hole into one of the cuboids from the top to the bottom to have the cable inside the board. This will reduce the amount of cables that can be seen.
Drill a a hole next to where you want your fan so you can hide those cables as well.
Finally drill or cut a hole the size of your switches so they can be embedded as well.
In my case i used a dremel to carve canals into the wood so that the cables could be used under the board without the board loosing stability or the cables just sticking out.
Have a look at my layout for example - this is what I like to use.
The orange thing represents the screw that is the reason for the LED to be off center.
I used hot glue (an amazing allrounder if you don't have to look at it) to fill the canals and insulate the cables.
Have a look at the underside of my board (This does include other mods already) for clarification.
Step 12: Mod VI: Adding Pad Protectors
This is maybe the easiest Mod to do. If you work on glass tables, other things that can get scratches or just want to make sure the wood doesn't get dirty because of pencil dust lying around, add some spare pad protectors (many people have some for chairs).
If you do that you can theoretically ignore the dremeling to create small canals for cables, as the whole platform is elevated already. However creating the canals will in the end still look better.
Just add them to all corners. Don't forget that you need some for the slide AND some for the board. (You need at least 2*3, but 2*4 for all corners just looks better)
The picture in Mod V has these already.
Step 13: Mod VII: Soldering Iron Mount.
As many soldering stations already did, it's a good idea to add a mount for the soldering iron and a roll to hold the solder.
I used a coil to hold the iron and an easy to make holder for the solder roll. The pictures should be self explainatory...
For the coil I used a coathook as this was the only wire I had that had enough strength to hold the soldering iron
Step 14: Mod VIII: Final Mod: Hiding the Rubber Bands.
If you are like me, you are most likely searching for easy and small tricks to increase the looks a little. This is my favorite of them:
Thats literally it. In my case i use Mod VI, so you can skip the following part (thats part (1/2)).
If you dont use the pads, you'll have to make a direct canal between the middle of both cuboids undersides on the board. In this canal the rubber band can find place without sticking out.
Now hit 2 nails into the underside of the cuboids, centered. Do NOT however hit them in completely, and now you can attach the rubber bands to those. Have a look at the pictures for clarification.
Keep in mind this is a view of the underside of the board...
Again this can be seen in Mod V's picture already.
Step 15: That's All Folks
That's it. You have read my whole Instructable and my first one at that. I'd be happy to hear how you think about it and I'd want to thank you for reading and apologize for any writing mistakes - I'm not a native. If however there's some really bad ones or my wording is horrible, feel free to inform me :)
And remember - if you have any own project share it with this community! I'll be happy to hear from you ;)
With that I wish you a nice day.