Whenever I am out to do some electronics work there are some basic materials that I would require. It was a pain when I had to hunt for each whenever I needed one. Also every material need to be in one place at my reach. So I built this soldering station. It has a place to keep some Isopropyl Alcohol and Soldering flux liquid. On the other side it has spools to keep the wires and solder.
In the middle there are these helping hands with which I can hold a PCB. It also has a magnifying glass and an LED light for that extra powered lighting.
The middle section encases two 12v computer fans that can suck of the toxic fumes when I solder. And on either side of the soldering station is a Hot Glue gun and Soldering stick.
Let me show you how to make one for yourself.
Step 1: 3D Plans
I wanted to tryout and make this build as easy as possible so everyone can make one. So I used 123D from Autodesk.
Here I kept the width of every side to be 8mm and mocked up this model. It is designed in such a way that all the sides are 80x80mm while the horizontal pieces are 160x80mm. The base is one long piece on which everything is mounted upon.
Soldering Station: http://www.mediamilan.com/examples/soldering-stat...
Step 2: Basic Construction
First I begin by cutting the 8mm MDF into the required strips. I cut them a little heavy of 80mm so that I can later clean at the table saw. I used water proof MDF because they are more strong than normal ones.
Then the strips are cut to the exact 80mm. According to the 3D model I made I would need six 80x80 side pieces and four 160x80mm pieces. And finally one long piece for the bottom. I cut them using my Cross Cut sled.
I dry fit all the pieces together using just screws. I pre-drilled to avoid splitting the wood. The way to put all the pieces together is to start from one end and keep arranging pieces are we go along. I used some spacers while connecting the horizontal board so its level on both the sides. Later once all is assembled I will take them apart and attach it permanently with glue.
Step 3: Helping Hands
Here is the assembled soldering station. What it misses is the electronics and helping hands. For the helping hands I will be using these air or lubrication gooseneck used in milling industry. These are relatively easy to purchase and very sturdy. I first test fitted to see if it will work.
The way to attach them is to drill 12mm hole with forstner bit and then screw these into the holes. Because MDF is a soft material these will etch the screws as I tighten the goose neck.
Then we can epoxy some crocodile clips into the ends of the helping hands. I took these from old helping hands kit which I found to be very annoying. It never did what it was supposed to. One of the reasons why I decided to build one of my own.
Step 4: LED LIGHT
For the LED light I used these 12v 10watts led. These LEDs require a heatsink so I used these heat sinks that I salvaged from an old motherboard. I printed some enclosure and tried fitting into it but later moved on to a bigger heatsink and attached a fan on the top for some extra cooling. I actually burned two leds to understand that it needs this extra cooling. So don’t make the same mistake. The fan and the heatsink and connected using this 3D printed part. You can download it from the description.
Step 5: Electronics
The fans are just press fitted using this top piece of MDF. They don’t move anywhere around. I attached two switched to the top which will control the FAN and the LED light. On the side here there is a power jack in which I will connect my 12v 1amp DC power supply.
From there the connections are made to the switch and from the switch to the fans and led bulb.
1amp of power from the power supply is too much for the LED. It will burn it. An easier solution will be to use a step down convertor. But I found an easier solutions. These fan consume 200milliamps. So if I run the fans and the light together then the 1amp power from the power supply will get divided between the both and it will help protect my LED. So I added a diode here. What this does is when I turn on the LED switch it lets power travel in one direction. From the LED switch to the FAN switch and hence both fan and led will turn on. But if I just switch on the FAN switch then the current does not pass in the opposite direction so just the fan stays on.
Now I can close the back. Later I will line this place with some carbon filters. Its very difficult to find them in India. So if anyone of you know from where I can buy one please let me know.
The reason I configured switches like this is because if am working outside or during daylight then I don’t need the LED. But still I will need to run the fans to extract the solder fumes. This setup helps me achieve this.
Step 6: Places for Solder and Glue Gun.
The hot glue gun and soldering iron will fit at the ends. These can be held in place by using some screws. For the hot glue gun I din’t want it to touch the base of MDF when I rested it. So I drove in some screws to set that in place no matter how I threw in the hot glue gun.
For the soldering iron I used this conical spring from the old soldering station. I just clamped it tight between the sides using the screws. As I tight more the more secured it becomes. At the base I shoved in some metal scrubber. This will not let the hot tip touch the base at the same time will help clean the tip.
Step 7: Wire Spools
For the wire spools I made these 3D printed spools. I measured the space between and how many spools I can fit in. Here you can see how I made them. Then I secured them to the sides using some threaded rod and bolt. If you do not have a 3D printer then you can simply use empty spools. Then by increasing the height of the sides you can secure the threaded rods on them.
And for the Fan Grill i again printed some fancy design that I made and attached with screws.
Wire Spools: http://www.mediamilan.com/examples/soldering-stat...
Step 8: Conclusion
With that I will call the project complete. But I sure can add some more improvements. I will 3D print some drawer at the bottom and some braces to hold all the bottles in place. So this project can be totally made without 3D printer. But just having one makes space for these creative additions. I operate a 3D hub where I can print these parts for you. Check the description to know more about my 3D Hub.
This video is part of a series in which I will be setting up my electronics desk. So look forward in the next few videos where I will be making a bench power supply, cabinet for storing the electronic supplies, extension cord box and so on. So do subscribe to keep you notified when those videos come out.
What do you think? Will this be a useful addition to your project? Let me know in the comments below. Also please share some of your ideas on what you think are the essentials items for an electronics beginner. Looking forward to read your comments.
Until next time… Happy Learning