Introduction: Front Mounted Power Strip for Your Workbench

Picture of Front Mounted Power Strip for Your Workbench

This mod is for anyone who owns certain tools such as a soldering iron and/or a hot glue gun that have to be unplugged every time you're done with it. It's also good for many other uses and it's nice to have several grounded outlets at hand right at your hip.

Before starting this mod, think about placement and where you're going to plug it in...as I state in my final thoughts, It's a good Idea to have a power strip at the back of the bench in which you can plug this one into. So think about the depth of your bench.

Also I hate that I have to say this, but once the power strip is open, don't plug it in until it's closed again.

Materials


Power Strip with appropriate length cord
Solder

Tools

Drill (preferably powered)
1/2" Drill bit (spade bit will work the best for most drills)
Soldering Iron
Desoldering wick or tool (not necessary but handy)

Step 1: Open It Up

Picture of Open It Up

First step is to open up the power strip. Mine was a cheap Belkin brand one that I bought for $3 at Home Depot. It had some of those safety screws that can only be tightened (the ones with the two triangles that have a slope on one side). I found that it was quite easy to remove these screws just by adding more pressure with a flat-head screwdriver whilst turning counter clockwise.

There were 3 security screws and two #2 phillips on this specific model.

Step 2: Desolder the Switch and Remove the Strips

Picture of Desolder the Switch and Remove the Strips

In AC circuitry the black line is usually your polarized wire otherwise equivocated as "hot." As you see in this photo the hot wire come in and connects directly to the switch...this is the only one you want to desolder. You will be re-soldering it later.

Desoldering wick will help a lot in this step, basically when the solder is melted, you place it on top of it and it will suck it away from the terminal and wire allowing you to easily remove the part. I did not have any and it made this part much more difficult....but not impossible.

In the other photos, you can see that the general construction of the power strip is quite simple, just a bunch of copper strips that run the length of the product.

You'll want to remove the one connected to the white wire and the one connected to the green wire (ground).

Step 3: Drill a Hole

Picture of Drill a Hole

I used a 1/2" spade bit to drill a hole through the 2x4 on the front of the work bench. Try to center it, or at least give enough room on top if your bench has a lip, just in cast you want to use a wall wart on here.

Step 4: Feed the Cable

Picture of Feed the Cable

Next you want to feed the cable, including the copper strips, from the back, through to the front. Pull it all the way through so you have slack to work on putting it back together.

Tip: Use this time and take the back plate of the power strip and get you're mounting screws situated in the screw slots, so you don't have to worry about this when you're done. (I hope you know what I'm talking about because I forgot to take pictures...sorry)

Step 5: Put Everything Back Together

Picture of Put Everything Back Together

Solder the black lead back to the switch and place the copper strips back where they go.

Screw it back together and mount it, pulling the slack through. And plug it in!

Step 6: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

I really liked this mod but please consider the following.

You may want to mount another power strip at the rear end of the bench where you would plug this into.

You need to consider the depth of your bench...Mine is 4 feet and as I have a tendency to do...I acted before I thought and originally bought a power strip with a 3 foot cord.

The solder on the terminals is quite tough, I couldn't melt it with my butane soldering iron and my 40watt radio shack one just barely melted it.

Comments

agr00m (author)2011-09-14

Wouldn't have have been easier to just cut a notch up the 2x4 rather than drill disassemble it?

fluxor (author)2010-01-14

 The solder on the strip may have been Lead-Free. It requires a bit more heat to work with. Looks cool, I'm in the middle of doing something like this for myself. But alas I'm in the middle of building this and I haven't bought the house or built the bench to affix this to. 

rinthesun (author)2008-12-31

I justed added a front power strip purchased at Harbor Freight #96737 for $25. The outlets allow a Wart to be inserted vertically. Take a look.

metrometro (author)2007-12-20

I love the clean design... but I'd be very reluctant to f around with the solder in a powerstrip that will have power tools running through it. Just too much risk of melty badness. There's a reason the original solder is hard to melt! I'd rather notch the 2x4 on one edge and pass the cable through that way. Less work, and removable too.

ningo (author)2007-04-04

I take it the plug was molded to the flex? Otherwise it would be much easier to unwire the plug, pass wire through the hole, and then re-wire the plug.

slickfire (author)ningo2007-04-04

right, I could have even bought a new plug, but I like making things look nice, even if you don't always see it and a crappy clamp on plug wont cut it.

FrenchCrawler (author)2007-04-04

Nice idea.. I prefer to use my PC power strip (actually I have 2, but I don't have enough room on my computer/work desk for both). Here's one of them:

Once I upgrade my comp (and screen)... I'll hopefully have more room for working on :)

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