If you don't want to be inhaling nasty heavy metals while soldering, solder fume extraction is a big deal. But, if you look online or in stores for solder fume extractors, you'll find that they sell for around $40 up to thousands of dollars! After figuring out exactly what kind of solder fume extractor I wanted (a really awesome one with multiple duct-arms to use for multiple soldering stations!), I wrote down all the specs I could find, and headed to my favorite local hardware store, McGuckins in Boulder, CO.
I was able to build a working solder fume extractor for $70, when I would have purchased a similar one for $1200! Awesome!
For this solder fume extractor, I used carbon filtering. Other extractors also use HEPA filtering. I tried HEPA filtering using a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner HEPA filter, but found that it restricted the flow of the fumes too much. The extractor ended up blowing the solder fumes around rather than sucking them! However, implementing a HEPA filter is definitely a possibility, and I might try using both carbon and HEPA filtering in the future!
Step 1: What You'll Need
So far, I have made a one-armed solder fume extractor. Stay tuned in the next few months for a two-armed jig!
For the one-armed extractor, you will need:
1 5" In-Line Duct Fan
1 6 foot length of metallic Dryer Hose (Duct Hose)
(I used 6 feet... you can use however much you need!)
1 Activated Carbon Pond Filter
1 Metal Plumbing "step down" piece (used as inlet piece)
3 5" Hose Clamps (Worm Gear Clamps)
1 Power Cord (with loose wire ends)
3 Wire Nuts