It's the final two minutes of the best football game of the season, your team is up by seven and the opposition has the ball on your 10 yard line. The football is hiked, and as instantly as the ball leaves the centers hands, the TV looses power due to that loose wire you have been putting off fixing for months. Even worse, your regular soldering setup is all the way in the basement and will take too long to retrieve. What do you do?
Luckily for you, you have followed this instructable, and created the most useful tool package of all time, and even better, it is small enough to fit in your pocket, specifically, the pocket of the pants you are wearing right now. With a minute to go, the TV is up and running and your team has intercepted the ball. Way to go.
Sound like a situation you would like to avoid or a solution you would like to have on you at all times? Good, read on.
This instructable will document the steps necessary to modify and fit every tool and useful accessory required for an emergency soldering job in the hacker-essential, pocket-sized, minty-smelling, Altoids tin container.
Within one tin, you will be able to fit:
One Cold Heat soldering iron with two extra batteries and a spare tip (hardware store)
One clip anywhere helping hand (hardware store)
Several inches of multiple sized heat-shrink tubing (hardware store)
Several feet of electrical tape (hardware store)
Cable ties (hardware store)
Flexible standing light and laser pointer (because it's not worth doing if it doesn't have lasers) (pharmacy; tool aisle)
Small Phillips and flat head screwdriver (hardware store)
Small Wire stripper and cutter (electronic or hardware store)
This instructable will feature:
Hack your Cold Heat soldering iron
Hack your alligator clip wire leads
Hack your Strippers
Pack your box
Video on Final Page *coming soon*
Step 1: Hack Your Cold Heat Soldering Iron (1 - Disassemble)
Contrary to popular belief, this Johnny 5 is meant to be disassembled.
For this step you will need the following parts:
Cold Heat Soldering Iron ($19.99 from a hardware store)
Two CR2 Lithium-Ion batteries ($9.99 from your film processing/prescription providing superstore)
Short length of thin gage wire (24 or smaller)
Altoids Smalls box
And the following tools:
Small Phillips screwdriver
Wire cutter and/or stripper
Dremel with standard accessories
First and foremost, in the words of Norm Abram, "Before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these - safety glasses." What good is a mini soldering iron if you have no eyes?
Begin by disassembling your cold heat soldering iron (CHSI). Even though I will post photos of my iron, it is recommended that you photograph your CHSI before cutting any wires or removing any components. This way, if your CHSI differs from the example, you will be able to track the changes later when you discover the differences.
Remove the screws holding the CHSI together, including the screw accessed from the battery compartment holding the blue grip to the housing. Separate the two halves of the unit, and observe. You will note the tip apparatus in the front of the unit, several wires running to the back circuit board, battery terminals, a switch, and a few LED's. All of these parts will be saved and reused, so as you remove them, place them in your handy pocket sized Altoids tin screw organizer that will soon become the case for this project. To remove the wires from beneath the fused plastic fastening method chosen by the manufacturer, use an X-acto knife. To avoid cutting the wires, hold the knife at an angle, and pull the wires behind the blade before applying pressure (see photo below). You will find a few more screws holding the tip in place, remove these and remove the internal components in one piece.