Solder Fume Extractor





Introduction: Solder Fume Extractor

I finally got tired of breathing solder fumes and made an ultra-low tech solder fume extractor. "Professional" versions of this device can be had for ~$100-$200 (for an example, see I decided this was too much money, and built one for $3.

Step 1: Assembly

Here's what you need:

(1) Carbon filter (found at Wal-Mart, I used the Hamilton Beach True Air Replacement Filter) - $3
(1) Fan (I used a Honeywell 3 speed fan I had lying around the house)
Some cardboard box and duct tape

1. Cut 5 squares of cardboard of equal size, sizing them a little larger than the filter
2. Using 4 of the squares, build a cube with walls only in the X-Y plane (imagining a room, you would not create a ceiling or floor)
3. With the fifth square, cut a smaller square about 1/2 inch in from all sides and punch it out
4. Tape the filter to the fifth square
5. Tape the fifth square/filter assembly to the "ceiling" of the cube, charcoal side of the filter facing out
6. Tape the box to the "sucking" side of the fan, and tape any openings on the fan to ensure suction through the box/filter
7. Turn fan on and solder like crazy!

This really works like a charm, and the charcoal filter does a great job of scrubbing the fumes from the air. This is a pretty simple project, but thought I'd post it to possibly help out anyone who is suffering from solder fumes. I haven't had this running for long periods of time, so after a period of time it may prematurely burn out the fan's motor due to increased resistance to air movement.

Happy soldering!



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    where do I get a carbon filter or hepa filter ? hardware store ? electric store ? what type of mart is Walmart ?

    I have sleep apnea and been using CPAP for over 30 years and have a lot of CPAPs left over after upgrades. I use my old cpaps to bring in fresh air for me to breath.

    For those who never have the time, I found one on for $40.

    I've been directing several people to your ible on the Solder Fume Extractor, and after reading an article about the health effects, I wanted to share it with you.

    In it they reference a Danish Study on the harmful effects of Lead-Free solder and they go on to suggest that not only should you use a carbon filter, but you should also use a HEPA filter.

    Maybe after reading the article you could modify your design (just a suggestion) as I really don't have any interest in creating an instructable showing virtually the same thing but adding a HEPA.

    Great job with your design.

    You are absolutely correct canucksgirl. That OKInternational write-up you linked to specifically states that "A HEPA filter is crucial to overall success (...)" .

    We did an efficiency test (conducted and analyzed by a 3rd party) where we analyzed the fume removal of a Weller Smoke Absorber that utilizes a very similar "activated carbon filter" that this article uses. The particulate removal was 11.1%. Whereas a product that utilizes a HEPA filter was measured at 95.3% reduction.

    We strongly recommend that anybody who wants to build their own fume extractor to utilize appropriate filters. Or to vent outside.

    You can read more about the Hazards of Solder Fumes on our website at

    I might do this, if I can make it out to the local thrift store for a fan. I already have a pretty decent hepa filter from another project. I also have some carbon cloth that I can use as a prefilter. Though now that I'm saying this I might actually have all that I need. I just need time now :P

    Now if we could only buy more time.... (ah the things I could accomplish) :D

    this is a really good idea. A long time friend Bob, a lab techincian in the UK passed away from throat cancer a few years back. Given the amount of time he worked in front of a soldering iron (and he didnt smoke) there is little question in my mind that the solder/flux/lead he breathed in contributed to his disease. I doubt this would burn out your fan either. The increased load due to the reduced airflow is probably negligable. Nice instructable.

    That worries me. :(