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Soldering Assistant

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NEW!: I have added the adjustable base, so whether you're fine soldering on surface parallel to your bench top, or you prefer to have your board at an angle, this can accommodate your needs! stay tuned, fume extra will be done soon!


The soldering assistant is a project idea I had to have my soldering supplies conveniently in one spot. The Solder spool holder is close to the work area to have a read supply of solder to feed directly from the spool. The soldering assistant also features and adjustable vise to hold your projects securely as you assemble them. Just behind the work area is a parts bin, to put your resistors, capacitors, IC's tweezers or other supplies. Side "fins" make it possible to make custom add-ons that can just snap into place.  The only part that isn't printable through a 3d printer is the center threaded rod that moves the base, this is a 1/4" threaded rod that can be purchased at any local hardware store. 2 hex nuts are also required, one that fits into the moving side of the platform, and one on the stationary side. This is an entry for the "Make it real Challenge" contest. If you like the design, please vote, Thanks.

**UPDATE**
The angled platform can be added as an accessory, or use the Soldering assistant without this accessory as shown in the gallery pictures. The adjustable platform pivots on a pin at the front of the base. At the rear of the base is a "C" shaped channel that also pivots, and there is a T-shaped cylinder the rides the inside of this channel. To adjust the height, the user would simply have to tilt the platform forward, lining up the position holes on the C channel, then insert the pin through the C channel and into the T cylinder. There is one on each side of the platform for stability. No more hunching over to work on your PCB's! This allows you to work in a more comfortable position. Special thanks to those who commented and suggested an angled platform!

im making a portable one with some added features but unfortunately im not making an instructables on it

Very clean and neat! I made one which is not as professional as yours but has the added feature of holding all the components in place on the board: Easy PCB holder
This looks like a very helpful little device. Unfortunately, you have limited its fabrication to those who use 3-D printers and specialized software. For the rest of us Old School makers, PDF drawings of the parts would be useful. Or, if you don't mind, I can create the Old School Instructible for building it, since I'm going to have to build it that way, anyways.
If you would like to create an old school instructable based of this design, you are welcome to do so. This was actually designed for the make it real contest, which is why it is specifically for 3d printers, but having another method of fabrication would be nice for those who would like to make one but don't have access to a 3d printer. I look forward to seeing your instructable.

-Franky
Rockman_642 years ago
The stl export tied all the parts together. I would love to have all the individual parts files (in stl, please) as I don't have a way to break it down. Thanks, Rocky
foxxtrotalpha (author)  Rockman_641 year ago
files have been uploaded in zip format
Thank you! Now, when I can get access to a 3d printer, I can make this. I don't know how I get by without it.
foxxtrotalpha (author)  Rockman_641 year ago
Hi, thanks for your interest. I will upload individual pieces later today. Ill message you when I do.
SG1Oniell1 year ago
Awesome, just awesome.
Are you going to attached separate STL files for each part? This assembly is too large for my 3D printer.
foxxtrotalpha (author)  Mr. Boo1 year ago
uploaded
Thanks!
foxxtrotalpha (author) 1 year ago
Individual stl files are now uploaded, in a zipped folder. Some pieces say "qty2", meaning 2 prints of the piece are required.
foxxtrotalpha (author) 1 year ago
Update: I am making some revisions to the design after seeing a few things that needed to be changed. This week is finals week , so the separate STL files will be uploaded sometime this week when the chaos has settled. A video will also be included on the update. Thanks.
SIRJAMES092 years ago
this is awesome!!! I can't wait to start making mine....8)

TY for sharing Sir.
emotec2 years ago
JUST SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS:
 1. REPLACE THE TREADED ROD WITH AN IRWIN SQUEEZE CLAMP AND ATTACH THE FRONT AND REAR VISE FACES TO IT FOR ONE HAND CLAMPING.
 2. MOUNT AN UNUSED 12 VOLT COMPUTER FAN TO DRAW FUMES AWAY FROM WORK AREA TOWARD THE BACK( NOT FULL FUME EXTRACTION, BUT GETS THEM OUT OF YOUR FACE!)
 3. ATTACH THE CLAMP TO A BASE WITH AN ARCHED CURVING SLOT AND A HINGE TO ALLOW TILTING TOWARD THE FRONT AND LOCKING IT IN PLACE WITH A BOLT WITH A KNOB AND A T-NUT.
 4. ATTACHING SOME LARGE (5 OR 10 MM) LEDS TO STIFF ,HEAVY COPPER WIRES TO CREATE FLEXIBLE LIGHTING FOR TOUGH TO SEE AREAS.
 5. USING SAME METHOD FOR ATTACHING A COUPLE OF ALLIGATOR CLIPS(HOMEMADE HELPING HANDS.
 6. MAKING AN EXTENSION MOUNTING A HOT AIR GUN WITH CONCENTRATOR TIPS FOR SMD REWORKING AND SOLDER RE FLOW JOBS.
 7. MOUNT A GOOD MAGNIFIYER LENS TO A FLEXABLE ARM FOR CLOSE-UP WORK AND READING SMALL PRINT ON COMPONET PARTS ,  FOLLOWING CURCUIT TRACES ON PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS, USING ABOVE MENTIONED LEDS TO BACK LIGHT BOARDS FOR LESS GLARE FROM PADS ON PROJECT BOARDS,
AND FOR TRACEING DOUBLE SIDED PCB'S TO TROUBLESHOOT PROBLEMS.

  ANY OR ALL OF THESE MOD'S WILL JUST ENHANCE USABLITY OF YOUR IDEA, AND ADD TO THE LEVEL OF CUSTOMIZATION FOR INDVIDUAL NEEDS. BY THE WAY, CONCEPT IS VERY USER FRIENDLY AND DEFINITLY A MUCH NEEDED PROJECT FOR ANY HOME ELECTRONICS HOBBIST- NICE GOING!!

 EMOTEC IN TEXAS
foxxtrotalpha (author)  emotec2 years ago
Emotec, Thanks for the suggestions!

For the input on the case fan, I actually have a design started that is using a 80mm case fan, with a removable cartridge that holds filters specifically made for fume extractors, so the filter can be replaced when needed.

Led suggestion sounds good. Initially thought about mounting the led's to the fume extractor but didn't work out the way I planned.

I love the idea for the hot air. I can't believe I didn't think of that! especially since I just acquired a hot air gun. Ive seen the hot air holders that help keep the nozzle at a set distance from the board. Ill probably make this an addition.

My ultimate goal is to have an all in one type system for the electronic hobbyist. Input from everyone has really helped. Thanks
  Glad you liked some of my ideas , hope others will take your project and make it their own by adding customizations to make it truely an all-in-one workstation just for them!!

By the way- just voted for you in the Make-it-real contest--good luck!! Win a nice prize!

Emotec in Texas
skitodd112 years ago
Cool stuff.

This would work well for our contest as well: http://www.teklalabs.org/3dprinting/

You should submit it. You can win some cool stuff.

I hope to see your entry.

Todd

Tekla Labs - teklalabs.org
foxxtrotalpha (author)  skitodd112 years ago
skitodd11, thanks for the info, Ill be sure to submit the design to the contest.
There are very few pictures of your project ended and over, because I could not understand, and also how to help your project when finished soldering :) waiting for you to add new files.
bluejeannes2 years ago
This looks like something I could really use! However... I couldn't open it because the program that tried (Adobe Illustrator) said it was corrupt. I have a Mac, if that makes a difference. Do you have a pdf you could share? Thanks!
You need AutoCAD to view the first file.
foxxtrotalpha (author) 2 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Keep me on your list, I would definately like one of these.

Thanx,
Loumsc
foxxtrotalpha (author)  loumsc2 years ago
Will Do
This is a really great idea, and it gives endless opportunities for tweaks and modifications. Amazing job here!

As I noticed many suggestions for a variety of things to be added or changed, I thought I might as well chime in and offer some suggestions.

-- request for elastics rather than threaded rod -> an environment like this is tough on elastics, they dry out and break quickly. As an alternative to the concern of having to wind/unwind, just use a more coarse threaded rod that will release the vice with only a turn or two. The vice idea is great because it will allow it to be used on other non-pcb tasks.

-- request for fume hood -> rather than go to a lot of trouble, how about this? Simply add a slot across the length of the back "wall" where the moving portion of the vice would park when full-open. Inside the hollow under the parts bin you would place your 12v fan blowing out the several holes in the back wall under the solder spool. The air movement, which doesn't need to be much at all, would pull fumes from the work area away from your face. Run it from a wall-wart, plus it wouldn't need a filter since it's just flux fumes and there's nothing to catch.

-- request for an iron holder -> you can buy cheap iron stands with the coiled wire for less than $10, simply remove the spring and mount it to the side of the box using one or two tapped holes.

-- request for articulated clamps -> again, you can buy a "helping hands" device that has a pair of clips and even a magnifying glass for under $10. Remove the base and mount it wherever you want, like on the sliding vice leaf so it's positionable.

The beauty of such a great design is that it's easily modified for whatever you need or can dream up, especially with the provisions of the mounting tangs for expansion. You could even add a pair of those flexible computer lights and run it off the fan power, if you go that route...the possibilities are endless.

Great job!!!
foxxtrotalpha (author)  LaserDave2 years ago
LaserDave, Thanks for you input! A lot of info there..

On the elastics, I agree, They dry, and break over time, Not to mention if you accidentally touched one with the hot end of the iron for even a second it can tear, loosen the tension, drop the PCB, and cause a headache if you're working on SMT parts.

Fume hood, I was thinking the same, about running a funnel type opening along the backside, this would work fine if the platform does not have adjustable angle settings. But, since I am actually working on a rev for the vise section to have angle settings, I need to think of a new design.

For the light, you actually gave me a great idea to integrate the cone shaped desk lamp with a fume extractor. Since I will be working on the fume extractor soon, This gives opportunity to get two birds with one stone.

A set of "helping hands" clamps might also be useful.
foxxtrotalpha (author)  bobwantzanapple2 years ago
Helping hands are great, but also very cheap to buy, about $5 with magnifier. Maybe in a later Rev. I will have them ass an add-on.
nurfirman2 years ago
It's a perfect inspiration,
darman122 years ago
Really cool idea! I hate trying to hold my project, the solder, and the soldering iron at one time! Love it!!
darkbain2 years ago
I love this, thanks for posting it.
woodiebear2 years ago
Here is a link to load the file into Google Sketchup, http://sketchuptips.blogspot.com/2010/03/sketchup-stl-importer-redo.html
actionjksn2 years ago
Some articulated adjustable arms with alligator clips for holding smaller things for soldering like wires. I actually have a device like this and it would be great to have attached to that unit.
apothus2 years ago
As a further suggestion. instead of using a threaded rod to hold the PCBs, why not a pair of eleastic bands instead.

Considering you have the grooved sides and you are intending to use the device for soldering and not as a general tool vice, all of your relatively minor forces will be in the vetical plane so you wont need the added rigidity of a threaded rod to clamp it latteraly. would make it a lot quicker and easier to move the pcb around as you work without having to unwind it every time. You could always include the option of using a threaded rod and adding the vice functionality to it as well although that would nesecitte mor drilling, tapping etc.
69tr6r2 years ago
Nice job! I'm an Electronics Tech and I would love something like this. The previous comments about a fume extractor and iron holder would be great additions. I would like to add one request too. Can you make some divided inserts that fit the parts tray? That way you can kit the parts in the divided trays and just swap them out for each job, or if one board has more parts than can fit in one tray. Of course if the trays had covers that would be great for storing your components.
tutdude982 years ago
this is realy nice but it will be good if you make some fan ("fume extracting fan")
foxxtrotalpha (author)  tutdude982 years ago
A fume extractor is in the works. Thanks for the suggestion
reply "Which might be battery powered, or 9-12V DC"

you can add 9v battery below parts tray and make stand for soldering iron
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