Introduction: Soldering Station


Wait, so why are soldering iron holders, helping hands, and solder dispensers not bundled together? I work all over the room/house/town and don't want to have to rummage about, looking for helping hands then solder then a place to put my hot, kinda crappy iron... And the soldering station was born.

Step 1: Hunting and Gathering


I also wanted some mobility and storage--the station I designed has a hinge and latch. My meager electronics gear can then be tucked away and I can high tail it to the next pair of bare wires, wherever they may be.

Materials
plywood
scrap wood
small hinge
small latch
rod (for solder spool)
metallic ring
switch
extension cord
two small bolts and matching nuts
assorted washers
two coat hangers
two alligator clips

Tools
soldering iron
hot glue gun
super glue
drill
coping saw
pliers
vice

I made a very rough model of the station's base out of paper and duct tape. It would have been cool to have something shaped like this (trapezoids when viewed from the side and triangular from above) but the angles were too much for my woodworking abilities. I settled on a face angled at 45 degrees with a flat back and sides.

Step 2: Thou Art Sad; Get Thee a Box


The first picture shows one of two sides of the box. The panel's about 5" tall, 9" long with a 45 degree angle cut as shown. I chose this inclination because it was easy to work with provided a fairly comfortable angle at which to replace the soldering iron. I guess a shallower angle would have been more natural to me but that would have decreased the box's storage capacity...unacceptable!

I used a table saw to cut the pieces. The station's width is about 6". Things are carefully balanced in the second and third images--nothing's been glued yet. Every panel (except the bottom) will be modified in some way so they need to be left disconnected and alone.

Step 3: Adding Power Cord and Switch


A warning: playing with electricity from your outlet is dangerous...I was mildly electrocuted here and, though it went great lengths to wake me up at 3 AM, it should be avoided.

I wanted electricity from the wall to go directly to the station via an indoor-type extension cord. The cord would pass into the station and it's plug would lie flush with the wooden face. The soldering iron is plugged in here. The switch's position determines whether the extension cord is hot or not (and thus when the soldering iron is on).

The switch I used is supposed to light up when the circuit's live...this worked sporadically at first and then ceased to function. I don't know why. The light's a nice function as it lets you know immediately that your soldering iron is heating up even though the tip still looks cold. I'm fine without the light since my iron has a little ring of indicator LEDs that come on when it's plugged in.

Step 4: Making the Solder Spool


Solder is pulled out from the left "eye" when needed; there's a solder spool hidden behind the front, angled face. The spool simply has a rod through it and is attached to two small scraps of wood. The rod fits tightly in the holes in the wood so the spool can be changed when necessary. Simple enough...

Step 5: Iron Holder


The soldering tip needs to be supported within the box to keep the rest of the iron in place. It also prevents the rather warm tip from touching things it shouldn't when resting inside the box. A little metal ring (scavenged from a printer where it kept internal cords organized) was embedded tightly in a small piece of wood. I "friction-fit" the ring as the hot tip would just melt any hot glue adhesive I used (and I couldn't find my superglue at the time). A support block was cut and the ring block and supporting piece of wood were attached together. Experiment to find the correct placement of this assembly within the box. Just put the iron (er, make sure it's turned off) in the hole on the face. Mark where the ring block should go so the tip lies within the ring and glue 'er in place.

Step 6: Make It a Full-fledged Box


The latch was a bit more complex than the hinge and should be done first. The two parts (I'll go with "male" and "female" here) can't both be on the lid or the mechanism just won't work...I guess that's obvious Mount a scrap piece of wood to the side of the box such that the wood is flush with the lid. A slot the same size as this scrap needs to be cut out of the lid. As you can see from the pictures, I cut my slot a little to long...but this actually worked in my favor (to be explained later, no worries). Glue the female part to top of the scrap wood and then attach the male piece to the lid.

My hinge came with screws but I tossed 'em and hot glued the sucker in place. The lid had to be slightly trimmed to help it open more easily.

Step 7: Helping Jaws


They're alligator clips...alligators definitely have no "helping hands." Anyhow! The plan for constructing the helping mandibles (which are essentially tools used to hold things while you solder) is as follows:
(1) Attach alligator clips to coat hanger wires
(2) Attach the other end of the wire to a small bolt
(3) Embed nuts that match the bolts into the box (the helping hands can then be removed and put in the box itself).

Washers were attached just cause that seemed like the thing to do...it cleaned up the look of the holes too.

Step 8: Mistakes, Fixes, and Things for Version 2.0


I guess the internal layout could have been thought through more carefully...the tip of the iron is a little to close to the switch's wiring. If one's not really paying attention, the tip could be put through the face and potentially hit the wires (melting insulation, messing up the iron's tip, possible electrocution...not good). I put a guardrail in place; it's just a bent piece of coathanger. It deflects the tip away from the wires in cases of bad aim.

Update! PKM suggested I make a wire coil to further protect the box's internals. I had seen this implemented in jaime9999's iron holder but for whatever reason never thought to implement it here. Great idea!

The "right eye" washer began sliding off after the first use of the station since the melting point of hot glue was easily exceeded by the soldering iron. That fix was easy enough, I had found my superglue by that point and used it to reattach the washer.

Remember how I cut that latch slot too long? Turns out it was just what I needed. When packing this station up you can open the top, put the plug end of the extension cord inside and then close the lid, allowing the middle section of the cord to protrude through that slot (I stuff the remainder of the cord into the box at this point). It's actually the only way to store that cord and far better than wrapping it around the station, in my mind.

Improvements
(1) Think of how to incorporate a sponge, maybe on the lid. I think we could do better than just slapping a wet sponge onto the table.
(2) Add wire and wick (desoldering braid) dispensers.
(3) Functional light switch...

Step 9: Pack Up, We're Done Here


That's pretty much it, the amount of storage space works for me though it's very cramped.

Oh, and I realized this looked quite similar to the Instructables robot; it was pure coincidence how the eye sizes worked out. I gave him a temporary duct tape visage but might make it permanent with some paint (and a yellow body).

Comments

author
Nmoleo%C2%AD made it!(author)2016-12-02

This is a great idea! I made mine but it is rectangular and the soldering iron rests in a coil on the top. I also connected the iron to an electrical outlet inside the box that I can use to switch the soldering iron on and off.

author
KimM179 made it!(author)2016-05-29

Hey, Thanks for this great idea, i made it too :D

From A 15 years old boy from Norway! Have A Nice day :D

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author
Cueball21 made it!(author)2015-07-30

Very nicely done! Think I might make one myself.

Did you consider using a length of copper pipe in the inside for the hot part of the iron to rest in? I think that might be a bit easier to do. If sized sufficiently large it would contain enough space around the iron to keep from being heated too much. You could also drill a few ventilation holes through the copper tube to increase air flow.

author
sai+dharshan made it!(author)2015-03-02

i have single piece soldering iron so i can save many steps ,
any how very nice model!!!

author
pch%C5%82%C3%B3d made it!(author)2015-01-10

Personalized to my needs.

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pch%C5%82%C3%B3d made it!(author)2015-01-10

Very different to your model. A bit personalized to my needs.

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author
nibir made it!(author)2013-12-07

Instead of the coil, you can attach a soft drink can in the iron holder. It also helps to trap the heat of the iron.

author
JoSte0421 made it!(author)2013-09-11

Absolute brilliance...love it. :)

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park47 made it!(author)2011-12-26

Thanks.... This design is what I 'm looking for, compact and have everything at hands. May be for moving around with a handle added. :)

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CamoBedding made it!(author)2011-12-04

Great idea for a soldering station. thanks for sharing.

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Mr.+D. made it!(author)2011-09-15

Just an idea. Maybe use a hollow brass (or other metal) tube from the "eye" to the support block to help guide the iron.

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triodo made it!(author)2011-08-28

muy interesante

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yaly made it!(author)2011-06-02

you could add something like a drawer to put a sponge in it but pad the interior of the drawer with fiberglass or rubber to avoid the wood sucking the water.you could add a nose to the face and from the two nostrils one is for wick and the other for the wire.you may also add adjustable ears and at the end is some LEDs popping out when the lid is opened and a switch beneath the main one and a wall-wart adapter for the leds and two dimmer switches for the LED brightness and temperature control.

drawer attachment.bmp
author
freakyqwerty made it!(author)2011-07-28

Put two draws in side by side and electronic components that you use often use in one and the sponge in the other…

author
james.mcglashan made it!(author)2009-04-03

what do u do if the soldering iron gets to hot and itberns the wood then it brakes would that make a proplom with ur soldering station...???

author
Derin made it!(author)2009-04-04

ERROR The words itberns,proplom and ur are not recognized. Trying to read... ERROR The word brakes is misspelled. Trying to read... Meaning was not conveyed properly.

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james.mcglashan made it!(author)2009-04-05

what do u mean???????

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Derin made it!(author)2009-06-15

spell properly

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josh1324 made it!(author)2011-07-21

whats a proplom?

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james.mcglashan made it!(author)2009-06-20

i have some spelling mistakes but u can still read it lol

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Derin made it!(author)2009-06-21

no i cant plus,you hurt my eyes

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qballcat made it!(author)2009-08-19

wanna know what hurts my eyes? soap

author
Iridium7 made it!(author)2009-11-13

 you know what also hurts my eyes...acid

author
masterochicken made it!(author)2009-12-17

The goggles. They do nothing!

author
killersquirel11 made it!(author)2009-11-21

druggie...

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Javin made it!(author)2009-04-19

lol

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catdice made it!(author)2009-08-19

A soldering iron is not going to shatter a wood holding station.

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bylerfamily made it!(author)2009-05-23

You have the same iron as I do!

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sharlston made it!(author)2009-06-14

yay i have the same iron as you aswell

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mason0190 made it!(author)2009-08-01

omg me 2

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qballcat made it!(author)2009-08-19

lol me 3

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z-man6233 made it!(author)2009-10-01

me 4

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ilikeadabox made it!(author)2009-11-02

lmfao me 5

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mwagner63 made it!(author)2010-10-27

me 6

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josh1324 made it!(author)2011-07-21

lol i don't

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Iridium7 made it!(author)2009-11-13

 aparently that brand is cheaper

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Electronics+Man made it!(author)2011-07-20

Great Job!!!

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amorarun made it!(author)2011-07-20

Nicely done. I might do one if I have time :)

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R.A.T.M made it!(author)2011-07-19

thay have that alreay

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bombmaker2 made it!(author)2009-01-04

A suggestion, add a potentiometer to control heat

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Sandisk1duo made it!(author)2009-01-12

your potentiometer will catch on fire :)

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bombmaker2 made it!(author)2009-01-13

huh?

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Sandisk1duo made it!(author)2009-01-13

if you wire the potentiometer to the Soldering iron, it will catch on fire

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bombmaker2 made it!(author)2009-01-14

odd. I did it once and it didn't even get hot.

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Sandisk1duo made it!(author)2009-01-14

are you talking about a light dimmer, or a regular potentiometer?

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bombmaker2 made it!(author)2009-01-15

light dimmer

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Sandisk1duo made it!(author)2009-01-15

that's different from a potentiometer, because it has circuitry that switches the power

author
Robot+Lover made it!(author)2011-07-18

actually its just higher wattage. Well actually i think you're right, let's go with the circuitry and the switching of power. ( :

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Patman27 made it!(author)2011-07-18

If you were to wire a potentiometer to AC voltage, it would literally melt unless it was rated for a few hundred watts. Resistors turn excess energy into heat, whereas a light dimmer uses a small potentiometer to control a simple circuit which varies the duty cycle of the AC coming out the other side.

author
bombmaker2 made it!(author)2009-01-16

ok

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