Introduction: World's Most Over-Engineered 14-in-1 Soldering Station!

This is a project that took me about 2 months to make, Not because it's very complicated, But if you look at the list below, You'll probably understand why... I don't know why, But for some reason, It's sort of addicting to think of more features to add!

This project is based on, And is a huge upgrade for one of my previous Instructables: Magnetic Helping Hands for Soldering. This gadget will basically make any small soldering task turn in to Soldering Heaven!

Here's what it contains:

2X Gorillapod Helping Hands

2X Magnetic Helping Hands

Magnifying Glass "Microscope"

Solder Dispenser

2X Soldering Iron Cleaner (Sponge & Brass Wire)

Solder Collection Container

Tiny C-Clamp Helping Hands

Heat-Sink (This is used to cool down dangerously hot components after un-soldering)

Flashlight Mount for More Light

Protecting Shield (The Magnifying Glass also stops Electrolytic Capacitors from exploding in my face!)

Fire Starter (Sun+Magnifying Glass= This magnifying glass Is really big so it starts a fire easily)

Step 1: Before We Start...

This project is based on, And is a huge upgrade for one of my previous Instructables: Magnetic Helping Hands for Soldering. But instead of being only some magnetic helping hands, I've improved it and upgraded it in to a project that has (way too many!) different functions and uses, And I'll show how how to make it. Step-by-Step!

The big clip now also serves as a flashlight mount: Extra light for soldering, Or as a regular flashlight mount, It isn't as good as my Gorillapod Flashlight Mount, But it's definitely a nice thing to have since this is always on my table

I used a horn of a (really old) siren as the casing that holds all of the parts. If you don't have one, Which you probably don't, You can use any plastic container and fill it with sand to weight it down* :)


*This might not be a bad idea, Instructable about that coming soon! (Probably in a month or so)

Ok, Enough! Let's get to work!

Step 2: What You Need: Materials & Tools

I had to buy only 2 parts (I marked them with an *Asterisk*), All of the other parts (95.23% to be exact) were either salvaged, or left-overs from other projects. If you're wondering, The total cost of this project was only $2.50!



Materials:

Tiny 1" (2.5cm) C-Clamp

Solder Spool/Reel

Small Gorillapod Tripod*

2- Component Metal Epoxy

Epoxy Putty

Super-Glue (CA / Cyanoacrylate)

Metal Speaker Shield/Cup for the Magnet (salvaged)

Metal Pipe/Tube (salvaged)

Lead Weight ~1KG / ~35 oz. (Salvaged from an old stabilized halogen desk lamp)

Small Metal Tray (You can use a lid of an old mason jar as an improvisation)

Large Alligator Clips* (You'll be using two, This link is for 10 because I know I'll use them for more projects)

A Hand-Full of Zip-Ties

Duck Tape (Duct Tape will work too)

Brass Wire (Kitchen Pot Scrubber, I bought a big pack at the grocery store for $1.50)

Cleaning Sponge for Soldering Iron Tip

1 Small Screw (From my leftover screws pile)

Small Transistor Heat-Sink (salvaged)- If you don't have one, Buy this

5" (12.5cm) Magnifying Glass (salvaged, I'll explain more about this in another step)

Casing to hold everything (Salvaged from a siren that was made in 1984!)

Small Pill Box/Container (You probably have one of these lying around the house)



Tools:

Black Permanent Marker

10mm Drill Bit (I used a Spur Point Bit. Spade, Forstner, And Twist Bits will work too)

Drill (Corded or Cordless)

Needle-Nose Pliers

Philips Screwdriver

Vinyl Gloves

Hacksaw

Small Flat-Head Screwdriver (for mixing epoxy)

Big Flat-Head Screwdriver

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If you think that I might have missed something, This makes sense to me, And I'll explain why:

This project started out as a small project, All I wanted to do was add some flexible helping hands to my Magnetic Helping Hands tool that I use for soldering. So I ordered a cheap gorillapod tripod from eBay and Alligator Clips.

To my luck, I was walking back home from a friend, And on the sidewalk, Right in front of me, There was an interesting electronic device that I'd never taken apart before, It was some kind of magnifying glass light, I thought it might be a device for people with poorer eyesight. So I took it apart. (I'll explain more about this in a different step)

So you might ask, "Why did you take it apart?" "This could be a great addition for you table/work-space!"- Well, the arm and the magnifying glass holder were broken, And the 22W fluorescent light-bulb flickered (If it had LED's then I would fix it, Not take it apart)

So back to why I might miss something:

This project started only as "Magnifying Gorillapod Helping Hands", And after finishing the whole project, And letting it sit on my table for over a week (while using it), The idea came to me: Make it a "trillion-in-1" tool, So not everything was written down, But even though I don't think I missed something, Please let me know if I did :)

Step 3: Taking Apart the Gorillapod Tripod

I used a flat screwdriver to pry and remove the tripod head, And next, I removed the rubber pads from the feet.

You should be left with the three resistive leg sections

If you're not sure about the parts of the tripod, Your answers are here (Parts of a tripod- Google Images)

Step 4: Mark, Drill, and Glue the Gorillapod Arms

Here, I used a permanent marker to mark the place that I wanted the arms to be, I recommend choosing a place that is slightly higher than the middle, But it depends on what you're using.

After that, I drilled a hole with a 10mm drill bit, You need a drill bit that is EXACTLY 10mm, Because there is a ring with a slightly larger circumference than 10 millimeters. If you look closely at the second picture in step #3, You might be able to see it

After drilling, I inserted the tripod legs in to the hole and covered it with Epoxy Putty, And let it harden for an hour. If your epoxy putty isn't a kind that hardens quickly, I recommend putting several drops of Super-Glue, Letting the Super-Glue harden, And then covering everything with epoxy putty

Step 5: Attaching the Alligator Clips

There are small holes in the gorillapod, Which I inserted the alligator clips and covered them with epoxy putty. If you use a different kind of gorillapod, You can hold the alligator clips with small hose clamps

Step 6: Adding a Lead Weight

The whole structure of this tool is built to be very strong, And meant to be capable of holding a lot of weight. But with the weight of the magnifying glass (next step), And a big PCB, It can fall over.

To fix this problem I used an old lead weight that I salvaged from an old stabilized halogen lamp, And Duck-Taped to the body (of the previously called siren). I didn't weigh this weight before attaching it but I can estimate that it weighs between 500-1000 grams (~ 1-2.2 lbs.)

I'm sorry for the quality of the lamp picture, It was taken as a "just-in-case I would need it" while dismantling the lamp (this happened during the summer, Around 5 months ago)

Step 7: Taking Apart the Adjustable Magnifying Lamp

As I mentioned earlier, I found a 22W Fluorescent Magnifying Lamp outside on the sidewalk. The pictures above show how I took it apart.

I salvaged the 5" (12.5cm) Magnifying glass from this device using only a Philips Screwdriver

By the way, I found this EXACT Lamp on eBay (here), And it costs over $100!

Step 8: Mark, Drill, and Glue the Magnifying Glass

I marked the place that I wanted the Magnifying Glass to be, Drilled a hole (again with a 10mm drill bit), And covered the arm with Epoxy Putty, The same as I did in step #4.

After that, I connected the Magnifying Glass to the end of the Gorillapod's leg with Epoxy Putty. There are probably better ways to do this, But it was the easiest way for me. Also, Because the epoxy still hadn't fully cured, I used a zip-tie to hold the arm in place

Step 9: Through the Glass- Magnifying Glass Pictures

Break Time!:

Here are a couple pictures that I took through the Magnifying Glass, But for some reason when I look through the camera, It breaks the color "white" in to "RGB".

I don't know why this happens because it's like this only through the camera, I was using a Nikon D3000 Camera with SpectrumLED LED lighting with only the Cool Led's on.

But this doesn't bother me too much since it is meant for soldering purposes, And not for photography (I don't take a lot of close-ups since I'm not in to SMD's)

Step 10: Soldering Iron Tip Cleaning Station

I thought it could be pretty nice to have a "cleaning station" for the soldering iron tip, So I Super-Glued a Speaker Shield (the part that covers the magnet) on to the lead weight, And filled it with brass wire. This serves as a metal cup that holds the brass wire which cleans the soldering iron tip.

Because it's not recommended to use only brass wire to clean the soldering iron tip, I also added a small sponge: I had a small metal tray from an old soldering iron stand that melted, Because some manufacturers probably don't know that a soldering iron stand has to be made of heat-proof material! You can use a lid from a mason jar, It's about the same size.

I connected the metal tray to the body of the tool by screwing it in to a hole that already existed, And added some Super-Glue so it wouldn't wiggle in place.

Step 11: Making the Solder Dispenser

A soldering project is no fun without a solder dispenser! Trust me...

I decided to make a new dispenser as a replacement for my old one that I built a couple months ago:

I used a metal rod that was salvaged from a broken umbrella*, Cut it to a length of 10cm (4 inches), And folded it in half using Needle-Nose Pliers.

After that, I drilled a hole (With a 10mm drill bit, Again...), Glued the rod in place with Super-Glue, And inserted the solder reel/spool in place. I recommend licking "Show More" to see all of the pictures

*I used this same metal rod in my magnetic stick project, But this is a better use for it

And if you're wondering, This is my favorite part of the project. It looks so easy but it took me weeks and weeks to come up with this idea!

Step 12: Leftover Solder: Collection Container

For some reason, I like collecting all of the left-over solder that drops on my desk.

I also like collecting all sorts of containers (any size is good) for storing electronic components and as project enclosures, So I Super-Glued a small pill box to the cleaning station, And clamped it with teeny-tiny C-Clamps

And if you're wondering, When the solder drops on something It turns into a super thin flake which makes it cool down in an instant, This way, It doesn't melt the container

Step 13: Mini C-Clamp Helping Hands | Magnifying Glass Holder When Not in Use

Since this gadget has ***only 4 different helping hands*** (sarcasm), I decided to use a tiny 1" C-Clamp as another one. This is similar to my other project Retractable Helping Hands, But is connected firmly, And doesn't work on a flexible arm.

First, I sanded down the blue paint from the C-Clamp using a file, And then I glued it to the surrounding of the magnet, This was pretty nice as I didn't have to hold it in place until the Metal Epoxy hardened because the C-Clamp got magnetized to the magnet, Which held it in place

This also serves as the magnifying glass arm holder when I want to solder without the magnifying glass, I just wrap a zip-tie around the gorillapod arm, And insert it in to the C-Clamp

Step 14: Transistor Cooler

This might sound like a slightly silly thing, But it's a pretty useful addition for un-soldering:

I glued a small heat-sink using some Metal Epoxy (I had some left-over from the previous step).

This serves as a cooler for Transistors (or any other component) that are dangerously hot after being unsoldered from a PCB, I press the component on the heatsink to not allow it to over-heat and burn out

Step 15: Future Upgrades

Soldering Fume Extractor: I can attach a small 12V fan that will blow away all of the fumes, I'm thinking of doing this soon

Third Hand for my Multi-Meter: Inspired by This Instructable, All I have to do is make a sturdy attachment for the probes, And it'll work

PVC Soldering Iron Holder: Sometimes I have to solder while not needing to hold the soldering iron, I can't find the Instructable about this that I saw earlier, But all I have to do is connect the PVC somehow to the alligator clips and then slide the soldering iron in to the PVC tube...

Metal Plate as a Base: So solder won't drip and ruin something if I don't work on my table

Soldering Iron Stand (rest position): The only place that I can mount it is under the sponge, But that would make all of the water evaporate... Nope :(

Do you have any more ideas for improvements? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments

author
SherylinRM made it! (author)2017-03-17

Glue a five pound plate [from weight lifting] to the bottom for stability maybe?

author
SherylinRM made it! (author)SherylinRM2017-03-17

Yes that works too :)

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-12-14

...It worked!

author
p1r0kun made it! (author)2016-12-06

Did anyone else see image #3 from step 4 and think, "EXTERMINATE!"...?

Anyway, I love how you think! I am a big fan of "over-engineering" and I was pleasantly surprised when I came here from your previous solder dispenser design. I laughed out loud because I would have liked to do the same thing!

I'd also like to compliment you on your spelling, grammar, and formatting - nobody's perfect, but I find your Instructables clear and easy to understand. Thank you for creating these - keep dreaming, building, and sharing!

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-12-07

Nope.

If you're a big fan of over engineering... My upcoming Instructable will be perfect for you! ...Maybe.

I see that you've followed me, so you'll get it in your feed email once I publish it. I also see that you've favorited SpectrumLED and my Articulating Spectrum-Balanced LED Panel, so I'm even more positive you'll like it! :)

Thanks!

author
p1r0kun made it! (author)p1r0kun2016-12-13

Great, I look forward to seeing them!

By the way, I owe an explanation for my "EXTERMINATE" comment - it's a reference to the Daleks, a race of creatures from Doctor Who (I thought the shape looked like one). I can see a comment like that coming off strangely to someone who isn't familiar. Take care! :)

author
SherylinRM made it! (author)2016-10-04

Loved the idea of using the legs from that tripod. Very imaginituve :)

Thanks for this :)

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-10-04

I've actually taken this device apart several months ago :)

I built WAVE - The Ultimate Helping Hands Vise, drilled holes in the other side of the transformer, and glued these in. The vise holds the PCB's, and these are rreally good for holding wires while tinning and soldering.

author
electric guy made it! (author)2016-04-01

I'll tell ya why u took it apart:
it's fun
interesting
and if u have a desolder like me u can use the components in

keep up the good work ;-)

author
ShreenathS2 made it! (author)2016-03-16

Good idea

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-03-16

Thanks, I've now made a different one, And added some of the parts from here

author
haltenfelder made it! (author)2016-02-05

Cool! Cool! Cool!- I mean hot hot hot!

author
Afzal cassim made it! (author)2016-01-16

It's a work of ART! Need one myself...!

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-16

Thank You! It is basically made mostly from "junk" so you might be able to make one yourself

author
vahidyou made it! (author)2016-01-09

Good Job, Try adding soldering iron holder, soldering flux container, and small torch made of some LEDs and a small fan PC with a duct to move away gas made by soldering.

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-16

Sorry for the late reply (I'm not sure I got notified), I don't use any flux, And I can mount a small flashlight on the magnetic helping hands. Did you read Step 15?

author
Afzal cassim made it! (author)Afzal cassim2016-01-16

Great Idea!

author
BoianM made it! (author)2016-01-07

Looks really neat! :-)

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-08

Thank you for your kind words!

author
dubbaluga made it! (author)2016-01-08

Nice idea and instructable! :-) I like to have some shrink tubing on alligator clips. This prevents them from scratching whatever they hold. Furthermore, it improves the grip of the clips.

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-08

Thank You!

I've heard before of putting shrink-tubing on the alligator clips, But many times, They are used as a heat-sink when tinning and soldering wires.

I think I saw that idea about two days before publishing this instructable, Which made me think about something I might make, Which will give me the option to remove it if I need to

author
bman46 made it! (author)2016-01-06

Cool project

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-07

Thanks! Glad you liked it!

author
ThomasK19 made it! (author)2016-01-05

The solder cleaner over the solder roll might be an issue. I had it that solder drops melted the solder string.

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-06

It looks like that in the pictures, But they're no that close in real life. Anyway, It hasn't been a problem

If it will happen I can cover it with some kind of metal sheet

author
ThomasK19 made it! (author)ThomasK192016-01-06

It would probably be a good idea to put the solder roll in a small tin can with a small hole to thread the solder wire. I should do that as well...

author
Just4Fun Media made it! (author)2016-01-06

That looks incredible! How much heat can the clamps take?

Have a great day! :-)

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-06

Thank You! What do you mean by "clamps"? Did you mean "alligator clips"?

author
ChrisR153 made it! (author)2016-01-05

Dude, this is a real behemoth!! You've got my vote!! Good luck with the competitions.. I'm gonna need one of these ASAP! Thanks for the idea!

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-01-06

Thank you so much for your kinds words, Thanks for voting too! :)

author
bob3030 made it! (author)2016-01-05

Sweet!

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