Introduction: Ultimate Soldering Station Platform

Ever since I got my soldering Iron I've been using a old rusty pan to do my work in. I rather do soldering inside because its nice and cool. I live in the desert so its crazy to solder during the summer.

After much veiwing of instructables I wanted to make a hybrid. I would mount a spindle for wire, soldering Iron rest and a helping hands onto a 10' x 16' x 1/4' copper plate.

The soldering station would still have room to tinker on though, plus it also would have little feet to keep the heat off you desk.

See the Soldering Group for more Ideas

I also used Build a Pair of Helping hands

Step 1: The Surface

Since you are making this by scratch you may use any metalic surface. I used copper because it was what I had. Your could use aluminum, Iron or steel but the latter two would be more money.

Its best to have a larger surface then you think you would need because the soldering station is very easy to upgrade.

I used at 10"x16"x1/4" copper plate.

When my dad gave me the piece it was super sharp and the edges were covered in burs. I used a sander to round and remove the burs. The corners were very pokey too so I got a file and rounded them off.

Step 2: Feet

In order for this to be a soldering PLATFORM I would need to raise it off the ground.

So I found some composite Board (wood) laying around.

So I cut 1"x1"x1/2" squares out of the board to make feet.

I then marked the feet in the center and marked the copper surface 1" off the corners using a carpenters square.

The copper was surprisingly difficult to drill through due to the dull bits. My dad told me to cross cut the holes, meaning use a bigger bit to drill out a portion of the hole. Thats to keep the screws flush with the copper.

The screws were just normal 1/2" wood screws.

Step 3: Wire Spindle

This is the easiest part.

Get the largest screw you can find, mine was 2 1/2" So I drilled a hole about 3 inches in from the corner.

The pushed in the screw so it would face up then tigtened it with the lug nut.

Step 4: Helping Hands

I would use the idea from this Instructable to make some simple fully adjustable helping hands.

I use the jig saw to cut out a 3"x3" square from the same piece of composite board.

I clamped the board near the corner and drilled through the wood an a little bit thorough the copper. After drilling two holes I unclamped it and finished drilling. I found some machine screws about a inch long and slipped them in and securing it with a nut.

I got some large gauge copper wire from its insulator, it was for outdoors and cut 2 pieces about 8 inches in length.

I stripped about 1/2" from each wire and put a alligator clip on each one.

After that I used these little attachment thing it came with and screwed it into the wooden block just installed.

Now you have some Helping Hands.

Step 5: Soldering Iron Rest

The one that came with my Iron was fine so I lit up my torch and got ot some solder.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the plate hot enough to solder to, so I had to reheat the rest and use a piece of wire to remove the excess. Then I got a wire toothbrush to get it nice and shiny again.

After looking for the JB Weld for 20 mins I finally found it to mix it I just cut out another piece of the board and used a old scraper to mix it up and apply to the bottom of the rest.

I would take about 4-6 hours to set and wait over night till I touch it.

Step 6: Project Complete

Once everything drys it should be ready!

This whole project cost me nothing, except the alligator clips which were 2 dollars

I really Like mine because I can add anything I want to it but it still has room to tinker on.

Hope you enjoyed it

P.S. My wooden leggs were a little uneven so I put a piece of cardboard under one

P.P.S you could also put current through the alligator clips to help test stuff.

Comments

author
pwnag3 (author)2012-09-10

WHAT no snack holder? XD

author
rerat (author)2007-07-21

albeit nice looking, seems like a rather large waste of a rather large sheet of copper I could find MANY better uses for. It seems to me to be nothing but an expensive tabletop. I made mine with the side of an old PC case, and a sheet of cardboard.

author
klee27x (author)rerat2007-07-27

For a long time I used a pain fiber clipboard to protect my table. Since then I have just plopped down a sheet of smooth tempered glass. Solder, tape, epoxy drips, hot melt glue... doesn't matter. They all scrape off with a razor blade in no time. Glass is also a wonderful surface for cutting things such as foam or paper using an exacto knife.

author
pfred2 (author)klee27x2011-07-18

Yeah? When I used a piece of tempered glass hot solder dripped onto it pitted it. Also you run a knife blade right on glass? Sounds sort of harsh on the blade to me. Just sayin is all.

author
klee27x (author)pfred22011-07-25

Yeah. Several months later, and I found out about the "harsh on blades" thing. I still use a sheet of glass for cutting tape/stickers, though.

author
pfred2 (author)klee27x2011-07-26

A glossy magazine might work you know for a few slices. When they start getting raggy you have to change them out. The best thing I'd imagine might be one of those self healing rubber cutting mats. But I don't run across those every day in my travels for a nice price. An HDPE cutting board might work too or possibly even a cut off side of a square plastic jug. Would be worth a try.

A smooth wooden cutting board may even do the trick for you. I could see an end grain board not being too bad.

author
acer73 (author)klee27x2007-07-29

I can see your point but I sometimes solder bigger things using my torch on this, the glass might shatter. I still would like using glass but I couldn't put all the stuff I wanted to on it, my drill bits are crappy and I thought u weren't supposed to drill into Tempered Glass

author
klee27x (author)acer732007-07-31

It's just laying there. I didn't drill it.

author
acer73 (author)klee27x2007-08-01

I know you didn't, im saying i wouldn't use glass because I can't easily attach stuff to it.

author
klee27x (author)acer732007-08-12

you can hotmelt glue things to glass, or use silicone.

author
Itsgoofytime (author)klee27x2007-09-13

I use a Ceramic Cutting Board that would typically cost around $100. I found it for free. You could accidently solder to the copper, it oxidizes in heat, it is conductive. Good Idea, but Dont use Copper. Cost too much to waste it on somthing like this.

author
Punkguyta (author)2009-01-20

I have the EXACT same pair of red handled wire strippers. Say, do you know how to sharpen the stripper part??

author
bombmaker2 (author)Punkguyta2009-02-01

dremel?

author
Punkguyta (author)bombmaker22009-02-02

I have a brand new one of those sitting here beside me, perhaps I'll give it a go, although I'd fear of taking too much metal off the teeth with it, these damn things can peal away metal pretty quick.

author
bombmaker2 (author)Punkguyta2009-02-02

use a fine grinding bit

author
Punkguyta (author)bombmaker22009-02-02

While I do have some of those really smooth metal grinding bits, I don't think I have one with a small enough point to get in the grooves of the stripping teeth for 18+ gauge wire.

author
pfred2 (author)Punkguyta2011-07-18

I just broke out my Rat Shack red handled multi purpose tool here and examining it I don't think it is worth the trouble. Just use the tool for the other functions and forget the stripper aspect of it. With all it has going against it I'm afraid it is purely decorative.

Even if the tool was of the highest quality, and it obviously isn't, under pivot strippers are very awkward to use.

author
bombmaker2 (author)Punkguyta2009-02-03

I do but their are for one of those cheap rotary tools

author
pfred2 (author)Punkguyta2011-07-18

I think I do too and I also think they may have come from Radio Shack. I keep mine in my junk tools spot. I don't really use them. They're buried under less junky tools in fact!

author
JTS999 (author)2009-06-07

All i used is a tile for my surface

author
pfred2 (author)JTS9992011-07-18

Yeah I think tile would be a more suitable material for the application as well. If I had a big piece of copper like that the last thing I'd think to use it for would be as a protector for soldering. But hey I guess it takes all kinds?

author
WarSaw (author)JTS9992009-08-30

ceramic or some sort of tile is better like usesJTS999

author
pfred2 (author)2011-07-18

Oh your copper plate is so large! Is it solid copper? I have some scraps that I cut up to make custom connectors and terminals and all but nothing like that!

My solder station looks like this:
http://i.imgur.com/peQxb.jpg

As you may be able to see I use a stainless steel plate for my surface. Oh and a dirty old mouse pad too which I've recently, since that picture was taken, cleaned somewhat. It came up pretty good.

Before I used this steel plate I used to use a piece of tempered glass but solder that fell onto it pitted it and I didn't care for that with my vacuum vise.

I wouldn't call my setup the ultimate but it suits me and we all use what we have right? If that plate of yours really is solid copper I think you can use it for better things though. I know I would.

You can see a little more of my setup here:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Pauls-Electronics-Pit/

My little slice of paradise ...

The last place I used some of my copper plate:
http://i.imgur.com/JpnK1.jpg

You can see a little strip poking out from under that breaker in the lower left hand corner of it. It lives here now:

http://i.imgur.com/01rFH.jpg

Can you see it?

author
the tech head (author)2010-12-16

i have the same soldering iron but....it died oh well it was from radio shack what do you expect.

author
ll.13 (author)2007-07-21

flux for the electronics soldering?

author
dev45 (author)ll.132007-07-21

The flux is for soldering the iron holder down but the holder didn't take well making one out of copper would help He said that "I didn't know that you couldn't solder on copper" but copper water pipes are soldered all the time. Pleas read before you post :-)

author
acer73 (author)dev452007-07-23

That was all the solder I had at the time. The solder would not stick to the copper at all, possibly because I couldn't get the plate hot enough.

author

ah, that would be because its covered in a fine layer of gunk. copper is the best metal there is to solder too pretty much as long as its clean. I would have used something besides copper for the surface. however, I must say, VERY good instructable, easy to understand and not bogged down with a bunch of useless info.

author
ll.13 (author)dev452007-07-23

no no I'm saying that flux is useful for soldering electronics.

author
acer73 (author)ll.132007-07-23

Flux is used to clean off the surface, heat the metal evenly and keep away oxidization.

author
dev45 (author)ll.132007-07-23

Sorry Good point It can be useful And just to add on to my last post 90% of the wire is copper as well.

author
unjust (author)2007-07-25

er... isn't the point of an electronics soldering station usually to solder things to copper?

author
smarterthanu (author)2007-07-21

Oooo... never be able to remove solder drips without messing up the copper... also incredible risk of shorts when testing circuit after soldering. ...no exaust fan ...no flood or spot light ...nearby plastic cases subject to iron tipover... Think you should retitle this: "How not to build a soldering station."

author
armindilo (author)smarterthanu2007-07-21

I use a similar setup (with the light and fan) to do some surface mount stuff. Solder drips come off just fine, as long as the plate isn't too clean. I don't test on the solder station. I do however ground the plate and then not have to worry about static since most of the circuit is touching the plate. as far as iron tipovers, I could count on one finger the number of times I've had an iron tipover bad enough that it would roll off the plate. I think the title is just fine, although there are many improvements that could be made (such as light and fan)

author
acer73 (author)armindilo2007-07-23

Thank you, like i said on the first step, your station is fully customizable so if you want something extra its fine to add it.

author
acer73 (author)smarterthanu2007-07-23

I have no need for a spotlight, in the picture with everything together, to the right is a lamp with 3 lights. I already have a fan in my room so there would be no reason for another. There is nothing wrong with my soldering station if you don't like it then just don't build it.

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