Picture of 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
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Step 1: The surface

Picture of 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

Picture of Feet
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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.
pwnag32 years ago
WHAT no snack holder? XD
rerat7 years ago
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.
klee27x rerat7 years ago
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.
pfred2 klee27x3 years ago
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.
klee27x pfred23 years ago
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.
pfred2 klee27x3 years ago
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.
acer73 (author)  klee27x7 years ago
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
klee27x acer737 years ago
It's just laying there. I didn't drill it.
acer73 (author)  klee27x7 years ago
I know you didn't, im saying i wouldn't use glass because I can't easily attach stuff to it.
klee27x acer737 years ago
you can hotmelt glue things to glass, or use silicone.
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.
Punkguyta6 years ago
I have the EXACT same pair of red handled wire strippers. Say, do you know how to sharpen the stripper part??
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.
use a fine grinding bit
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.
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.
I do but their are for one of those cheap rotary tools
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!
JTS9995 years ago
All i used is a tile for my surface
pfred2 JTS9993 years ago
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?
WarSaw JTS9995 years ago
ceramic or some sort of tile is better like usesJTS999
pfred23 years ago
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:

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:

My little slice of paradise ...

The last place I used some of my copper plate:

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

Can you see it?
i have the same soldering iron died oh well it was from radio shack what do you expect.
ll.137 years ago
flux for the electronics soldering?
dev45 ll.137 years ago
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 :-)
acer73 (author)  dev457 years ago
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.
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.
ll.13 dev457 years ago
no no I'm saying that flux is useful for soldering electronics.
acer73 (author)  ll.137 years ago
Flux is used to clean off the surface, heat the metal evenly and keep away oxidization.
dev45 ll.137 years ago
Sorry Good point It can be useful And just to add on to my last post 90% of the wire is copper as well.
unjust7 years ago
er... isn't the point of an electronics soldering station usually to solder things to copper?
Oooo... never be able to remove solder drips without messing up the copper... also incredible risk of shorts when testing circuit after soldering. exaust fan flood or spot light ...nearby plastic cases subject to iron tipover... Think you should retitle this: "How not to build a soldering station."
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)
acer73 (author)  armindilo7 years ago
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.
acer73 (author)  smarterthanu7 years ago
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.