I own a Weller WDS1002 soldering / rework station which came with the Weller DSX80 through-hole desoldering iron. However, no stand accompanied the iron. The lack of a stand made it difficult to use the iron. When the iron heated up, I had to be careful how I placed it on the table so that the workbench surface or things around it did not touch the hot tip. I obviously needed a stand for the iron.
The recommended stand was too expensive to buy and a regular soldering iron stand available at an electronics supply store did not work because of the large glass collector prevented the iron from staying in the stand. I had to design a stand that would:
- Hold the iron at a convenient angle for picking it up for use and placing it back to rest
- Be sturdy so that the iron would be held securely and safely
- Be easy to make using tools that I had in my workshop and inexpensive using materials I had to hand
This stand is what I came up with. It is made from acrylic plastic. It supports the handle in two places so that it cannot tip out from the weight of the cord. It has a wide base that ensures the iron cannot tip over. The handle is at a convenient angle and the grip of the handle is easily accessible.
Step 1: Prepare the Desoldering Iron Holder
The heart of the stand is the holder that cradles the iron's handle. This holder is salvaged from a regular soldering iron stand. These stands are readily available through online stores or at local electronics supply stores. The stand consists of a wire spring, a metal heat shield and a plastic collar. The stand has to be disassembled to get the plastic collar. The parts are only press fitted together and disassembly consists of simply separating the parts. Remove the collar from the spring, and then remove the heat shield from the collar. Retain the collar and you can discard the spring and shield because they are not needed for this instructable.
Step 2: Cut the Acrylic Pieces for the Stand
The supports and base are made from 7mm thick clear acrylic plastic, 137mm wide by 200mm long. Five separate pieces are required for the stand -- (1) front support, (1) rear support, (1) base and (2) reinforcing strips. Dimensions are as follows:
Front support: 50mm wide X 72mm long
Rear support: 50mm wide X 82mm long
Base: 50mm wide X 72mm long
Reinforcing strip: 16mm wide X 50mm long
Cut to size using a saw. I had a table saw and used that with a fence to ensure clean accurate parallel cuts. The front support has to be further machined to provide a cutout into which the collar will be glued. The cutout has to be at an angle so that the desoldering iron rests in a natural 30 degree angle. To achieve this, I used my drill press with a jig to set the front support at the proper 30 degree angle. It was simply a scrap board which I supported at one end until the correct angle was achieved. I used a 35mm hole saw in the drill chuck and positioned the front support so that the pilot drill of the hole saw just intersected the top edge of the support. The resulting crescent shaped hole cut by the hole saw ended up having parallel sides and a bottom at 30 degrees. The collar snuggly fit into this cutout and was held at the correct angle.
Step 3: Attach the Collar
Using epoxy, I glued the collar into the cutout. I chose J-B Weld only because I had some to hand but any gap filling glue that is compatible with acrylic should also work. The large end of the collar should point upwards and the small end downwards to be correctly oriented. I mixed up the epoxy and smeared a small film of it on both the collar and the front support cutout. I made sure that the glue was even and any excess was cleaned up. Then using tape, I secured the assembly from movement until the epoxy hardened.
Step 4: Glue Up the Stand
Once the epoxy cured, it was time to assemble the stand. I used a specially formulated cement for gluing acrylic plastic, called Acrifix. It is more of a solvent than a glue in that it melts the plastic pieces together, much the same way ABS cement works.
The first piece to fix in place was the rear support to the base. I used a engineer's square as a support until the cement dried to ensure the support remained at 90 degrees to the base. Once dried, I repeated the process for the front support, again using the engineer's square to ensure they were 90 degrees. Don't forget to orient the collar in the correct way, as shown in the picture. Finally, I cemented in the two reinforcing strips in the corners where the supports met the base.
Step 5: Cut the Access Slot in the Collar
Once the plastic assembly was fully dried (overnight), it was time to saw away a piece of the collar that would provide for an opening into which the desoldering iron could be placed. I again used my table saw to do the cuts.
I marked out where to cut the collar by using a piece of painter's masking tape. The tape was 15mm in width which was exactly the width I wanted to remove. I locate the exact centre of the collar and lay the tape evenly across that line. That meant I would be removing equal amounts on either side.
I next setup the fence on my table saw so that the kerf of the saw blade would follow exactly the edge of the painter's tape. The shape of the stand ensured that when it was inverted on the table saw, it was stable. This was for safety. I also made sure that the blade was only raised above the table enough to just cut through the collar. I didn't want to accidentally cut too much from the collar. I made two passes over the blade, resulting in the slot pictured.
The height of the rear support is such that it will tip the iron upwards a bit too much. This was by design. I used a round rasp file to form a small depression on the top edge of the rear support so that the handle was cradled and wouldn't slip side to side.
Step 6: Add a Base
The stand alone is too light to hold the DSX80 iron securely on the table. The weight of the cord and hose of the iron can drag the stand around, so a secure base is needed. I had a 150mm X 150mm (6" X 6") piece of 1/4" steel plate in my junk box. A similarly sized piece of plywood would also serve the purpose. I used epoxy to permanently secure the stand to this plate, after thoroughly cleaning any dirt, grease or oil using acetone. As the final feature, I added four rubber feet.