Introduction: Powerful Fume Extractor on Articulating Arm

About: For 30 years I’ve been software developer. About 7 years ago i moved from large software projects to smaller games where i could express my artistic desires and have more variety in my work. At some point i di…

I've had couple of soldering fume extractors before. First one didn’t have enough power, and second one was just a fixed box without any articulating options, in many cases i could not find good position for it, it was too low or far behind.

Step 1: The Idea

At some point i decided i need new fume extractor. It seemed that in shops they where too flimsy and with weak fan, or too large and expensive. There are many possibilities, like separate fume chambers, extractors with hose, etc.. Finally i decided for simplest solution with a fan and filter, even bought myself a gooseneck to mount the fan to base.

But ... one day sorting through some old trash I noticed my old cellphone car holder (really old, for galaxy s1 from 10 years ago) with missing clamp. It hit me straight away, it's meant for my new fume extractor.

Step 2: Main Components

Somekind of articulating holder (phone holder, magic arm, gooseneck, etc)
Powerful 80mm DC 12v 1.6A fan - Aliexpress
Activated Carbon Filter - Aliexpress
DC power jack - 5.5*2.5mm - Aliexpress
PWM Module for motor speed control - Aliexpress
Switch for power on/off - Aliexpress
M3 nuts, bolts, washers.

Wood and acrylic for the base and fan frame.
LED's for extra effect/lighting.

Step 3: The Base - Bending Acrylic

Of course, in my case I like my stuff to be nice and stylish, not only practical, so i had to build a base that matched with my other equipment. I wanted to give my fan some personality, some robot like appearance. Maybe with some style of vintage devices.

Center part is made from scrap piece of acrylic, after bending it will be smooth and have round edges.

Bending the acrylic:
* Clamp it down to table or between some wood panels/planks. Wood is good heat insulator, so only the acrylic gets hot.
* Heat it slowly until it starts to sag, gets bendable. Heat it evenly from all sides.
* Use something smooth and strong to bend it to shape, or give it desired angle. In some cases metal works great but can get hot.
* Hold down until acrylic cools and keeps it's shape.

I used 6mm acrylic, it's strong, but harder to bend.

After bending and before painting, it's a good idea to drill all necessary holes.
* for DC jack
* speed control potentiometer
* power switch
* power wire for fan
* attachment holes for phone holder
* holes for attaching the sides
* optional - i drilled extra hole for LED, but you can add led under the base, on the fan, etc.

You can leave it transparent, but in my case i sanded it down, and spray-painted matte black later to match my other equipment.

Step 4: The Base - Finish Up

Sides are just 2 pieces of wood cut into shapes and sanded. You can get 2 identical pieces if you stick them together using double-sided tape for cutting and sanding. You also need some way of attaching sides to center part, i used couple of pieces of scrap wood to add support and means to screw everything together.
In my case i used Teak oil for finishing.

Step 5: Frame for the Fan

To continue on our wood and matte black finish, let's build simplest frame for out fan.

4 pieces of wood for each side. i used design with screws so i could dismantle frame later on when needed.
It depends what kind of fan you have, in my case i decided to glue in some pieces for support. They keep the fan securely in place and can be later used to attach stuff with screws (grille, filter).

In my case i used ash and finished again with Teak oil. Ash is really strong so the frame is really strong and can handle screws better.

Step 6: Electronics

Electronic part is as simple as i gets. I utilized PWM module because they are so cheap and save a lot of time.

Nothing fancy inside, most of the connections are made using wago connectors (so its easier to make changes and upgrade later). Connectors are glued in using hot-glue.

LED power button and pink led are just for an effect. I chose pink because it's not so common and color is contained in my DIY channel logo :) LED's need current limiting resistors, in current 12V case 1/4w 470 ohm resistors.

Of course you can always power fan straight from power source, or use different voltage/current limiting options. Even better is to use PWM input in the motor to regulate speed. In our project PWM module generates our signal and alter average voltage delivered to the fan (though my fan supports pwm input i i chose not to use it so i can later change the fan if needed).

Step 7: Finito

Here is our new fume extractor. It came out pretty interesting and has lot's of character to it. 1.6Amp fan has more than enough power. The fan with it's frame is quite heavy but stands really firmly on its base in any position.

I've been using it for some time now, its really convenient and adjustable head never failed to find good position/angle, low or high from the table, it works.

Step 8: Bonus - LED Eye

1. Cut out piece of acrylic for the difuser.
2. Use hot-glue to attach LED to difuser (hot-glue adds extra difusion).
3. Use tape to cover sides to prevent unwanted light leaking/bleeding out (i used gorilla tape).
4. Cut out some patterned mask, i used fan mesh i had laying around and glue it to the front.
5. LED is ready to be used in your project. I just glued it in using black hot-glue.

It looks really cool in person and adds character, reminds me of some robot/machine eye or radiating/alien glow or something.