Introduction: Solder Station Caddy (Keep That Stuff Organised!)
Some jobs need a lot of tools. Wheather its soldering, sewing or painting, you will have a ton of little things on your desk, so a caddy to carry and oganise that stuff would be great. I used my 3D printer for this and I hope this instructable acts as a inspiration to build some custom storage items that cater your needs. This is a great way to declutter any workspace or hobby.
This particular caddy fits the Ersa Icon Pico soldering station which is an amazing tool. I can highly reccomend it.
I use Fusion 360 which is a free CAD software for enthusiasts like us.
Why use a 3D printer for this?
Sure the filament for this project cost about €10, but it saved me a ton of time. This would be an all day project otherwise. Making this out of wood would also be much heavier, and not as detailed. It would certainly make a whole lot more dust and require a ton of tools like drills, saws, sanders, files and glue.
Step 1: Measure Your Stuff.
Grab all your stuff and lay it out on a table. Its best to do this after you just completed a project, so all your tools are already there and you don´t miss anything. I only measured the floor space of my items. The height wasn´t important since they can stick out of the top.
The cables were difficult to sort out, I decided to just give them a generous compartment to stuff them into.
Step 2: Design Your Caddy.
There are a lot of different ways to design something like this in CAD. I kinda went the architects way and designing a flat and empty floorplan that fits the build plate of my 3d printer and than deviding everything into compartments. I gave every tool a 1mm gap towards all sides. That way its easier to get them in and out.
I designed all compartments inside a single sketch. That is personal preferance, and I like it because I can see straight away how they interact with the other compartments. The outside walls are 2mm thick and the inside walls 1.2mm. That is sturdy enough, but I wouldn´t go any thinner. I tried to use the least amount of material as possible.
The filament for this is PETG. It is not as brittle as PLA, but it prints just as easily. A heated print plate is important though, but nowadays most printers have one.
The outline tool is very useful to create the wall thicknesses. All CAD softwares have a version of this.
With time, I kept adding more features until everything had its space. Of course you wan´t to avoid overhangs as much as possible. I had one and decided to split up the model into two parts to avoid printing to much support material.
Step 3: Using Threaded Inserts
These inserts can be press-fitted into your 3D prints with the hot tip of a soldering iron. I used the branded version from Ruthex which are a little bit more expenive than the generic ones from China, but the quality is much better. The dimensions of the holes are printed onto the bags which is a very nice touch. No guessing required.
These are great to connect different component. You can also thread the plastic itself like you would thread metals, but I found that PLA likes to melt very easily when threading it with a cordless drill. And if that happens, you really have messed up!
For the spinning tabs on the green square holder, I secured the screws with a drop of superglue, so they don´t come out.
Step 4: Finishing Touches.
Not many steps in this instructable! The printer does most of the work, which is aweome. I love spending time in my workshop, but of course that time is limited.
I added felt pads underneath and glued on the extra part with the overhang. Superglue works well with PLA and PETG. I use felt pads instead of silicone, because I want to be able to slide the caddy around.
Step 5: Add Your Stuff!
Lets hope you took the right measurements and also entered them correctly. If not, you can just print it again. It takes 36h all together, but does it really matter? I don´t mind keeping my printer busy. More time for me to watch netflix.
Participated in the
Declutter Speed Challenge