The Ultimate Soldering Station

Introduction: The Ultimate Soldering Station

I have been soldering for about 6 years now, and have never bought a soldering helping/third hand. You can purchase cheap ones off Amazon for around twelve dollars that use hinged arms, which are a bit of a hassle, or you can buy these nice ones with flexible arms and a sturdy base. The latter costs around thirty dollars at cheapest. So I decided to make my own. A few years ago. This project was pushed to the back of my closet, due to more important things getting in the way, and lack of material. I was re-motivated when I saw the Finish it Already contest and after a few days of sorting out all my unfinished projects, decided that this was the most useful, and also desperately needed. I was getting a little tired of asking my brothers to hold wires together while I soldered, and after my latest project, the Shadow Clock, I decided that I really needed one. So I made one. Some of the things I check for before I start out a project:

  • Is it aesthetically pleasing? If it doesn't look good, it won't stay on my desk.
  • Can it take constant movement, is it durable enough that I'm not always handling it as delicately as possible?
  • Does it function as needed? If it's more of a hassle than a help, it's not worth it.

These are the standards I try to work by, I've been making things for most of my life, and the only things that I find I keep are the ones that fit the description above. I find a lot of my projects don't fit into the durable section, and end up breaking very easily. I hope you find these tips helpful and if you like this project, please vote!

Supplies

You will need:

Alligator clips (at least two)

Wire

Wood

Airline Tubing (for aquariums)

A Small Fan

An LED

Insulated Wire

Paint

Wood Glue

Optional: Masking Tape

Tools:

Hand Saw

Scissors or Wire Strippers

Sand Paper

Pencil

Measuring Tape or Ruler

Step 1: Making the Arms

Take the wire and twist 4-6 strands together, depending on the arm strength you want. I used some thicker jewlery wire, and that worked best, but is somewhat weaker. It bends easily, and stays without recoiling a bit. Cut a length of airline tubing about 2 inches shorter than the wire. Slide your wire into the airline tubing until about an inch is sticking out from each end.

Step 2: Adding Clips

Take some alligator clips and push the wire into the end. You should be able to push the airline tubing into the rubber part of the alligator clip wire, or vice versa.

Step 3: Electrical Tape (Optional)

Electrical tape, as well as being an electrical insulator, is also a heat insulator.

Step 4: Wood Subassemblies

This part really depends on what you want or don't want to add. I added a small "shelf " with drawers because I found that, while soldering, I end up with small 2" - 3" lengths of solder. These often disappear off the face of the planet, and I lose some of that precious solder. The drawers also serve as holders for small electronic components and anything else that I might lose. I added a small wooden holder for the fan as well, just so I could wood glue it to the base of the station.

Part Dimensions

For the "shelf" I had 4" x 2" at the base, and added a curve to the side

Each of the individual shelves are simply the length at the top and the middle of the sides

Depending on your size fan, you will need to measure a lenth that is the width + the thickness of the wood x 2

For the sides of the fan, all you need to measure are: the sides of the fan

The base of the whole structure is just a 6" x 7" x 1/2"

Assembly

I used wood glue due to the thickness of the wood, a nail would have split the parts. If you are using thicker wood, a small nail might do.

If you have a clamp or vise, I recommend using it.

Step 5: Drilling Holes for the Arms

Placement is up to you, but where you drill holes are where the arms go. I put four holes in a square pattern near the front

Step 6: Painting

I painted the whole thing white, with wooden highlights. I got the wood from an old worn-down cutting board, on it's way to the dump. After lots of sanding, the wood looked really nice; too nice to paint over, but not nice enough to leave alone. I put two strips of masking tape on the base before painting. When the paint dried, I peeled away the tape. The result was very pleasing and gave it a modern style. You will want to cover the fan with masking tape before painting.

Step 7: Adding Arms to the Structure

Put the arms you made into the holes you drilled in step 5. The extra inch on the other end of the arms should be bent to secure the arm. If you want, or if the arms are unstable, you can hot glue the inside of the holes to hold the arms more securely. You may want to cut out a small peice of thin foam to cover each of the holes on the underside.

Step 8: Extras

I found it very helpful to add feet made from hot glue sticks to the bottom, and I even added a small LED light, to help with soldering.

Adding Feet

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Cut four equal lengths off a hot glue stick (each about 1 centimeter long) and glue to the bottom four corners.

Adding an LED Arm

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Solder two wires, each one being about 1 foot long, to the ends of an LED. Feed the wires through some of the airline tubing until about 5-6 inches stick out. Add some of the sturdy craft wire to make it positionable. If you want to add a switch, you can mount it either to the arm, or at the base. The LED build was very simple, and the only difference was adding an LED and wires instead of an alligator clip.


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    2 Comments

    0
    isaac887smith
    isaac887smith

    1 year ago

    Going for a modern look?

    0
    ArduinoPi
    ArduinoPi

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yep!