When I purchased my soldering station about 3 years ago, it came with a lot of accessories that were just sitting in a drawer because I never had a place for them.
Because I am big on organization, I thought it was time to set up my workstation to be more professional and awesome, beginning with my soldering setup.
In this instructable, I will walk you through my process of designing and printing an accessories cradle for my particular soldering station.
Step 1: Equipment
The image is a stock image of my particular soldering iron set. Although I purchased mine from ebay, the same one is on amazon which I always felt more comfortable ordering from, and because it came with all those extra goodies, I am able to make this instructable.
The model is the X-Tronic #4010-XTS 4000 Series.
I really like it but the tips aren't that great. If you get one, I would invest in getting a HAKKO chisel tip. With that tip, it becomes a really good soldering iron.
In the "Inventory" section I have a complete list of everything (except for the syringe of flux) used for the cradle.
Step 2: Measurements
The important measurements are the outside dimensions of the pencil holder. The length and the depth were pretty important. The height is less important. I chose the height based on the tallest tools I had, which were my yellow handled soldering aid tools.
I just wrote those measurements down and used them as a reference for my 3D model.
In my model, I rounded up on dimensions because my 3D printer is not exact and I don't like wasting filament on bad prints. So design with your tolerances in mind.
Step 3: Acc. Inventory + 3D Modeling
I then gathered all the tools I wanted the soldering cradle to hold and took an inventory. When I make my model, I will design the slots for each tool so everything has its place.
I then proceeded to 3D model. I use Solidworks for my modeling. The images show my model progression.
My tools were as follows:
3 x Double sided assist tools (I have had these for over 10 years - there used to be more)
1 x BIC Lighter
1 x Syringe of solder flux
1 x Small magnifying "glass"
1 x Anti-static tweezers (came with soldering iron)
1 x Spare heating element for the soldering iron (came with soldering iron)
1 x X-acto knife
2 x Heat sinks for soldering
10 x Different soldering iron tips (came with soldering iron)
A link to an Amazon list is provided for ALMOST everything.
Step 4: Finalizing Design and 3D Printing
After checking my design, I approved of its looks and converted it to a .STL and sliced it for 3D printing. A .STL is attached for you to use (assuming your pencil base is the same as mine + you have a 3D printer).
I printed the model at 50mm/s for 5 hours then increased the speed to 70mm/s. The total print time was about 23 hours. I like to make my prints slow just because it gives a better quality print and minimizes the chance for failure.
Step 5: Populating the Cradle
I'm glad I did this project because I feel a workstation needs to be organized to be able to do quality work. This project help me bring out tools that were always a chore to grab due to accessibility and also helps maintain a clean and organized work area (very important).
I will further expand my workspace by adding more equipment like this to help bring my tools and accessories into an organized accessible area.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you can organize your work area with this cradle.