The idea of building a workbench was popping into my mind after I start prototyping inside the “Arduino’s playground” and I found myself surrounded by a lot of wires and electric stuff, falling from the table or disconnecting. The intention was only to put some order in the mess. I imagined an assembly by bringing together tools, measuring devices and power supply units, all to be at hand for prototyping. You can see the result in the attached photos.
Also I was willing to have a controlled temperature soldering iron. To achieve this, I used a dimmer to lower the AC tension and an infrared thermometer, to read the temperature of the tip. I also modified the soldering base by connecting it to the interior mounted USB hub.
Having an idea of what I want to obtain, I put together everything I already had in my drawer and I brought the rest from virtual stores. Wanting to be sure all the devices are fitting inside, I preferred to make a 3D model of the entire assembly. This model has not the intention to exactly reproduce the reality, but to bring the necessary information about functionality, (un)mounting space, clearances and assembling dimensions. I do not recommend to use the entire model as it is. You can use certain areas though. Every time please verify those dimensions because sometimes the products are modified by manufacturers. But mostly, use the method, because it minimizes the risks. Pay attention to all safety matters (polarities, earthing, wires section, plugs and switches connecting capabilities, hot areas) and the success is guaranteed.
When you will arrive to the drawings stage, pay attention to these issues in all views:
-as reminder, add diameter value to any round holes.
-add a horizontal dimension and a vertical one just to be able to verify the 1:1 scale of printing.
-highlight the position of the vertical middle plane of the box and the top limit of his collar. After printing you will cut-off the view with scissors and stuck it on the interior of the box with duct tape. As references you will have only these two lines. Using a gel pen, mark these planes on the interior side of the box, on each lateral face and on the bottom.
Once you fixed a view on the interior of the box, use a pointed tip object to:
-mark the centre of all available holes
-with a ruler, scratch all contour straight lines from drawing to the wall of the box. Very tricky operation! Try to be as accurate as you can!
First do the round holes with the right drill. You can easily enlarge a hole from ø2mm to ø5mm. Avoid to do this operation from ø2mm to ø2.5mm. To cut the rectangular contours, use a ø3-4mm drill to do a lot of holes side by side in the interior of the contour. Use the cutter to straighten the borders. I do not recommend to cut the rectangular contours with the soldering iron because it will be very difficult to straighten the resulting melted and hardened edges (I did it with my first box and it cracked!).
This is the "technology" I used to prepare the box. I am sure it can be improved.
After this phase, install everything inside by making small cutting adjustments.
At the end, do the wiring. Use everywhere thermal retractable insulation. When I did it, I proposed myself to not be electrocuted even I stick my hand inside while the box is powered.
If you will decide to build yourself such work bench, the most important thing is to know what you want and second, to know where to find it. So, search all available (non)virtual stores and choose wisely the volume of the box. Inspire yourself from the list I attached. Get them gradually.
I know I'm not a good story teller. If you have questions, feel free to ask me!