Intro: Copper Workbench
Protect your static sensitive electronics from getting fried!
Watch the build vid and read along!
Step 1: Copper As Conductive Work Surface for Electronics Workbench
Electronics benches in years past had conductive work surfaces, but these have mostly been replaced by synthetic rubberized ESD mats. These mats have high electrical resistance, but still protect from static discharge. I don't like the aesthetic, the feel, or the durability of synthetics. I'm trading new tech for beautifully old school copper.
Strictly speaking, a conductive work surface isn't the best for electronics work. It does protect against static electricity. But it also provides a low impedance path to ground. One must take care not to drop any live conductors onto the worksurface or you will get an arc!
For this project you will need:
-20 gauge copper sheet, it comes in 36"x96" sheets. I got mine from Alaskan Copper and Brass. Check out specialty metals in your area. I checked the local scrap dealers and they all said copper sheet gets snapped up quick by jewlery and crafts makers.
-3/4" plywood 4'x8' sheet
-Straight edge (knife guide)
Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Copper is expensive, therefore, mistakes are expensive.
Make a deep score in the copper. Copper work hardens, so you will need to resharpen the knife blade frequently.
After it is scored use the straight edge to bend the copper sheet along the score. Work it back and forth until it breaks cleanly.
Step 3: Glue Copper to Plywood Backing
Scuff up the glue side of both the copper sheet and the plywood (or MDF) backing. Apply an even layer of adhesive to the plywood. Position the copper sheet and clamp to laminate the plywood and copper together.
Step 4: Bend the Copper Cladding Over the Edges of the Plywood
Use a soft face hammer and the straight edge to form the band of copper around the edges of the plywood.
Apply the surface finish you want. I used a circular burnish pattern to break up the wavy look of the copper. If you take greater care, and use more glue, you'll be able to get a mirror flat copper top.
Drill holes for your vise and enjoy!