Intro: Make a Soldering/workholding Station
This is my instructable on how to make a fairly versatile workholding station, which started with soldering in mind. I tried to use common and easy to scrounge materials as much as possible. This is my first instructable, so be gentle :)
Step 1: Materials
As you can see, I used a piece of OSB as my foundation, although I was looking for particle board, which I believe would work better. The piece I used is 24" x 12", but the key is to use a piece that is ideally 1" thick. I suppose 3/4" would work also, but getting thinner than that will cause the holders to move around too much.
Other materials are:
Assorted alligator clips and clamps
Bronze brazing rod, 5/32"
Spray Adhesive (3M super77)
Flux (Solder Brite flux with solder in it works very well)
Tie-Wire (not pictured)
Sandpaper (not pictured)
Step 2: Tools
Here are the tools I used:
One pair of wire cutters capable of cutting the brazing rod
Drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of your brazing rod
Soldering Iron (actually never used, but could help)
A couple of other pair of pliers and/or vice grips (not pictured)
File (not pictured)
Step 3: Layout and Drill
First thing to do is to layout where you are going to drill. The scale I used for measuring is very straight and exactly 1" wide, so rather than measuring with it, I just used the scale itself as a spacer, lining one edge with the previous line, and marking along the opposite edge. It's more important for what will be a grid of holes to be consistent than for them to be exactly 1", since the parts that go into them will be made to fit. One could probably make their hole spacing 1-1/2 or 2" and save a LOT of drilling. Once you have the entire board laid out, it's time to drill (and drill, and drill, and drill).
Since I used 5/32" brazing rod, I used a 3/16" drill for my holes. Drill all the holes as accurately as you can,.and as straight as you can. A drill press would come in VERY handy, but it can be done by hand.
Step 4: Cover the Board
After cleaning and sawdust off the board, spray a coating of adhesive on the board. Following the adhesive's directions, attach a layer of aluminum foil to the board. When it is set up, take a piece of brazing rod or a drill bit and poke through the foil where the holes are. The foil will make it easier to clean .
Step 5: Making and Soldering Some Holders
Next, we will make holders for our setup. There's no real rule here, we just need to cut off a length of brazing rod, bend it, and solder something on the end to hold our work with. I make mine in pairs, and this is where the Solder Brite comes in handy. With it, we solder our clamp to the brazing rod, just coat the end of the rod that will be soldered, and the inside of the clamp where it will be soldered. Then, put the parts together and heat them with the heat gun (or soldering iron). Add some solder if needed, a heat gun seems to work well for soldering things this big.
Next, bend a short piece of brazing rod to a dogleg. This piece will be soldered to the holder to keep it from turning. This is why our holes in the board being consistent is so important.
Step 6: More Holders, Flexible Ones
Next, we will make some flexible holders. First, we cut a number of pieces of tie wire into equal lengths, about 20" long. The number of pieces will be however many it takes to snugly fit into the holes in our board. In this case there will be 4. Clean about 1/2" of both ends of every strand, well enough that they can be soldered. This will take quite a bit of effort, use the sandpaper and the flux. Grab all 4 with the pliers or vice grips, and twist them their full length. An easy way is to twist them tight for a few revolutions at one end, then chuck that end onto your drill and use it to finish the twisting. After they are all twisted, cut it in half and attach a clamp to the end the same as was done with the brazing rod. This time, a short, straight piece of brazing rod can be soldered to it to keep it from turning. Cleaning the tie wire is the key to being able to solder to it.
Step 7: More Holders, Adjustable Ones Now
The next part is a little trickier. We're going to make two adjustable holders. These consist of an upright, a dogleg, the holder portion, and whatever clamp you want for the end of it. Start by cutting and bending the pieces as they are shown in the first picture. Twisting the two loops in the holder portion is the tricky part, and where the vice-grips come in handy. The idea is to twist two loops into a piece of brazing rod, so it fits snug around another piece. Solder the dogleg onto the upright piece, and the clamp to the end of the holder piece, as shown in the second picture. The end result is a holder with adjustable height and can be pointed in any direction.
Step 8: Finishing Up
Last, take your file and clean up any sharp edges on any of the brazing rod from cutting. It's not a bad idea to keep a little bit of the brazing rod and some clamps so a custom-sized clamp can be made quickly should the need arise. Also, one could place even more holes in the board in a way that would allow the holders to be put in at an angle, rather than only facing only left/right/forward/backward. Please let me know if you have any questions or need any clarification.