It's Zep here, and I'm back in the shop... to make a soldering station this time!
Most of my shop-time I am usually woodworking. Then there are some times that I play with metal. And then, there are those situations, that I somehow manage to put myself arround a pile of electronics! And believe me folks, every single time, I wish I had a proper soldering station!
Having a proper soldering iron and some quality solder wire, can transform pretty much every electronics project from your biggest nightmare to a walk in the park..I even dare to say,an enjoyable walk!
But you problably felt that yourself already, otherwise what are the chances you'd be here reading my jibber jabber?!
Ok, enough of that!
Let me throw here a video of the whole make, and we proceed together to take it step by step right away...
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Step 1: The Materials
Ok, we are gonna need some stuff!
Those stuff I'm gonna leave some links on, down below. From those link you can buy them, or simply have a look and buy wherever you like! I ought to tell you though, those links are affiliates, which means that if you decide to use them, I get a comission and may make a buck..
There ya go:
This is a Hakko (or a knock-off!) T12 soldering iron. Basically this is a kit! I chose to go with this kit even if I'm not gonna use any of the controller electronics because it had everything we are gonna need ( soldering iron base, tip, pcb, 5-core wire, aviation plug etc.) and it was actually a pretty good deal!
The cool thing about this specific soldering iron is that the tips it uses measure temperature at the very end of it, at the very tip. This gives you maximum control over your soldering and therefore, some beautiful solders!
Another cool feature is that it takes a movement sensor, using which you can adjust your sustem to reach a "standby temperature" when you are not holding the tool in your hands..
This is a kinda nicer controller than the one that came with the kit above! Uses a tiny OLED screen and an encoder, and gives you a cool look, a ton of information and two tons of configuration settings!
Not much to say here. Either 110 Volts are now living in your walls, or 220 like my case. Either way, you need to convert that to 24 V DC to power everything with!
-Just a base for it!
Step 2: Making the Enclosure
For the enclosure of the whole unit, the box it 'll live inside, I'm gonna use (.....guess what.....) wood!
Grabed a little piece of pine board, salvaged from an old drawer and laying arround the shop for a while now, and a small scrap of 4mm thick poplar plywood. After measuring a bit and making sure everything is gonna fit in there, I cut the pine in size. Made the rough cuts using the table saw and then , using an inverted jigsaw, I trimmed the side pieces giving them a curve that I found pleasant to watch to!After that, I clamped them together in the vise and sanded my cuts smooth, making sure both pieces would come out identical.
After that, and having those identical now pieces, I measured a bit more,and using a hand router (more like a trimmer) I created some rabbets, where the front/back piece and the lid would sit into. (made out of the 4mm ply)
At this point I decided I should add a logo. A fancy engraving or something always gives your makes a personal touch! For that I used my self-designed, hand-made CNC machine, in which if you are interested you can find an instructable here and make one for yourself. It's quite easier than it sounds!
So I was thinking of a cool name to give our new soon-to-be soldering station, and with a bit of deep purple in mind I decided to go with "Solders of Fortune". You see what I did there, don't you?!
I used my computer to make a digital file of the engraving I had in mind, and with that I went to easel to get my g-code. Threw that on an SD card, which I then threw on my mill. I mounted the pieces on the CNC bed using a scrap piece of ply an which I screw them from the inside (them holes won't be visible when we are done, don't worry!). Then I secured a 1502 engraving bit inside my spindle, hit the button and about 10 minutes later I had my first engraving done. Add 10 more and both sides were ready!
After that I spray painted the engraving sides with black acrylic color and when dried out, I sanded everything back to wood. This made the engravings black and pop-out quite a bit!
Then I glued all the pieces of the box together, adding a small piece of pine stick on top, where the lid is gonna meet the front plate. After curing, using a hand plane a trimmed the edge of that stick to meet the curve on the profiles. I cut the plywood pieces in size and after staining them in a dark walnut color and leting them dry, I glued them in place except the lid, on which I used 4 screws to mount.
Right before gluing I also marked where my screen, encoder, aviation plug and a power switch would go on the front piece and after drilling some entry holes in there, I used the jigsaw to make everything right where not round..
Last but not least, I applied 2 or 3 coats of water-based satin poly finish, which made everything look right!
Step 3: The Wiring...
Well, I guess there is not much to say about the wiring...
The important thing is to provide a diagram of that,of which I've already left a photo above!
But we can do a quick review here. For starters, you get your AC voltage inside the box, using the wall socket, a cable and a hole for that on your precious new make! The AC then you throw on your AC/DC regulator. Line, neutral, ground..thats all! (in fact ground is even optional)
From the other end of that board you get your 24 Volts DC, which you throw on the soldering station controller.
Now if you are also gonna use a power switch (which is recomended cause it's kind of nerve breaking to have to plug the socket in and out of the wall in order to power your machine on and off!) you have two options. You could either use it to cut the low voltage (24V DC) or the high one (AC 110/220 V). I prefered to cut the high voltage, since there is no need for the AC-DC board to work when my station doesn't! The price for that is that when you are done working, and finally switch the thing off, it doesn't darken in a moment, like it would do if I had chosen to cut my 24V. Instead of that, it takes two or three seconds for the screen to go dark, the time it takes all the capacitors on the AC/DC board to discharge. Not a big deal, I just had to let you know!
Then you just have to connect the female part of your 5-pin aviation plug to your controller board and the male one to your soldering iron, as shown in the connection diagram above. Plug the one into the other aaaand......
Step 4: Done!
Yep, it's done! And it's working like a charm. There is also a menu of settings where you can adjust sleep and stby times, turn your beeper on and of and stuff like that. But it's really self explanatory, and I don't wanna keep you here for too long!
Other than that, I am sure pleased with the way this came out, and I am also impressed by how fast this thing can get red hot! Would sure suggest it to someone looking for a descent tool, in a price a hobbyist can afford!
Untill next time, thank you all for being here.
And if you like what you see, make sure to subscribe either here or in my youtube channel.
More coming up..
Now you all have a nice one....