I've been soldering for a pretty long while now. And just like any other soldering amateur i use the cheap "handy helping hands". They've proven to fall over or be in the way all the time or just generally do the exact opposite of what you want them to do! Today, i'll be throwing those cheap soldering hands away and building myself a decent soldering station!
Giaco Whatever made an amazing soldering station which inspired me to make my own! Go check out his video!
There are a few requirements for this soldering station.
- It has to be big enough to support a decently sized project!
- It needs a fire proof surface to work on.
- It needs to have some sort of ventilation.
- It needs to be customisable (USB led lights to provide propper lighting while working.
- It needs to look good!
Let's get in to it!
Step 1: The Parts List
To get this project started we will need the right items! I've gotten almost everything from Chinese webshops (pm me if you want the links to everything).
- 4x 80x80x10mm 5V pc fan's (4 is overkill, 2 will do fine!)
- 5x flexible machining coolant hose (I bought 30cm one's, but you can pull these apart and get every length you need)
- 2x 80x80mm pc fan mesh guard
- m3 steel screw rod (We'll use about 30cm)
- Char cloth filter fabric (or any kind of filter fabric)
- 80x 3mm inside diameter washers
- 8x m3 lock nuts.
- A pair of crocodile clamps
- A wooden slab
- A ceramic tile (not pictured, i got mine from a local tile shop. They gave it to me as it was a sample anyway)
- 1x Micro USB extender
- 2x USB (female) to micro USB (male) cable
Step 2: The Ventilation
Start by cutting the m3 rod into 15cm pieces (these will be too long but will provide some flexibility later).
Cut the filter cloth to fit the fan mesh. (i've cut off the corners for the screw rod to pass freely)
- Screw a lock nut onto each 15cm screw rod piece and add a washer.
- Use one fan mesh to hold everything together.
- Add the filter on top of the fan mesh.
- Add another fan mesh to the top and add 3 washers on each screw.
- Now start stacking the fans with 3 washers in between to space them apart properly. (my fans were touching when stacked together so I added more washers until they were running freely!)
- Screw everything together with the lock nuts.
NOTE: Make sure that everything is secure but not too pinched!
Step 3: Powering the Ventilation Assembly!
Pull the top and bottom part from one of the coolant hoses. You can simply pop these off!
Then run a black and red cable through the whole length. Cut them off leaving about 20cm hanging on each side!
Step 4: Powering Everything Up!
Solder the Red wires coming from the fan together into one point, do the same for the black wires.
Solder these two cables to the black and red cables we just pulled through the coolant hoses.
Make sure everything is well insulated with either shrink tubing or electrical tape.
Step 5: Finishing the Ventilation Assembly.
Glue the coolant hose to the fan assembly using a hot glue gun.
Make sure no hot glue drips into the fans, this might spell disaster!
When the first coolant hose is attached, attach a second one ont he same side of the fan assembly. (This won't be necessary when you're only using 2 fans due to a lower weight!)
Step 6: Preparing the Wood Base!
My wooden slab used to be a cutting slab for the kitchen. It's only been used once since it was way to big and way too heavy!
The complete slab is around 260x800mm before cutting it down.
I went with a size of 260x520mm and cut it down with a very dull saw blade on a minor saw (don't use a dull swaddled if you don't like sanding.. allot..)
I'll be surface finishing the base with a belt sander and by hand!
Step 7: Cutting the Tile!
Like i said in the intro, i walked into a tile and flooring shop nearby with the idea i would have to purchase a few tiles! They were kind enough to give me this 60x60 cm tile for free!
I need the tile to be 20x50cm. That will leave me with a 1cm border on all sides except for the top where I'll have a 5cm edge to work with!
Cutting ceramic tile is no joke! Make sure to scribe a shallow cut where you want the cut to be first! Ceramic tiles are very prone to breaking in the most unexpected ways! Giving them a scoring line will guide it somewhat in the right direction if it does break on you!
Finished tile came out with 2 clean factory edges and 2 not so clean handcut edges! (i'd cut all 4 edges by hand if i were to do it again!
Step 8: Cutting a Slot for the Electronics in the Bottom.
This was my first time using a router. Ad i'll tell you now. It's really scary! so I took it slow!
I first made an outline where i wanted to cut.
Using a very small bit i made a shallow pass to see how it went.
I then switched to a bigger bit and wen to a depth of 30mm in about 2 or 3 passes.
Step 9: Cutting the Holes for Everything!
I first mad a layout of how i wanted everything spaced out.
Using a 13mm spade bit i drilled all the holes.
the on and of switch was only drilled just as deep as the button it self. so it would lay flat with the surface, then i drilled holes to fit the wires through!
Step 10: The Circuit!
Figuring out the circuit was pretty simple.
I wanted a 5v "mother line" to run thought the station powering the fan and 2 USB ports.
The power line to the ventilation assembly is being interrupted by a simple on/off switch.
The USB ports are simply wired in series with each other.
Step 11: Glueing Everything Up!
Everything had to be pretty secure in order for it to be as steady as possible when i'm working with it.
After holding everything in place with hot glue from the bottom.
I filled all the cavities with fast curing epoxy. This will not bond with the coolant hoses but they will keep them locked in place!
I also glued the crocodile clamps into the open end of the coolant hoses! (i forgot to take a picture of this!)
Step 12: Glueing the Tile!
I used a ceramic to wood epoxy to bond the tile to the base.
Step 13: Done!
Aaaaaaand, we're done. I now own a home made soldering station which will last me a life time!
It can be used without power, from a wall plug or like i prefer, an external battery!
Thanks for reading, let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or feedback!