DIY portable/storable soldering station

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spinningmagnets
100 GW
100 GW
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Joined: Dec 21, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Ft Riley, NE Kansas

DIY portable/storable soldering station

Post by spinningmagnets » May 04, 2013 10:00 am

I have been taking projects to work when it's my turn at the night shift. I can do anything I want there, except sleep on the job. I have been tossing all the tools and parts I need to work on projects into big plastic tubs with lids, but the stuff inside becomes a jumbled mess, so I need to made a box for the soldering iron, wire strippers, and solder.

3/4-inch thick material, wood planks, particle-board, etc...anything found for free.

2 end caps: 5-1/2 X 4

lid: 11-3/8 X 4-3/4

bottom: 3-3/4 X 11-1/2

back (hinge side): 4 X 11-1/2

front (latch side): 3-1/4 X 11-1/2

I like the 100W soldering iron (with a fat tip for thermal mass) to have the ability to be suspended in the air securely, so I can hold the wire with one hand and the solder with the other, while I am tinning wire ends and connector sockets (some short items held with pliers).
SolderStation 001.JPG
In this pic, I ended up trimming 3/4-inch off of the top of the front panel so the lid would sit the way I wanted.
SolderStation 001.JPG (102.36 KiB) Viewed 2489 times
SolderStation 003.JPG
SolderStation 003.JPG (123.19 KiB) Viewed 2489 times
If you look closely at this pic, you can see a screw point sticking up right near the soldering iron tip. When the lid is closed, that screw is sticking down into the box, and it inserts into a hole that is on a small "L" bracket which is attached to the swing-out side-plate. The screw and L-bracket keep the side-plate from swinging open when the lid is shut.

I have started keeping my favorite wire-strippers and small wire cutters in this box, and if I had it to do over again, I'd make it about an inch taller for more internal volume.
SolderStation 002.JPG
SolderStation 002.JPG (130.54 KiB) Viewed 2489 times
Here's a pic of my first soldering iron holder, which proved to be very useful, and directly led to the design of this soldering box. The young lad shown is my E-bike intern learning valuable skills.

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For shrinking down "heat shrink" insulation sleeves, my favorite is the "Bernzomatic" BZLTR300R, with a flex-neck. Normal butane lighters have a mild flame that always flows upwards, the Berzomatic (when set to max flow) pushes the flame out with enough force that it can flow downwards, which is very helpful.

Electric heat-guns are nice on your workbench, but this lighter is compact and portable, and it can even be used for soldering onto items that are fat enough that the mass would normally not allow a soldering iron to get it hot enough to melt the solder. This is because the flame tip is concentrated enough that the local heat rises faster than the heat can be wicked away my the thermal mass of the item.

There is a check-valved socket at the base to allow it to be refilled, and there is a clear window to show the butane fluid level.

Image

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