Solder paste dispenser hacked to run off compressed air cans

solder_paste_dispenser_air_can_hack

[John] got a shiny new solder paste dispenser for a steal, and before he hooked up the tool, he decided to take a look inside to make sure everything was on the up and up. Aside from a few questionable wiring practices he didn’t approve of, everything else looked to be in good working order.

The only thing that was bothering [John] is that he wasn’t too keen on keeping his noisy and large air compressor in his workshop, so he set off to find a different way to provide compressed air to the device. He settled on air dusters like those used for cleaning the crumbs out of your keyboard, but he needed to find a way to reliably get the air to his solder dispenser. He heated the air can’s nozzle until he was able to screw his dispenser’s hose barb into it, creating a tight seal. The modified nozzle was reattached to the can and placed in a simple jig that keeps the nozzle held down continuously.

[John] fired up his dispenser, and the 80 psi coming from the duster was plenty to get the solder paste flowing. Sure the rig might not be the most high tech solution, but we think it’s a pretty good means of getting quiet compressed air anywhere you need it.

Comments

  1. MattQ says:

    Any hack that involves doing something like heating a can of compressed air, despite the clear warnings of “Seriously dangerous to heat this can. Don’t do it. Ever. I mean it. Please?” all over the can gets my approval.

  2. gniob says:

    To be fair, if you read what the guy had to say he only heated the nozzle:

    “The can nozzle was screwed to the metal bracket on top, it was then heated and the hose barb was then screwed in to the malleable hot plastic – completely leak free.”

    Where “the can nozzle” is the subject, which was screwed and then heated. The can was likely left alone.

  3. John R says:

    Nozzle was removed from can, then reworked! :)

  4. caleb says:

    wait, wheres the PVC?

    or to make the grammer nazis happy..

  5. caleb says:

    wait, wheres the pvc?

    or to make the grammer nazis happy.. i wont mention names..

    Wait, where`s the PVC?

    ill apologize now if this is a double/triple post

  6. Natalie says:

    it seems wasteful to throw away those cans just for some air. why not just use one of those air caddys (ie portable compressed air tanks) and just go to your local service station to have it filled as needed. the air caddies already have normal pipe threaded fittings on them.

  7. Farkanoid says:

    Hah freaky coincidence, I was thinking of doing this for my pneumatic dispenser a few days ago! Was searching for a compact solution to keep the air duster nozzle depressed

    @Natalie – True, though I guess It’s not always practical to use an air compressor due to noise constraints (especially while working late at night); I occasionally steal Argon shielding gas from our welder as a pressure source late at night… Major waste on both accounts, however in reality dispensers use very little gas either way, so the loss would be negligible

  8. frosty says:

    Why not just grab a portable 10 gallon air tank? They cost only $30 and with the tank at 100 psi you would run out of paste several times before you ran out of air.

  9. deathventure says:

    I think a good solution would be the home-made silent compressors that people hack together for air-brushing using old refrigerator compressors. Only a slight hum and decent clean pressure. The problem with the cans, the pressure goes down as the can cools due to the gas expansion. Also goes down as the can empties. Constantly toying with pressures would be more trouble than it’s worth.

  10. Norman Bates says:

    Like deathventure already said: an refrigerator compressor works really good.
    I use a refrigerator compressor with an old fire-extinguisher as tank.
    Great little silent compressor which can be used without waking people up :)

  11. XBMC^N says:

    Great point, Natalie.

  12. ino says:

    A good alternative would be to attach a solenoid to a kind of piston with a spring. Energize the solenoid and the piston send a calibrated puff of air to the paste dispenser.
    It’s more time consuming to build, but you will never be short of compressed air

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