How to take a travelling electronics lab on the road with you

If you’re a frequent traveler, or if you don’t have a garage or basement and find your kitchen table is doomed to serve most of its life as an electronics bench this hack is for you. [Robovergne] came up with a mobile electronics lab (translated) in order to help preserve the Wife Acceptance Factor for his hobby.

The project comes in two parts. On the right you see the pair of component storage cabinets. These are high-quality examples that fully enclose each drawer (cheaper cabinets are open at the back). This way, [Robovergne] was able to connect two of them together with a piano hinge, and add some carrying handles to the top.

The second half of the project is the bench itself. It features a lab supply, soldering iron transformer and holder, and some breadboards for good measure. The base of the unit houses a drawer which carries the bulk of his tools. Now he can pack up and clear out the living room in one single trip.

Comments

  1. HHH says:

    Exactly what I needed! I’ve always considered packing electronic tools and components to be the most annoying thing about traveling. Now I can live in peace!

  2. smoketester says:

    I’ve been designing something similar but even cooler. Details to come!

  3. raged says:

    The two cases attached is pretty cool. I’m jealous of the mobile soldering station.

  4. Paul says:

    I love seeing homemade tools and “support” hacks like this one. I really need a collapse-able workspace for indoor projects and this one looks like a great solution. I especially appreciate the amount of work that clearly went into the bench. The basket holds all the essential tools including the obligatory blue uC.

    Only thing missing is some kind of folding helping hands stand to go with that LED snake light. Also the soldering iron coil is a bit close to the breadboards although there is still plenty of room.

    Magnifique!

  5. Ren says:

    Nice, but maybe more holes for the power supply ventilation.

  6. vasskk says:

    lol “the wife acceptance factor”

  7. vasskk says:

    also:
    hack to hack = win

  8. wildzbill says:

    Very handy!
    A lot of good ideas that I can use for my kit.

  9. JamieWho says:

    I like both parts of this setup. Does anyone know of a source for a drawer container like that? Of course, you could also pair with some of the storage options that were mentioned last week.

    This is perfect timing for me as well. Just cleaned up the garage and found some extra scrap wood and a power supply that doesn’t have a use right now.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m just going to sum the hinged cabinet up in one word: Brilliant! Forget about “on the road”, this would be a great way to take my ever-growing cabinet collection and make them easier to store. A definite addition to my lab :)

  11. Lucia says:

    Electronics on the go… Google for ‘computing across america’

  12. Digitalundernet says:

    Ben Heck has a real nice one I’d like for myself
    here

  13. Rachel says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of electronics experience, you have to keep massive amounts of scrap junk on hand, just so you can have the parts you need. I only use a small fraction of my collection of circuit boards, printers, and motors, but I never know what I’ll need next. If I don’t have a part on hand, it will create huge delays.

    Having a mobile electronics tool kit is a nice idea, but carrying around half a tonne of parts is a little more difficult.

    Regarding this setup, I would place the iron holder on the side, or at least add a solder catcher. Dripping molten metal on your protoboard is a quick way to ruin a project.

    • mjrippe says:

      In one sense I agree with Rachel. This setup would carry my basic assortment of resistors, caps, diodes, and a few other parts. In that capacity it would be fine for service calls or light duty work. But I too have multiple bins of chips, hardware and other bits, three full vacuum tube caddies, meters, motors, etc. in my “full” shop setup. Not to mention test equipment. I just can’t imagine ever being fully portable!

  14. wildzbill says:

    I think that the key to a mobile lab is to think about how you intend to use it. You are not likely to invent a massive system while on the road.
    You might use it to teach others how to do something.
    You might want to work on a particular circuit at a time when you have to be away from home.
    In such cases you take the small number of parts you might need, not your whole shop.
    I might have LEDs, LCDs, several types of buttons and switches, a few relays, small motors of each type, an Arduino, etc. At most I might work out simple bit of code and circuitry to do the job. Or show someone else how to do the same.
    I also pack pliers, cutters, knife, wire strippers, a high-speed drill and glue gun. Very useful.

  15. henry says:

    I have a plastic toolbox (with a pull out tray). Just need to let your soldering iron cool before putting it back in the case.

    • Ren says:

      @henry
      Radio Shack used to sell a soldering iron that came with a metal stand that doubled as a “box” for the hot tip allowing the iron to be put back into the tool box while it was still hot.

  16. Bob says:

    FYI: His site is in both English and French. You don’t need to translate it, just click the link on the right to get to the English version.

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