Hands free hot air station

In an effort to ease the process of soldering Ball Grid Array (BGA) chips at home [Roger] rigged up a hands-free solution for his hot air equipment.

The main component in the build is an Aoyue hot air rework station that he already had in his workshop. He wanted an adjustable mount that would hold it steady when reflowing parts so he hit Amazon and bought a $14 articulated lamp. After ditching the funnel-shaped shade he bolted a cable clamp to the socket housing. This can be tightened on the hot air wand, with the spring tension of the lamp making it easy and quick to reposition the nozzle. [Roger] sent this project directly to our tips line and we’ve embedded the rest of the project images after the break.

If you’re looking for a more DIY rework solution you should checkout this hot air pencil hack. It uses a desoldering iron, a fish pump, and some metal mesh as a heat sink to put out a stream of very hot air.

13 thoughts on “Hands free hot air station

  1. Those articulated arms are great. I mounted a PC fan to one for soldering jobs. Since you can flip it around, I have the choice of pulling solder fumes away (a filter is still pending), or as extra cooling when working on a chassis that runs hot.

    It’s extra-handy when working on large amplifier boards, where room on the bench for a fan tall enough to work is at a premium.

  2. Note that the bulb housing and wiring are still mounted on the end. I threaded the axle bolt on the end through the metal shell of the lamp housing and bolted it on with washers as a buffer. I then took an old small 35W spotlight bulb and now I have a dual purpose device.

  3. Very much what I did using a goose-neck clamp-on magnifier. I removed the lens on that end and attached it via the thread that held the lens to a hole I added to the top of the hot air equipment.

    The other end was a clamp. The clamp holds the hot air tool. Very easy to adjust.

    I think it cost about $5 for the goose neck magnifier.

    1. That’s not a bad idea. A bright light source, a hot air gun clamp and a magnifier attachment would be a really functional device that’s easy to put away when not in use..

  4. I used exactly the same lamp stand as a basis for my high power LED lamp (for tiny scale repairs), and after just over a year of use, the plastic bit holding the lamp to the table broke :/

    Just something I’d watch out for.

  5. OMG……..

    This is priceless!!

    I have a cheap hakko knockoff rework station ( 852d+). Coupled with a ~$10 Ikea desklamp, will do wonders. I think this is absolutely genius. Maybe next, will be a some steppers, with some kind of feedback, and 2 desk lamps joined to make a robotic arm……

  6. I asked the instructor of my soldering class if he’d seen this sort of thing and he thought I was crazy. XD He’d been telling everyone that BGA can’t be done without pro equipment, let alone done well.

    Almost anything can be done if you try hard enough to find a way. And it’s not like the pro fab equipment is infallible anyway *glares at XBOX 360*

  7. Hell, now I want to do this to most of my desktop tools. Cheap PCB drill press, magnifier, extreme helping hand…

    I could even make an interchangeable head mount for my tools :D

    Awesome idea.

  8. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for quite some time now but just never had the motivation.
    For my specific needs I would use a couple LED’s for a light source, attach a magnifier, and throw on a couple ‘helping hands’.
    One thing that is needed for my use is to use some type of a clamping system that I can ‘unclamp’ the wand very very easily, and also be able to remove the wand with a LARGE cone attached to it.

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