Make Your Electronics Lab in a Box

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Unless your lucky enough to have a big personal workshop where you can have dedicated stations for all kinds of different tools, you’re probably like most of us here at Hack a Day — lots of projects, but never enough space.

[McLovinGyver] lives in a small flat, and finds setup and cleanup time often take longer than the project itself — so he’s come up with this handy dandy Electronics-Lab-in-a-Box (trademark pending).

The guide is really more of a series of pictures of his process of building the portable lab, but he shows off some great ideas of things you might want to include in your own personal version of it. The first step is deciding what tools you need in the lab. In general, your power supply unit, soldering iron, hot air re-flow and fume exhaustion are going to dictate the general size and shape of your lab — from there, it’s just a matter of filling in the gaps with the rest of your small tools.

One of our favorite features of this portable workstation is his clever wire management system — he’s added a compartment to hold all his wire and solder — everything is fed through small openings, allowing for easy access to whatever you need — without fumbling with a spool!

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So, are you going to build one? Let us know in the comments, and if you make a really nice one, don’t forget to send it in through the Tips Line!

Comments

  1. pcf11 says:

    I thought about something like this when it came time for me to setup an electronics workbench. In the end I setup a dedicated workbench on a desk. One has to have their priorities straight in life you know?

  2. magma6 says:

    I tough about doing something like that since a long time and I already collect a couple of link for inspiration, like this more horizontal version ( http://makezine.com/2009/02/01/toolbox-portable-workbench/#more )
    But I like this one better as I mostly need a place to keep mini screwdrivers and the soldering station ready to use (and not packed in pieces in its original packaging like I do right now)
    More suggestions anyone ?

    • rtkwe says:

      I think the station from the HaD article is much better than the Make one. First it’s much more compact in it’s inactive state and second in the Make one if you need wire while working on a piece you have to awkwardly lift your whole work area. A big factor in choosing between the two styles is how you plan to store/move the station. The more out of the way you want it to be when packed I’d suggest going for a more vertical style like the one above. If you’re looking for more of just compacting down a larger work bench and won’t be moving it much then the Make one isn’t as bad of a choice, though I would change how the wire is accessed.

  3. CodeMonkey says:

    Damn, been wanting to build something like this for the last couple of years, nice job.

  4. SAMIMY says:

    cool ! i love everything compact and easy to find and use.
    i will make this but a bit bigger.

  5. nygma says:

    I would raise the components inside the box and install a slide out tray underneath. This way there is no need to put everything away, just leave your tools, board on the tray, slide it in and close the box.

  6. Jan Schenk says:

    this is also a nice one

    http://lovehulten.com/temp.html

    • Dave M says:

      This is inspirational and amazing!

    • John says:

      Drool..
      I can imagine a butler silently appearing with a single antistatic bag on a little silver tray. Just when the master needs a voltage regulator.

      What would set it off perfectly, is the inclusion of a flush mounted leather look antistatic mat that looks like an antique desk writing surface, with gold leaf scroll work round the edge.

      I’ll jut have to make do with my hunk of kitchen worktop on a knocked up set of 2×2 legs.
      Not pretty, but it works.

  7. Smorges Borges says:

    That is very cool!

    I’ve considered doing something similar for cooking, when visiting friends. Mostly to hold quality spices and ingredients, essential knives, etc.

    And I suppose I do the same thing with a bunch of tools when I frequently work in a friend’s shop. I have about 6 toolboxes there. Ya know you gotta have your end mills, reamers, drills, precision measuring devices, magnetic bases, raw materials, fasteners, scribes and layout tools, reference squares, punches, vises, etc. Ok, so it is actually more than six toolboxes. And it does take a bit to setup and teardown when I’m working on a complicated project.

  8. jasper says:
  9. netomx says:

    I loved the idea of the cable, nice one!

  10. Rob says:

    This is absolutely brilliant! Well done!

  11. Chris C. says:

    What a wonderful idea. I need one!

  12. Tim says:

    Well done! Grab and go… I like how compact this version is. Sure you could include more storage or other items, but then it becomes less portable.

  13. Nisker says:

    Nice work! The wire management is great and building the fume into the box is pretty clever.

    Perhaps I should give my own a design overhaul:

    http://nisker.net/projects/mobile-electronics-workbench/

  14. vonskippy says:

    Just use a couple (or more) stackable toolboxes. Some even come with parts trays or tool trays built in. Use smaller plastic boxes, and tool rolls (cloth with pockets that roll up) which fit instead the toolbox to keep things even more organized. I don’t see the upside to spending time on re-inventing the box.

  15. Whatnot says:

    I like it, but for a finishing touch I’d add one of those bendable LED lights to it, so you can light bits that need some extra light.

  16. JRDM says:

    Now this is pretty inspirational. Something to think about.

  17. Guillaume says:
  18. JB says:

    “Unless your lucky ”

    Really? :P

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