A mobile electronics lab for all your projects

When [Nisker]’s son got a very, very loud and annoying toy, he did what any good maker parent would do: instead of removing the batteries, he sought a way to lower the volume instead. This, of course, meant cracking open the toy and going at the circuit board with a soldering iron. Not having a permanent electronics workbench meant [Nisker] needed to dig out his Weller from a bag full of tools. Surely there must be an easier way to be a tinkerer with a small workspace.

[Nisker]’s solution was to build a mobile electronics workbench. The resulting wooden box has more than enough space to hold a signal generator, power supply, soldering iron, multimeter, and a bunch of other tools required for making or modding electronics projects.

The case was designed in Google Sketchup and constructed out of 12mm plywood for the sides and 6mm ply for the shelves. All the pieces were cut out with a circular saw and pieced together with screws and glue.

Now [Nisker] has a very compact – 16.9 x 7.9 x 22 inches – electronics lab he can carry just about anywhere. Not a bad project if you’re limited by your current space, and classy enough to keep around once you finally set up a proper workshop.

Putting a workshop on your bike rack

As a member of the Repair Cafe in Maastricht, [Bertoa] sometimes needs to take a few tools out into the field to repair mechanical and electronic devices. His previous solution to the problem was a toolbox in the trunk of his car, but he knew he could come up with a more environmentally friendly solution. He created a portable workbench that fits right on his bike rack that is able to transport all the tools needed for light repairs using only a bike.

[Bertoa]’s portable workbench is made up of two parts; each side has one small slide drawer perfect for storing screwdrivers and wrenches, as well as a second tilting drawer able to hold heavier items such as an electric drill.

The work surface joins the two sides of the workbench together and is able to fold out with the help of a piano hinge and a few brackets. The workbench is removable from the bike rack and is able to stand on its own (stowable) legs made of aluminum tubes.

Even though the portable workbench only weighs about 10kg, it’s able to support [Bertoa]’s full body weight; a wonderful addition to any maker’s bicycle and a great solution to working on projects in the field.

Workbench overhead camera boom made from PVC

pvc_overhead_camera_ boom

It looks like [Dino] is getting settled into his new digs, and while the moving process has kept him pretty busy, he’s slowly but surely getting his workshop area set up. One thing that he really wanted from his new bench was a better way to record video, for both his Hack a Week series as well as broadcasting over Ustream.

He bought a nice little Hi-Def web cam for making videos and set out to build a camera boom for his bench. The boom is constructed mostly from PVC piping along with some other odds and ends for mounting. In the video below, he walks through the construction step by step, making it easy for anyone to follow along and build one of their own.

The boom looks like it works very well, and is a bargain at under $40. It articulates every which way giving him complete coverage of his workbench, and makes it easy to film whatever he’s working on – big or small.

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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.

Equipment Needed to Get “Started” in Electronics

[Kenneth] is a Mechanical Engineer who likes to dabble in electronics. Besides providing us with an excellent picture of his workbench, he has put together a list of things that you’ll need as you learn to work with electronics. A beginner electronics kit from one of a number of different sources may work for some, but others may not be interested in a kit.

[Kenneth] gives links and recommendations for categories of: books, electrical equipment, development tools, components, digital electronics, and analog chips. As he puts it, this post is a “gigantic list of everything I would buy right now to replace my entire workshop if mine were to disappear.”  This is a great list of things you may need if you’re starting out.  If you have some experience, this list may introduce you something new. Check out some of [Kenneth’s] other projects like his cloud chamber or the Chumby webserver that he made.

Another helping hand for the work bench

We like clever work bench accessories; especially the kind that make our projects that much easier. [rstraugh] put up his version of the ubiquitous helping hands: thirdhand++. The arms are made from modular coolant tubing that’s made for machine tools. With the basic arms in place, he created several attachments – like this PCB holder, a LCD holder, the usual alligator clips and even an oscilloscope probe holder.

The integrated desk

Since it happens to be the day after a nice holiday break, many of us are finding ourselves back in front of our desk once again. Perhaps some of you never left it the entire weekend. In any case, it seems fitting to take a look at a few interesting integrated desks we’ve come across lately. Follow through after the break to see our favorites.

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