Workbench With Built-In Solder Fume Extractor


There’s nothing quite like getting an eye full of solder fumes, but when it comes to solder fume extraction, the most common solution take up a whole lot of work area. Here’s a very clever solder fume extractor that doesn’t get in the way, and can be perfectly positioned over the acrid brimstone of a soldering station.

The build consists of a cheap bathroom vent fan built into the back of the workbench feeding into a long PVC pipe that blows the exhaust to the floor a few feet away. The fan is controlled by a simple wall switch, but the intake is where this build really shines. It’s a series of hard, flexible plastic segments that allow the intake to be precisely oriented above the work piece, or wherever it’s most convienent to suck solder fumes from.

This solder fume extractor is just a part of a really amazing electronics workbench. A lot of thought went into this workspace, from threaded inserts in the work surface to mount a panavise to an amazingly thoughtful equipment rack for computers, monitors, and other assorted heavy equipment.

via Hacked Gadgets

19 thoughts on “Workbench With Built-In Solder Fume Extractor

  1. I just use the fan from on old PC PSU, with part of the case still attached so that it works both as a guard for the blades, as well as a stand for the fan. I position the fan behind the work area, with the airflow pointing away from me, so it gently sucks the air away.

    1. After soldering for many years, I have developed a sensitivity to flux fumes, especially to some of the water-soluble fluxes (rosin based not so much). For me, exhausting inside the house was not enough, because even a little exposure is noticeable to me, resulting in hyper skin sensitivity, cold sweats, etc. I made a very similar setup with the flexible tubing and nozzles and a pvc manifold, but plumbed it to a Rigid 14Gal shop vac. The Rigid has an output port as well, and I have it hooked to a pvc pipe going up and through my basement window. Outside, I have a 45 degree elbow, and a large pvc floor drain, which keeps critters out.

      The output line SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the sound volume of of the shopvac, which I can barely hear as it is positioned on the other side of a wall as well. I get ZERO exposure since the draw is so good, and have not had any symptoms since I installed it…..

      1. Exactly! It’s the same with power supplies and DMMS!
        This photo was taken as I was switching over from my old Hakko stations to the new JBC units. I still had the Hakko units out because I hadn’t gotten all of the tips yet for the JBC.
        There are 2 JBC stations, one is just the standard sort; the other is dedicated to tweezers which requires a dual element controller.

        1. See, that’s just it. Most of the really distinctive smells in geekery are really toxic. Rosin seems to be the one big exception and it’s already used in a lot of incense, so it wouldn’t be anything interesting to most potential customers. Need to have the whole set!

          1. Predisposed individuals can develop hypersensitivity and asthma with exposure to rosin based soldering flux, and colophony lung, as it is known, is a fairly common variety of occupational asthma….


            Don’t forget hypersensitivity and asthma with isocyanates produced by burning polyurethane based insulation off of wire either…


            burning plastics can also produce a variety of nasty pyrolysis products, and methyl pyrollidone, a flux commonly used in solder paste, is pretty irritating…


            so, local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is arguably a desirable and sensible feature in a hacker space/work bench, and should be encouraged…

  2. Well, i feel stupid now. My total lack of home depot knowledge led me to using Mailing Tube with a LOT of papercraft glued to the end to make a nozzle. Basically I build the bendy bit using 3 or 4 A4 size cardboard sheets and a lot of tape/glue :/ Whole thing just loves picking up vibration and amplifying fan noise.

    1. Thanks! I came up with those out of necessity, and they have worked out pretty well. I have made a few more changes to the bench area that I need to post, and I plan to add a slide out with plenty of hooks for probe and banana cables.

  3. Hoods and funnels do not make for a better gathering effect. They just reduce the velocity of air which makes for less efficient way to move the stink at it’s source. A junk vacuum hose would work to get close to the source of the action.

  4. Really? I mean.. This seems like EPIC overkill. I use a very small solder hood that my wife bought me because the engineers in her office love them and she didn’t want me to die from horrid chemical exposure of some sort (heh).

    I use the Aoyue Smoke Absorber 486 They cost about 35-40$ @ frys.

    This feels like a cazy over-engineered system. Please correct me if I am wrong… And if my system is just not good enough for my occasional soldering…

    1. Thanks to everyone for the comments and feedback!

      Crazy-over-engineered, over-planned, diagrammed, documented, scheduled… yes, I hear that all the time from friends. You should see the rest of the basement.

      Overkill, it could be, but it was fun to make and does exactly what I need. Also, compare it to what is used in a commercial shop like these units:

      I wanted something with that level of convenience, but for a fraction of the price.

      This setup was cheap! The fan was on the discount shelf at Home Depot for about $9, add in $20-30 for the Loc-line hose and a couple of PVC parts and you’re there.

      I have one of those typical desktop units, Weller branded, that I used for a while, but it’s bulky,noisy and has to be very close to what you’re soldering. This setup doesn’t need any desk space, pulls 90 CFM, and it’s quiet. When I don’t need it for a while then I just pull it loose from the bench.

      Would I build it exactly like that again on a new bench? I might do it differently, but it would still be similar… maybe put it on the shelf above the bench an just swing the Loc-line hose down over the work?

      Perhaps it will inspire someone to make & sell something akin to the fancy Hakko or OKI units, but at a hobby price? A couple of 3d printed parts, a few bits of Loc-line in a kit? I expect there’s someone thinking about a Kickstarter already.

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