A Desk Lamp Solder Fume Extractor

Those of us who have spent a lifetime building electronic projects have probably breathed more solder smoke than we should. This is not an ideal situation as we’ve probably increased our risk of asthma and other medical conditions as a result.

It has become more common over the years to see fume extraction systems and filters as part of the professional soldering environment, and this trend has also started to appear in the world of the home solderer. As always, where commercial products go the hardware hacker will never be far behind. We’ve seen people producing their own soldering fume filters using computer fans.

A particularly neat example comes via [Engineer of None], who has posted an Instructable and the YouTube video shown below the break for a filter mounted on a desk lamp. A toaster is used to heat a piece of acrylic. The softened plastic is then shaped to fit the contours of the lamp. The lamp’s articulated arm is perfect for placing light and fume extraction exactly where it is needed. It’s not the most complex of hacks, but we’d have one like it on our bench without a second thought. We would probably add an activated carbon filter to ours though.

We’ve featured quite a few fume extractors over the years, like this ducted fan, or this downdraught workstation. It’s safe to say though that many of them have been a lot more cumbersome than this one.

Via [Oomlout]

18 thoughts on “A Desk Lamp Solder Fume Extractor

  1. Russian method of dealing with fumes (Or radiation, toxic chemicals or biohazards), drink half a bottle of vodka before, for protective measures, pour out and save capfull, do your soldering, drink rest of vodka to clear the blood, use capfull to dab on the burns all over your fingers.

  2. With out anything to back up my opinion, but I believe that an average hobbyist may not be harmfully affected over their life time. Of course another’s MMV and with taken in with other hazardous activity they engage in one may or may not deride a purpose built soldering fume extractor is a good idea fot themselves. Personally my time working with a stick arc welder is much greater than the time spent with soldering work.

    1. Some evidence that many rosin fumes can cause asthma. Some types can release Formaldehyde. Bottom line is that there isn’t much information available on what type of rosin most of the rosin core solders use.
      Best be safe.
      That said the filter used in this project isn’t for volatile organic vapors.

    2. The difference is that the stick arc welder doesn’t contain lead, which is still the preferred ingredient in solder.

      And rosin core solder fumes cause occupational asthma. For someone who’s already sensitive, it means wheezing and irritating cough that can lasts for days.

      1. From what I’ve heard (since this discussion is pretty much all conjecture anyway), the smoke produced from solder contains no lead. The soldering iron is well below the vaporization temperature of lead, unless something has gone drastically wrong. As evidence of that, I have been soldering since age 9, and now more than 30 years later I have no measurable amount of lead in my body. I’ve never used a fume extractor (simply couldn’t be bothered) and the only protection measure I use is to simply wash my hands when I’m done soldering.

      1. Well in reality, fresh air is more expensive than polluted air, here in PA, country land is more expensive than land in town, govt does in fact tax acreage , so solar, rainwater and wind is taxed …ugh ,unless you’re “living in a van down by the river”

  3. This is a great idea, though I was thinking when I saw it that a cowling over the vent holes in the top of the lamp with the fan drawing air up through the lamp reflector would be the way I would do it.

    Which I think I will – I’m totally adding this to my weekend project list – Thanks!

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