Business On The Outside, Electronics Workstation On The Inside

As an electrical engineering student, [Brandon Rice] had the full suite of electronics tools you’d expect. Cramming them all into a dorm room was doable — but cramped — a labour to square everything away from his desk’s top when he had to work on something else. To make it easier on himself, he built himself a portable electronics workstation inside the dimensions of a briefcase.

Built from scratch, the workstation includes a list of features that should have you salivating by the end. Instead of messing with a bunch of cables, on-board power is supplied by a dismantled 24V, 6A power brick, using a buck converter and ATmega to regulate and display the voltage, with power running directly to  12V and 5V lines of a breadboard in the middle of the workstation. A wealth of components are stored in two dozen 3d printed 1″ capsules setting them in loops pinned to the lid.

If all this was not already enough, there’s more!

Since he’ll be soldering a lot, there’s obviously an included soldering station, but were you expecting a helping hand and a carbon-filtered fume extractor? How about a folding overhead light to boot? Spools of wire are off to the rear to be tugged on when needed, and a drawer tucked into the side keeps circuit boards and jumper wires organized. There’s also a power strip along the other side — [Rice] notes that it was handier than he realized — for any other devices you might need. There’s even a built-in Arduino.

Hungry for more? How about a second serving, or even desert?

15 thoughts on “Business On The Outside, Electronics Workstation On The Inside

      1. By the way, while we’re joking about it, these things DO happen. Like with that kid and his clock science project… And that wasn’t even at the airport. These are not good times to be a tinkerer unfortunately.

        But this briefcase really looks like a “suicide vest” that you’d see in the movies (Like “Good Kill” with Ethan Hawke). Not sure if these really look like that in real life, but I doubt most police know either. I think it would be wise not to make your home project look like this.

        1. Regarding the whole “clock boy” incident, he sort of asked for it. I could reasonably see it as a misunderstanding if not for the container of grey clay/powder with two electrodes stuck in it. Also, I find it important to note that changing the case of an alarm clock, adding the “extra” part mentioned above, and giving a new case is probably not a hack.

    1. I was stopped at the airport once, I had several dozen patch cables, left overs from a real of cat6, soldering and crimping equipment. Basically had driven from Tamworth to Cairns stopping at all our offices fixing the the issues on the way, a new network port here, a fixed controller there. It took a fair bit of explaining and even a bit of google show and tell before they’d conclude my suitcase wasn’t a bomb but just a bunch of junk for the flight back to Brisbane.

  1. “A wealth of components are stored in two dozen 3d printed 1″ capsules setting them in loops pinned to the lid.”

    Pill bottles are clear, low-cost, available in many sizes and people throw them in the recycling bin every month.

  2. Bunch of haters in here. Bravo Brandon. When I purchase my first ball grid array rework station there wasn’t a circuit or module I couldn’t resist to open up. Being in the automotive market, opportunities are endless.

    If these guys can even use a programmers calculator I’d be impressed!!

  3. My favorite HAD posts aren’t the ones where I look at a project and think “I’ve got to make one of those.” They are the ones we’re I say “I like that idea, but I’d rather do it this other way.”
    Thanks for sharing! I’ve got another project on my todo list.

  4. Great idea, I love it! The people who are worried about it at an airport or similar might have a point, but there’s nothing to be done about the ignorance of the authorities. You portable workplace is almost like I would do it, but I would include a digital USB ‘scope (I like Picoscope brand, I have a 10MHz (very affordable) and a 100 MHz (much more expensive, but you’ll love it if you can afford it) model, either one would fit in easily. One other thing, I don’t want to be a hater, but get a better DMM! I’ve used that model when teaching electronics, and they aren’t very accurate or reliable. Good enough to demonstrate things to students, but I’d be uncomfortable using one as my primary meter. I’ve been told by others that they are electrically fragile as well, but I haven’t lost any of them in that way. Keep up the good work, and have fun!

    1. That’s probably no.1 DMM on the world in terms of quantity.
      It can be very reliable and reasonable accurate, I had one covered with 18 years old dust blanket,has 10-turn THT calibration pot from broken precision scale worth 20x DMM. Still spot on. Safety and looks?Who care ;)

  5. Wow! I should really be studying this, as I am probably be creating my own version soon. As a high school senior who will go on to study electrical engineering, I will have to make something like this to get my stuff to my expensive concrete box. I have hundreds of pounds of (mostly) junk to sift through, so we will see how that goes. I might even have to leave my nice soldering / hot air rework station and 3d printer with my parents :-( .Flying stuff around is tough.

  6. From 8 to 16 I kept a gentlemans shave kit with VoM, elec and later also butane soldering irons, etc. As I age I can see that a dozen 5″ Samsonites could shrink and encapsulate many now-hobbies. ‘Tronics might take 3. Microscope for beer, fungii growing & compost tea, another. And gunpowder scales etc, well. My bow does not take-down. That could be remedied. I once forgot and flew with several throwing knives in my Samsonite. I always handed the stewardess my shirt and long guns. I felt good that the pilot had one if he required it. Now, I drive.

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