Mobile Electronics Workstation Has It All In A Small Package

Home is absolutely everything these days. Plenty of spaces around the abode have had to do double and triple duty as we navigate work, play, and everything in between. Although it’s been a great time to engage in hobbies and even find new ones, where exactly are we supposed put all the stuff that accumulates?

[Fabse89] needed a portable, usable solution for doing electronics work that could be easily packed away. They happened upon a tool case being thrown out, and repurposed it into a great one-stop solution for whenever the urge to play with pixies strikes.

[Fabse89] started by stripping the box out to the bare walls and modeling the inside in Fusion360. Then they built and cut an acrylic insert that holds two power supplies and a soldering station. There are fixed 5 V and 12 V outputs on one power supply, plus a variable supply that maxes out at 48 V.

When it came to tool storage options, [Fabse89] got lucky with a small, seldom-used set of plastic drawers that fits perfectly next to the power station. These hold all the small tools like flush cutters, pliers, and a de-soldering pump. The top section of the case folds back and is the perfect place for component storage boxes. We think this is a tidy solution and especially like that you don’t have to dismantle it to use it — can be used with everything in place and packed up quickly. We also like that the front lid pulls down into a makeshift table, so this really could go anywhere with mains power.

Acrylic not rugged enough for your tastes? Here’s a DIY supply that doubles as a melee weapon.

13 thoughts on “Mobile Electronics Workstation Has It All In A Small Package

  1. Here’s an interesting dilemma: if you make a portable bench, do you make it fold and stretch open to provide access and work area as well, or do you use it as a toolbox only?

    If you use it as a work bench, you will have a folded-out toolbox/workbench standing in your living room until the project is done. If you use it as a toolbox only, then you can pack it and put it aside for the day, but you’re left with the unfinished project on the coffee table.

    Seems to me, you need two suitcases: one to keep the tools and the other to keep the project. Or is there a way to combine them?

    1. I like the latter approach. Most of my projects get a project box (if they are not massive) and that way I can just pack it away.

      I quite like having a clear workspace in case I need to work on something else, so it’s great for me to be able to pack things away at the end of the day.

        1. It’s also very important if little children are in your life, or if you have cats that have free range in the house. The children part is a bit more problematic.

    2. So I saw somewhere (maybe here) the idea of using a rack of trays (like that used for food service) to store in progress projects. I very nearly ordered one from a restaurant supply house, they’re about $150, and still may do so: I get overwhelmed with in progress progress. My “healing bench” has too many broken things partially disassembled.

      It’s of course not as compact as the scale of this cool box (the original box is just awesome as a starting place), but that’s how I’d like to deal with that problem.

      1. We had something like that at a previous job, though it was targeted at the electronics industry as everything was anti-stat and heavier duty. The boards we worked on would take an entire bench each, so it was critical as a place to stash works-in-progress or interesting hardware we didn’t have any better storage for.

    3. I prefer to not make every type of workbench portable, or at least have a well intergrated static one as well – your desk is big and can hold powersupplys, computer, logic analyser, oscope etc neat and tidy out the way, done right it doesn’t even stop any of that desk space being used for anything else. But its so effortless to then bring in the project tray and get on with it. I’ve not yet gone as far in the integration and style factor as some of those really fancy tabletop gaming tables, but they are definitely inspirational.

      When things must be portable, or I want a portable secondary setup I tend to prefer the ‘toolbox’ being nothing but a store that opens out taking up minimal desk area, but bringing all the tools into easy access.

      Often I want to work on ‘trays’ so a WIP can be slid onto the shelf (or ‘occasionally’ just dumped on the bed/sofa for a few the few hours the table was needed). Most of these trays are just random offcuts of ply/laminate floor (many of which don’t last long as trays before getting cut up for use somewhere else), though some are standard size tea trays – big enough for many projects, and small enough you don’t waste space on the shelf, plus while the edge lip can be annoying at times for smaller projects preventing that escapee part from reaching the carpet/swarf pile I’ve yet to clean up (depending on if this one is in the ‘workshop’ or the house) is useful enough to be worth it.

    4. I have appropriated the dining table, it’s a small table and I refuse to clean it off, I have no place to put all the stuff and even at that, there are boxes and boxes of stuff under the table. No place else to put it. It continues to worse as time goes by as I continue to accumulate more stuff. My next move will likely be to a place of my own, the wife is getting near the end of her tolerance. I have been doing this kind of stuff for a long time and never have I seen a time when even the largest bench (s) I have ever had which for electronics were large enough. I just stuff more stuff in more boxes then forget which boxes have what in them so I have to dig out the boxes to find what I was looking for. I used to have several cabinets stacked high 4 sides on lazy Susans on benches and they were all full of components, I still didn’t have everything I wanted or needed and was always ordering more stuff. I can see how a set up like this can be handy but for sure it has limits. I suppose the prudent thing to do at this time would be to simply collect all that I need for the circuits I have started but not completed, finish them without starting any new circuits. Put them all in an organized arrangement and then start on new projects. I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to happen though. Everything will journey from the table to a box at some point in time then return to the bench briefly and eventually get finished. I need to get all projects compartmentalized with the pertinent schematics and progress in case someone else deems it worthy to carry on my work after I cannot otherwise it all goes in the dumpster. I’ve seen that happen before with other people, it happened to me once and I didn’t go anywhere. Someone else determined all my new packaged components had absolutely no valve to anyone else. Fortunately I tracked down all my trinkets and retrieved them only to loose them again some years later in my absence from work. Just goes to show one mans treasure is another mans trash !!!

  2. I got this beat, I made a Mobile Electronics Lab using a Macintosh G4 Desktop Case. It’s got a Breadboard, Raspberry Pi 4 8GB, Power Supply, Logic Analyzer and Scope. The Breadboard is on the old Motherboard Tray and the everything else is accessible from inside, the Scope is accessible from the old Zip Drive bay. It isn’t quite finished and still need to add storage for some small hand tools and storage for some common jelly bean parts.

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