DIY Fume Extractor Keeps Air Clean While You Solder

Soldering is a key skill to learn when building electronics, but it’s also a process that can put out a lot of fumes. The best way to deal with this is to use a fume extractor. Of course, you can always make your own, as [Open Green Energy] ably demonstrates. It’s a guided build of the design [rdmmkr] published on Thingiverse.

The build relies on a 120mm case fan for suction, and it’s combined with a activated carbon filter to best capture the harmful fumes from the soldering process. The fan is neatly installed inside a 3D printed enclosure of custom design, which also includes a removable tray which holds the filter material. The fan is run from a DC power supply via a barrel jack, and a basic speed controller is installed to allow the fan to be turned up higher for more suction, or lower to reduce noise.

It’s a useful item to have around the home workshop, and it’s something that you could easily whip up at home with parts from the junk bin if you’re so inclined. The benefit of 3D printing is that you can easily alter the design to suit whatever parts you have on hand.

We’ve seen a few fume extractor builds over the years, from the simple and basic to the very fancy. Video after the break.

17 thoughts on “DIY Fume Extractor Keeps Air Clean While You Solder

  1. I’ve seen a few homebuilt extractors, but this is really nice, especially the use of the Hakko colors.
    next step would be a microcontroller and momentary button(s) to change the power level (to match the Hakko interface)

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried a peltier powered extractor/filter mounted to the iron itself

      1. This is HaD so there’s an excellent chance you’re just being pedantic, but they mean spinning the fan of the extractor using the Seebeck effect, which is technically the opposite of Peltier and not as well known.

    1. > I wonder if anyone has ever tried a peltier powered extractor/filter mounted to the iron itself

      I mean the Iron already has power, so why not just use that?
      Power -> heat -> power seems a bit inefficient.
      Only downside is you have to tap the power lines.

      As for mounting an extractor to the iron, it might be a bit bulky, but an interesting idea nonetheless.

      1. lol yep, probably better would be in the handle, and a hollow tube to the tip to draw fumes in, can’t imagine adding weight and bulk to the service end of an iron would make it easy to use.

    2. We had aoyue solder iron station with a build in extractor tube next to the iron tip. But it broke first 6-10months in 2015, the idea of extractor closed to the tip and filter build in station is quiet and nice but the reliability is suck.if they can make a good one for easy replacement the filter and other part will be nice.

  2. I always find that those rubber sticky feet come off. On my 3-D prints, I have an inverse-pyramid shaped hole in the bottom surface — the shape of the rubber foot, and about ½ the height. This locks the foot in place.

  3. So since there is actually no venting to the outside, but the fume is extracted to a ~1L box, how really useful is this thing? You will not directly take a full breath of the thing but after a few minutes it will be diffused in the room nonetheless. Am I missing something?

    1. nope, it’s all style and no substance. also that potentiometer/rotary encoder they desoldered is going to break the wire pigtail. i get decent results from a cpu fan wired straight to a usb cable.

      1. Talk about no style nor substance, you are trying to imply a tiny cpu fan alone to just circulate air is a better solution than having at least a little filtering? Also the pot is secured with a lock washer and nut, no idea how you think it’s gonna break the wiring when it cant freely move inside the case.

    2. With the carbon filter the article claims it will definitely do some reduction – as carbon filters really are great at catching stuff – venting to outside would obviously be better from the point of view of the user, but a carbon filter as long as it is replaced often enough, sized sufficiently and given enough airflow through it will do a good job reducing the fumes.

    3. Carbon filter will remove some crap from the smoke and it’ll pull the fumes away from you directly breathing them in so it’s better than nothing. You make it sound like it’s a zero sum game and breathing diffuse fumes is the same as breathing a direct concentrated plume of smoke, which it most definitely is not (though to be fair the best method is to use a real hepa air filtration system but that’s not always the easiest/cheapest solution).

  4. Somebody should do a “Project Farm” style comparison of all the solders.

    Some solders are a toxic plume of choking smoke. Then again, the stuff I buy is nearly odorless. I would guess the smoke quantity depends mostly on overheating the iron (my fancy iron does not overheat) and activity of the flux (I use mostly new clean parts so I don’t need flux strong enough to weld rusty plumbing pipes together). Anyway some jobs like copper wire antenna re-work outside probably require a more toxic flux than relatively easy indoor microwave RF surface mount work.

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