Anyone who’s ever tried setting up a workbench in a tight space knows the struggle: you want to have all your test equipment and tools out and within arm’s reach, but you just don’t have enough surface area. If you fill the whole bench with your tools, there’s not going to be anywhere left to work. So you either have a bench full of tools that’s uncomfortable to use, or you’re forced to choose what stays out and what gets packed away. Neither is conducive to actually getting work done, which is why you are trying to set up a proper bench in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.
When faced with that very problem recently, [EEpromChip] decided to take the nuclear option. His Kendal 853D was already a great choice for a small-scale work area since it’s not just a hot air rework station but also offers a soldering iron and bench power supply in one unit. But it was still just a little too long for his bench. The solution? Just run the thing through the bandsaw and cut it in half. Seriously.
Upon opening the 853D up, [EEpromChip] realized the internal layout wasn’t terribly efficient. There was plenty of extra room inside the case to begin with, but if the transformer was removed from the bottom of the case and mounted to the rear it would really cut down the device’s footprint.
After making sure he documented where everything connected, he took all the electronics out of the sheet metal case and cut it down to size on a bandsaw. He then reinstalled circuit boards, and this time mounted the beefy transformer so it hangs over the board rather than sits next to it. The end result is a version of the Kendal 853D which is several inches shorter than before with no impact on functionality.