Anyone that worked with soldering knows the process releases some fumes. Those fumes can be considered toxic containing, even traces of some heavy metals like lead. When you work with electronics as a professional, the ideal is to use a professional fume extractor. But these devices are a bit expensive to an amateur as me. I used to blow the fumes away but, after some time, I got tired of that and decided, in the best DIYer tradition, to make my own fume extractor.
This posts describes the design / making and assembly of a 16cm x 16cm fume extractor, adequate to an amateur work.
As almost everthing I do/make by myself (sometimes from scratch), I end up doing some mistakes. At the first try for the fume extractor, I decided for a design using only one 8cm cooler fan, as shown by the images below:
It didn’t work well, mostly by the fact I put the “filter” (I used som scotch brite dish washing sponge as filter) after the fan. The fan worke ok on sucking the fumes but, at the moment they colided agains the “filter”, some fumes bounced back and some escaped by the fan sides. I added some tape around the filter, but I ended up with just more fumes bouncing back.
After some time, inspured by the video Soldering Fume Extractor, I decided to make a new and bigger with filters on the correct position. Also, I decided to forget the sponges and by some proper activated carbon filters (see the part list at the end).
Designing and 3D Printing
First thing was to put the cooler fans on the intended positions and take measures (I used some zipties to, temporarily strap them together):
After the measures, the first step was to design the main body, to which the cooler fans, power socket and power switch would be attatched. Due to size limitations of my 3D Printer printbed, I had to separate the main body in 2 parts, to be glued after printing..
The two parts were glued using some 10 minutes 2 parts epoxi glue. I could use any superglue (CA glue) or similar but, when the surfaces are big or not white, I prefere the epoxi glues, because it’s easier to adjust the parts (it takes longer to dry off), doesn’t exhale that strong smell and doesn’t leave that white residue on the pieces.
The next step was to design the grill that would hold the filters. The design is pretty easy: I just used some parts of the main body as base and made som changes:
PS: I 3D printed this piece using a different color(transparent, actually) because I didn’t have black filament enough for the object..
The power panel, where the power socket and switch are attached to:
After printed, assembled and tested the fume extractor, I detected the need for a funnel, to channel the air into the filter and cut some air vortexes ocurring on the borders of the grill. Again, due to size limitations of my printer, I had to design a funnel to be printed in parts. I decided to design an “L” shaped part with holes for M3 nuts/screws:
3D Printing Files
The files for 3D printing can be downloaded from the project below on Thingiverse:
3D Printing Specs
|Nozzle||0.4mm is OK, For the funnel, a smaller diameter would be better|
|Material||ABS: Scale in 1.01|
|Infill||I used 30%|
1) Main Body – Internal nuts
The internal nuts are used to hold the filter grill.
2) Coolers Fans
The cooler fans should be bolted to the body with the wires directed to outside through one of the screw holes.
Note the the bolts / nuts only on the center holes: the external holes are over the internal main body nuts (those for the filter grill).
3) Power Panel
The wiring should be done as the images below:
I could glue the panel to the main body, but I decided to leave it only with the plastic friction. It’s always nice to access the inside of a power box without destroying it (to do some repairing on it, for example).
4) Filter Grill
The activated carbin filters for soldering fum extractors are sold as size 13cm x 13cm. I don’t know if this is a standard or if it is the size of the most popular model. Anyway, to fit them into the grill it’s necessary to cut them to the size of 8cm x 8cm, taking one bit off on of the corners to allow the grill bolt to pass through.
As I mentioned before, the funel was not part of the original plan. I added later, after finished the device up to the previous step. So, the grill didn’t include any structure to attatch the funnel. Once the funnel was assembled, I glued it to the grill using superglue (CA glue). In this case, as both the grill and the funnel are white (the white residue is not a problem) and the amout of surface to be glued is relatively small, it was not necessary to use epoxi glue.
Finished Fume Extractor
The designing process went through some phases. As I mentioned before, this is the second prototype I build(hopefully the last one), and I was inspired by the video Soldering Fume Extractor, from I Like to Make Stuff channel. But I designed a device a little bit different:
- Instead of a wooden main body, attatched to a base by hinges, I 3D printed it.
- I considered using 12cm cooler fans instead but, because of the limitations of my 3D printer I would have to make it with a lot more parts so, I decided to keep the 8cm ones.
- I put the filter in the front of the cooler fans (for the reason I already explained).
- I added a GoPro standard adapter, because, in my opinion, it is the most versatile one. Besides, I have lots of mounts for it. It’s worth to note that I am using some GoPro package box base adapter. It’s just perfect for the job.
I’ve done several tests and it works very good, even using the device on the side (not on top) of the fume source. On the other hand, with the GoPro adaptor, I could easily make a longer rod, attached to a heavy base and use the extractor on the top of the fume source. After some time using like it is now I’ll know if it’s necessary.
One of the possible enhancements (more an accessory than an enhancement) would be the making of other type of bases / rods to attach the extractor. The project Modular Mounting System can provide some related ideas.
Another possibility would be an opening on the top of the grill to allow replacing the filters without unbolt the grill.
- 16x M3 Nuts
- 8x M3 Washers
- 4x 8mm M3 Allen Bolts
- 4x 20mm M3 Allen Bolts
- 8x 30mm M3 Allen Bolts (25mm would work, but without any margin)
4 8cm x 8cm 12V 2 pins (positive / negative) cooler fans.
- Heat Shrink tube 5mm
- Super Glue (CA Adhesive)
- epóxi 10 minutes glue
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