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Hawkeye

Cheap DIY Solder Fume Extractor (quick tip)

10 posts in this topic

Hola,

 

Will do a bit of MIDIbox soldering (and photo documentation :-)) in the next time, so I thought I´d share a small tip upfront...

 

If you were ever soldering, you probably also experienced Murphys Law, stating that solder fumes, that rise up, are always going to fly directly into your eyes, nose, mouth or other facial parts :-).

 

Was annoyed because of this and had a look around on Reichelt, looking for Solder Fume extractors. I found some in the price range of 30€ - 900€s... The most important part of these were the carbon filters, that will (to a certain extent) bind the solder fumes...

 

You can also buy those filters as spares directly for only ~ 5€...

http://www.reichelt.de/Fume-Extraction/FILTER-426-3/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=4135&ARTICLE=87380&SHOW=1&OFFSET=500&

 

And if you have any old 120mm PC fan and a 12V power suppy at hand, you are in luck, because it is really easy to build your own fume extractor from these parts - which of course does not meet any industry workplace safety requirements, but will keep those solder fumes out of your face :-).

 

For this project, I strapped two of those filters behind the old PC fan with rubber bands - works nicely and also cleans the air from old pizza scents... :smile:.

 

Further DIY tuning is possible - you could integrate a LED solder-area-lighting, improve the air intake, or build a better footstand (elevate the fan a little bit to improve efficiency). For now, it works well for me - let me know what you think - or post pictures of your own DIY solder fume extractors :-)

 

Hope you enjoyed this quick tip - happy soldering, everyone!

Peter

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Edited by Hawkeye

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Good idea, needs a case file and a FabLab. A powerful fan is a plus, too (+60 m³/h). Mine is pretty weak and noisy, even though I have a commercial 230V one.

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Thanks, Martin, good idea regarding the case - its looks are not 10/10 :-)!

Meanwhile, I added a few cardboard carton airflow intake fins, which help to capture the smoke a little bit better - but it looks even uglier now! :-)

And a more powerful fan would be better, fully agreed! Got a few unused quadcopter drivesystems lying around... hmmmm... :-)

 

Many greets!

Peter

Edited by Hawkeye

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but it looks even uglier now! :-)

lol :D I can imagine that.

 

On the other hand, soldering isn't a beauty contest. The outcome matters...

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20 years of soldering has taken its toll on me and I had to install some proper ventilation.

 

I highly disagree with Hawkeye's "solution" because those filters simply don't handle any microparticles. When rosin-based flux is heated, it releases formaldehyde (among other nasty things) which can't really be removed by this kind of carbon filter.

 

This is what I used - 220V bathroom fan (very quiet) for 15 euro:

 

G2s.jpg

http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300540214048&ssPageName=ADME:X:DERP:DE:1123

 

Then I paid another 10 euro for duct tubes. The ducts go straight out my window.

 

If you don't have a window, then put on a HEPA filter on the tubes. Find a cheap one for a vacuum cleaner.

Edited by sneakthief

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Hi Sneakthief,

 

wow, thanks for the information! Great to see other solutions and thoughts on that matter! It is strange, that Reichelt sells these things in the exact same setup, but I totally believe you, that they cannot filter properly - after all, it is just a piece of foam - that´s it. While I guess it is better than inhaling the fumes, I fully agree, that it is far from perfect! Getting the fumes out of the window is of course the best solution!

 

Many greets,

Peter

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I got bronchitis last year for 6 weeks and all evidence points to solder fumes. To be very frank, it's going to take me a while longer to recover.

 

I've read that 1/4 of electronics workers in the UK develop chronic bronchitis - they call it "colophony (rosin) lung"

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_asthma#Occupations_at_risk

 

The expensive fume-extractors use HEPA filters, similar to what I suggested, eg. http://www.rapidonline.com/tools-equipment/oki-solder-fume-extraction-systems-525451

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after all, it is just a piece of foam

it's a urethane foam joined with activated carbon

 

http://www.china-zhongdi.com/products.asp?cataid=153

 

You certainly don't want to use it every day, but for soldering 2 Sammichs, 2 Cores & a SEQ4 PCB it's enough IMO.

 

 

There are cheap 120x120mm HEPA filters out there that could be easily joined by 4 screws with a 120x120mm fan:

 

http://www.ebay.de/itm/111372608914

 

I have one of those (not with the exact dimensions), but beware: you get what you pay for... the twice as expensive original parts look much more refined than the cheap rip-offs. On the other hand - they are designed for vacuum cleaners...

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I fully understand the pain/life impact when your respiratory system is compromised - my sister once had a biolab accident and got half her lung infected with dangerous bacteria - she was lucky and all went well (after a few long months), but it was no nice time... The conclusion is - buy/DIY the best system you can afford - and everything is better than no system - even a fan/heat ventilator blowing away the fumes would be better than direct exposure (as Martin says, it all depends on the time and amount of exposure you get).  Good find on the ebay HEPA filters - that would be a nice and affordable improvement to the solution above!

 

Thanks for the discussion - so maybe a few people see this and think about their soldering setup - that was the main intent of this thread.. :smile:

 

Many greets,

Peter

Edited by Hawkeye

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One more thing: I highly, highly recommend using Kester 331 solder which uses polyethylene glycol instead of rosin as a flux. Synth developers such as Paul Schreiber (MOTM) and John Blacet swear by it as it is believed to be much less toxic.

 

However, since it's an water-based acid flux, you need to wash your board after with distilled water within a couple of hours so the acid doesn't eat the board. It's also to be avoided around pots and switches which it can damage.

 

This is some 63/37 that I bought recently:

 

http://mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=24-6337-6417virtualkey53300000virtualkey533-24-6337-6417

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