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Soldering fume extraction

Are any of the Orchid members familiar with, or do any of you use,
one of the Sentry Air Systems’ units? I am considering the Model 200
Air Cleaner (see it at

Recently I went through some older posts on ventilation and
soldering fume extraction and would like to know if someone can
direct me to a post by someone named “Dan” who presumably provided
instructions on how to make an exhaust system (see the post from Ben
Harris dated Sat May 25, 2002. I have not been able to find the post
by “Dan” that supposedly provided these instructions.

I am a beginner and I really want to get my ventilation system in
place so I can break out my brand new torch and start doing some
serious soldering projects!

Also, as an aside, I want to thank everyone who responded to my post
some time back on where to find a larger size steel bench block. I
finally founda large one, at

Hope to hear from you all soon with your opinions and insight on the
Sentry Air System unit, or others you use and like, or the "how-to"
of making one

Au revoir!

Are any of the Orchid members familiar with, or do any of you use,
one of the Sentry Air Systems' units? 

I have two guest posts on my blog by a jeweler who has two different
ventilation systems for her studio. She writes about why she chose
them and which ones she has. Pictures also.


Hope to hear from you all soon with your opinions and insight on
the Sentry Air System unit, or others you use and like, or the
"how- to" of making one 

Reading: the basics are in the Jewelry Workshop Safety Report, by
Charles Lewton Brain, which you should have anyway.

Then there is another book that is just on ventilation. It’s called
something really dry like “How to build and install a ventilation
system,” or something. I think Rio sells it. Small book, only one on
the subject I’ve ever seen.


Are any of the Orchid members familiar with, or do any of you use,
one of the Sentry Air Systems' units? I am considering the Model
200 Air Cleaner (see it at 

If you are going to use a system like this you need the ones they
sell for welding, not soldering
The soldering ones are for soft solder and the nozzle and duct are
not made to deal with the heat from an open flame. Also remember
these units do not remove vapors and gasses only fumes and other
particulate mater so they are not going to remove some of the
hazardous byproducts of soldering so you will still need a good
exhaust of room air and clean make up air supply.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


When I used to work in a shop where there were four torches, working
production, five days a week, and no hoods, just air conditioning
and about 1000 We had OSHA come in on us once and
evaluate every thing we did and take air samples for several days
they tested everything. We used Prips flux and non cadmium silver
solders, no casting and burnout just fabrication. The torches were
Smith brand acetylene/air set-ups. The evaluators said those torch
set-up and materials we were using didn’t need venting as they didn’t
put out enough fumes to merit hoods over the torch areas. I don’t
vent my torch even now and I have had my own fabrication studio for
17 years. I have a Smith acetylene torch and a Smith tiny torch that
runs on propane/oxy.

OSHA testers said the worst thing in the studio was the liver of
sulfur chunks in the can. The guy said NEVER boil it because you
could die. I do remember that VERY well.


How long age did OSHA come and evaluate the shop your shop. 17 years
ago? Air standards are aways changing as new is gathered
about chemicals and their possible long term exposure effects on the
average person.


OSHA came in 2000 the last time.

The standards very well might have changed form that last encounter.
They have never been to my shop, just the employer I worked for at
the time.


Hello all you wonderful Orchideans! Especially the few who have
responded to my initial post, “Soldering Fume Extraction”: James
(are you the “Jim” who as been mentioned as being able to walk on
water?) Binnion, Susan Thornton (love your website BTW!), and Elaine
Luther (what a load of info at your site). I have not yet bought the
"Brain’s" book on workshop safety, but have read many of his
articles at the site. I’ll have to get the book on
building your own ventilation system (carried by Rio?) that was
recommended by Elaine. One more book for the jewelry-making/history
of jewelry arts library. Egads! Does anyone want to sell me their
used one? (SMILE!) Per James’ recommendation I looked into Sentry’s
welding fume extraction system/machines, their “300” series. Running
from $1600 for the basic tabletop model to $2600 for the floor
models. And I was hoping to be able to do something for around $500,
both the fume extraction and ventilation of air in and out of my
basement workshop. Again, I’ll try to restate simply my initial
questions. Are there any Orchideans using Sentry’s systems? If not
Sentry’s, what are you using? Did you design/build it yourself or
hire someone to help you? One more questions: Is it possible to get
some thing built/installed for around $500? -

Au revoir! Hobbs

I know nothing about the “Sentry” system, but…

I had a laminar flow hood built by a local company which makes duct
work. I bought a squirrel cage blower from Grainger with a rheostat
with an exhaust exiting through the wall of my studio. This is a
separate soldering station; I do not solder at my bench where I do
metal work.

The hood is about three feet across, two feet high and two feet deep.
The design was generously provided by an engineer friend. The best
thing I’ve ever done, well almost, for my own comfort.

I don’t have the figures handy, but cost was less than $300 not
including installation.

I also use this station when working with noxious substances. For
anyone doing this kind of work it’s indispensable.



I have used Fantech inline ventilation fans to ventilate three
different shops over the years and could not be happier with the
results. They run pretty quiet and are workhorses, we have run them
all day every day for years. I recently set up a one man studio with
one fan ventilating three stations (kiln, plating and soldering). I
had a heating and cooling contractor fabricate a 28" square hood for
the kiln and run 4" ducts down to the plating and soldering stations.
That all cost me about $700 including the fan for them to intall the
whole thing (I put the fan on a dimmer switch so I can adjust the fan
speed). At the soldering and plating stations I use flexible metal
ductwork so I can position the intake right at the source, we put
dampers on each intake to increase airflow when less than three
stations are in use. It still works well with all three intakes open
at the same time.

In the larger shop we have 12 stations run by three inline fans,
that also works great…but is more than you were looking for.

Good luck,

Dear Orchidians,

Over the past few months I have seen and read many postings about
venting studios. I have been studying this problem for about 27
years. I now have a product that I have started manufacturing. I have
told students of mine about these soldering vent boxes and have sold
a few. Today is the first public presentation.

There are lots of tools on the market that cater to jewelers. When
it comes to venting soldering fumes I have not found a decent
affordable tool for the job. Soldering fumes are sometimes toxic
depending on what materials, solders and fluxes are used. For that
reason setting up a ventilation system in my studio was important. I
have set up many different systems in various studios over the years.
I have tried kitchen vent hoods bought from hardware stores. I have
installed fans in plywood panels and placed them in open windows. I
have bought more powerful fans that suck the flame out of the torch
when I got it too close to the vent pipe. All of this trial and error
has led me to design and build this box. I feel that it is a great
solution for venting fumes out of the studio. Some of my
considerations for designing and building this box are very simple
and very subtle. First I wanted the box to be fireproof. I wanted to
put a torch in the box and not burn down the room when I took my eyes
off the flame. This box is made of 1/8th inch thick hot rolled steel
plate. I also wanted the inside black so I could see the color
changes of the metal when soldering. Most importantly, I wanted the
fumes to be drawn away from my face so I didn’t have to breathe the
toxic gasses and then need to spend thousands of dollars healing my
sick body. The box had to be durable and strong enough to last years
and take the punishment given to it in day-to-day use. One of the
things that I decided to add to it was a set up shelf, which could be
slid out to do set up work for soldering and then be smooth enough to
be slid back in place for soldering without vibrating the setup out
of position. The box needed a light and an electric outlet for a
small pickle pot. I also added a small shelf on the inside of the box
to store all my little supplies. I have built lots of these soldering
vent boxes over the years and have refined the design to what it is

If you email me off-line I can forward you a pdf file with photo’s
of the box and how it is set up. I sell the box by itself and
recommend a fan to go with it that is purchased separately. I charge
$485.00 for the box. It weighs 82 pounds and can be shipped most
places easily.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Peace… and breathe deeply!
David B. Anderson,
Goldsmith, Tool Maker, Teacher