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Soldering station ideas?


#1

I have (finally) decided that I need a dedicated soldering work
space, so I can free up some much needed bench space, and reduce the
mess.

So here’s the question… How big and how “complicated” should I make
it?

Some points to consider:

I only have about 11’x11’ of total studio floor space to play with
and about half that is already taken up by my PC station, faceting
machine, and work bench and the associated chair space these require.

I have just started to work with palladium and platinum isn’t far
off (I have a couple of projects of the drawing board as I write
this), but for the most part I work silver and gold.

I also want to use this new station to store tools and such, whether
I do this via draws (not a huge fan, my bench as three and I rarely
open them) or a “peg board” is mute, IS it a good idea to have tools
near hot flux and pickle when they are not in use? I have noticed on
some of my pliers that I don’t use often there is some pickle
splutter that is has caused corrosion, but I just don’t know how long
this took to happen.

Guess that about covers it, so there you go I’m open to
ideas/suggestions etc.

Thanks.
Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.
http://tjlittlegems.com


#2

For 9 years I worked in a shop with a dedicated soldering station
directly behind my regular bench. All I had to do was rotate my
chair and I was facing the solder station. It was heaven because it
was never dirty with compounds, etc, and I could accumulate solder
jobs, etc, spin my chair and quickly do all the torch work, put the
work into the pickle and turn back to my large bench without having
to re organize either bench. I never stored any tools not used here
at this station as it was pretty small and, as observed, the
chemicals used on the solder station are hard on tools.

Do not have the luxury of the dedicated solder station now, as the
new shop has my laser at 45% turn and the second jeweler’s bench is
located too close behind my big bench for even a tiny bench behind
me. The need for the dedicated solder bench is really a lot less now
anyway, as having access to the laser at my left elbow eliminates a
lot of need to use the torch. If I did have a little extra space,
though I still would set up that soldering station, as it was a
pleasure to keep those operations separate.


#3

When I had the space for extra benches I opted for a dedicated
setting bench instead. I lined the top with gasket material. Its
aggravating to set a stone only to discover a scratched table caused
by just back and forth on the benchtop.

While pickle rot on tools is annoying, unnecessary stone replacement
costs money. Now that I have to do everything on a single bench I
have a suede lined cup for stones. Soldering mess is greatly reduced
because as James said, the laser does most of that kind of thing now.
Long ago I quit using hot pickle mostly because I too frequently
forgot to shut it down and got that fried pickle smell in the
morning, distinctive aroma. The real benefit is no pickle rot. Then
again the laser just bypasses that too, no solder, no pickle.

Layout of the station depends on the scale of your work. Big work
big pickle pot…there will be more problems with storing your tools
nearby. If it was just a matter of hot fumes you can vent it easily
enough. But you also have the spatter when you plop a piece in the
pot. You can address this by having your hot pickle pot on the side
and lower, like on a small parsons table or something. No splash on
tools no problem. Make a 3 sided enclosure to keep splatter confined.
If you can arrange for pickle on one side of the bench and tools on
the other you might be good to go.

For hand tool storage I’ve been quite happy with a Craftsman 6 drawer
accessory box 8x12x15". The drawers are shallow so it doesn’t take
too much rummaging to find what you want. I had a bench once where
the wooden drawers were like 4-6 in deep and that was just a constant
pain. Craftsman apparently doesn’t make this configuration anymore
which is a shame, it was designed to hang on the side of a mechanics’
toolchest. I keep poking round the tool dept at Sears hoping to spot
something similar.


#4

If possible consider putting the soldering area away from your bench
so that you are forced to get up and walk to it. This introduces a
moderate level of exercise into your (possibly sedentary) working
life.

The tools you need at the soldering area are likely yo be those that
you will expose to heat etc anyway, aren’t they? Tweezers, jigs, etc.
I would not have pliers nearby, nor need them there. I DO have old
cheap meccanic’s pliers for occasional use bending the cross-locks a
little for a particular soldering job etc, but it doesn’t matter so
much with them.

I solder standing up so my soldering area is raised about 5". I can
store solder supplies, spare crucibles, ingot molds, different
fluxes etc in open cubby holes underneath.

Brian
Auckland NEW ZEALAND


#5

I also solder standing up, so I bought one of those restaurant prep
tables, stainless steel, 2’x4’, one grid shelf underneath table top -
perfect for soldering standing up - allows plenty of space for
housing equipment necessary (flux, solder, charcoal bricks, 3rd
hands, torch tips, tweezers, water, etc.). Got it at Sam’s - cost
around $150 -have used it for 4 years and love it. Easy to clean up

  • paper towels and Windex.

#6

My set up is a bit different, but it might be adjustable for someone
else. I am an artist who works in a range of media, with metals
being one of them. I have a huge home-made wooden sink/table left
from when my primary focus was printmaking. I was doing large
(20"x30" or bigger) prints, and needed a shallow flat sink to place
trays in. One side is just “sink”, one is “sink” with wooden slatted
rack filling it. That is the side I have turned into my soldering
station. I have my pickle pot at one end (against the wall on the
right), so if there are splashes (and as I am very careful that is
rare) they splash into the sink. The quenching water is next to that
and a bit back. Then to the left of that I have set up fire bricks to
form a base and backstop for my soldering, with various soldering
boards available; two torches; torch tips; lighter; and a tripod.
That keeps all my soldering activity in one place, and frees up my
bench where I used to solder so I have more room for setting and
layout, etc.

I really like having the fire brick base and backstop - it feels
safer, and it keeps everything raised a bit more to eye level.
(Thanks Rick for the idea!)

I have also seen soldering stations create on what looked like
restaurant grade metal shelving/back splash, which also serves to
protect the surrounding area.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#7
If possible consider putting the soldering area away from your
bench so that you are forced to get up and walk to it. This
introduces a moderate level of exercise into your (possibly
sedentary) working life. 

Agreed.

If you’re making a separate area, here are some of the things I’ve
seen in classrooms. One small classroom place had these stations made
up. They were metal units, like the NSF shelving, and the top
"shelf," she had tiled with this awesome tile.

Okay, so tools don’t have to be pretty, but it makes some people
happy.

Another classroom has simple wooden tables with galvanized steel
nailed down to the top, then the entire surface is covered with
Solderite soldering boards.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#8
You can address this by having your hot pickle pot on the side and
lower, like on a small parsons table or something. If you can
arrange for pickle on one side of the bench and tools on the other
you might be good to go. 

I have my pickle pot on the window sill to my left and my tools in my
bench drawers to my right. I’m meticulous about putting all my tools
away in the right drawers at the end of a bench session. No pickle
rot problems. A little OCD (which my children have diagnosed me
with!) goes a long way with regard to turning off the pickle pot too.
I won’t leave my bench until I’ve done my “shut down” routine; switch
off ultrasonic, flexshaft and pickle pot, put tools in drawers, work
in “work in progress drawer” and turn off bench lights. Oh and when I
can get my DH to set up my lovely torch system that I’m paying
monthly rental for, I’ll include that in the “shut down” routine.

Helen
UK


#9

I like to pull old stuff out of other peoples garbage for use.

I started with a girls small dresser, I used it for a year or so
without catching it on fire once. Then I found an old cast iron and
porcelain sink and I dragged that down the street and installed that.
I love it, its tall flame resistant, I have a water source right
there and I use the other end of the sink for pickling and chemical
work. I hope to build out cabinets in the near future for chemical
storage and shelving for my tumbler. Ive attached an image, the
studio is a mess but thats pretty typical


#10
Another classroom has simple wooden tables with galvanized steel
nailed down to the top, then the entire surface is covered with
Solderite soldering boards.

I use an old wood desk with two 12 x12 x 1/2 cermic floor tiles next
to each other on top. I purchased them at Home Depot on sale for
$3.95 each,I have my soldering board and bricks on them. Now I have
no worries of burning the wood top. The desk is behind me when
sitting at my bench, (about 3ft in between) so I just turn around and
roll over to it to solder.

Jane from MI
Working hard to move from newbie to jewelry artist!


#11

My small soldering station was a simple bench, topped with a piece
of granite left over when someone cut a sink into a new counter top.
No problem with heat or spills, easy to clean.