I am just starting a jewelry/metal smithing class at an alternative
high school. The quarters are pretty cramped, but I have an office
set aside for soldering. I am wondering what kind of ventilation
system I should have for the soldering station. Thanks
I am just starting a jewelry/metal smithing class at an alternative
I would start by setting up the torch near a window that opens. You
can use a reverse fan to help suck the air outside. I have also seen
vent hoods for stoves used over a soldering area. The best systems
are built in by the school, but it sounds like you will need to
stick with cheaper methods…
Do you have a window in that office? If so, place the soldering
station in front of the open window and set up a small box fan that
is between the soldering station and the window. Position the fan so
it gently pulls the fumes AWAY from you and TOWARDS the open window.
The fan shouldn’t be so strong that it blows the torch flame out.
It works, low tech, low cost. Good luck and happy soldering.
My suggestion is to contact an HVAC expert and get an estimate of
what you want. As a school, you are subject to liability for all your
students. If something happens to one of your students, you don’t
want them coming after you for health code violations. There are
simple structures which were erected at Metalwerx by high priced
carpenters. Although this could have been done on the cheap, we paid
the price just in case something happened.
I wish we didn’t live in such a litigious society, but that’s the
way it is now.
I applaud you for starting up a school. It’s tough but incredibly
Founder of Metalwerx
A vent will do little to nothing unless your classroom can create a
vaccumm. You will want to seal off all of the holes in the walls
(welcome to my life!), the doors, and the air condidtioning/heating
ducts (these you will want to have a toggle on-off). Once your room
sealed, you want an intake and an exhaust. The amount of cubic air in
the room will determine the needed pull of exhaust. OSHA regulations
require air exchange every 10 minutes- it is quite easy to exceed
this number once you have a sealed room. Keep in mind, the ducts
themselves have eletrostatic pull and will lessen the strength of
your exhaust fan.
If you live in cold areas, you MAY want to put in heating coils-
this would only be neccessary if your customers will be around. I
personally dont have one and Ive used my 5 min. air exchange in -25*F
weather with no problem. Supposedly, there can be some sort of
combustion problem with hot/cold areas in buildings. ASK AN EXPERT!
So, your problems are:
-Sealing your room (ridgid foam and expanding foam are like a
godsent for this-also very cheap)
-finding the cubic area of your room and finding a fan that can pull
this within 10 minutes
All of this may seem excessive. Futhermore, I dont know a single
jeweler within 100miles who has or cares about a studio that is
health concious/OSHA compliant. If it werent for a clean set of
lungs, Id be a whole lot more upset at this lack of diligence.
Furthermore, if I ever drop (godforbid) my liver of sulfur into my
rhodium plating solution, I can quick hit my exhaust fan button,
flee the room and in 6.40 minutes, I can safely go back to work.
You will want to seal off all of the holes in the walls (welcome to
my life!), the doors, and the air condidtioning/heating ducts (these
you will want to have a toggle on-off). Once your room is sealed, you
want an intake and an exhaust.
OK, wait now… you want to seal all the air intakes… then add an
air intake? Things that make you go “hmmmmm”.
I have a post on my blog today about choosing a ventilation system
for your studio. A two part series by guest blogger Tamra Gentry.
Here’s the link:
A vacumm cannot be achieved in a room that has unlimited access to
If you cannot determine how much air intake you have, you will not
be able to determine the amount of actual air you can take in. If you
displace a certain volume of air you will want to replace it with
clean air (like breathing?).
Without this air replacement (at slightly less pull then the
exhaust), you’ll burn your fan out due to stress. Kind of like
running your car in sixth gear while going 20MPH.
At a low ball figure, a fan replacement, if you can do it yourself,
will cost $200 (20’ X 20’ X 15’ studio). Things that make you go
Hmmmmmm, wheres all my money?
You will also want directionality to your air flow. You dont want
chemicals blowing into your face before they exit the room. Free
holes will bring air in from where ever the _____. Again, not a good
A vacumm cannot be achieved in a room that has unlimited access to new air.
Still not evident to me why you would want or need a vacuum. You
take air out, it will be pulled in wherever there is an opening. As
for directionality, if you have the exhaust placed to pull the fumes
away from your face, that pretty much takes care of that. Air will
move from all over the room toward the exhaust
Are you by chance an engineer? Give a man a hammer and everything
looks like a nail… ;>)
Still not evident to me why you would want or need a vacuum. You take air out, it will be pulled in wherever there is an opening."
Directionality is a consideration, but only after a vacumm.
Not having a vacumm will not give true air exchange. Similar to
blending eggs, but not rotating the blender- you will have one or two
really blended eggs, but the rest of the bowl will be runny. Your
fumes may be removed from the immediate area, but no larger then
directly under the exhaust. Yes- the intake, if at the other side of
the room, will transfer air toward your exhaust, but this could be
considered a mock exchange. True air exchange happens in areas that
dont have any physical air push/pull because they are in a vacumm.
Imagine trying to remove the air bubbles from a flask of investment
by simply “sucking” them out with a hose. The flask must be in a
vacumm because it creates “Uniform Pull” (and there is a large
difference in density; air to investment). There is no greater pull
in any given spot, therefore allowing all areas to be air bubble free
When your room has a slight vacumm there is no favoritism from where
the air is drawn; it is more universal (and in a PERFECTLY sealed
room it approaches closer to perfect universal pull). This way, the
student in the back will recieve clean air equally (actually just
similar-) to the students sitting close to the exhaust. If you ever
visit a studio that has the vacumm sealed room, you can physically
feel the vacumm (kinda like the feeling of airplane compression) and
how the air exchanges. You can also smoke the room and see how the
air flows. It really is a big difference. Your local
lumber/furniture factory will most likely have one of these rooms due
to thier large work areas and toxic finishing fumes. Thier finishing
areas would never be workable is they didnt create a vacummir
IM not sure how well I explained this, but feel free to hit me up
with clarification. Furthermore, your local OSHA compliant exhaust
expert should be able to give some great advice and clarification.
Nope. Im not an engineer, except when Im trying to resurrect
grandma’s old ring!
IM not sure how well I explained this, but feel free to hit me up with clarification.
OK, I get it now. I liked the casting analogy (works for me better
than auto-engine-rebuilding analogies
I would check into the Quatro Ductless Fume Hood. Or a Solder pure
you would be able to run two benches are the same time.
Andy The Tool Guy Kroungold
I would warn of something else rather than the fume problem, which
is a real consern.
When I was in High School some 35 years ago, I went to my first
jewellery class. We were not worried or even aware of any fume
problems then. Let alone what actually happened.
This was the day of the big hair and nylon blouses for girls. There
actully were three girls to every guy. The soldering stations were
shoulder to shoulder even for high school kids. I think there were
ten spots. One guy was solder a knot ring right next to a girl doing
the same thing.
He finished his solder at looked at it while holding the light torch
to the girls elbow. To make thing worse she was wearing a shear
nylon blouse. She looked very cute in it also by the way.Well, when
you heat nylon it doesn’t burn right away. It becomes a super heated
plastic mass. Which stuck to the girl skin. The was about the size
of a half dollar.
This perfect girl was scarred for life. So be really carefull putting
your soldering booth in a confined space. You have more than fumes to
be worried about. I don’t know about confining a turch room unless
you have a really expensive exhast system. You might be better just
putting up a short wall.
Alpine Custom Jewellers & Repair
Thanks to all for their ideas on venting for the torches in my
classroom. The whole nylon blouse and burning sounds brutal.
Hopefully my students will not wear nylon blouses, I will have to
tell them that story. I had the school district maintenance come look
at the area and they are very worried about fire danger so it might
be awhile before I get the torches set up. They are looking for some
special ventilation table used in science classrooms for us. We will
see what happens.
The whole nylon blouse and burning sounds brutal. Hopefully my students will not wear nylon blouses, I will have to tell them that story. I had the school district maintenance come look at the area and they are very worried about fire danger so it might be awhile before I get the torches set up. They are looking for some special ventilation table used in science classrooms for us. We will see what happens.
When I took my first metals fabrication class, the instructor spent
the entire first class discussing SAFETY and care and handling of
tools. He advised us that if we didn’t follow the safety instructions
or were unwilling to take care of the tools then we simply need not
appear in class anymore. End of discussion, period!
We were advised to tie our hair back (and up if it were long) to
keep it away from any torch or grinding tool. We were advised to wear
tailored (no long flowing skirts or frilly blouses or oversize
shirts) cotton clothing because nylon would MELT instantly and
leather aprons. Face masks were required if working with chemicals or
investment materials - he didn’t care if they were uncomfortable or
In short, he didn’t care how talented we were or how much we wanted
to “make jewelry”. He cared that we understood the need for safety so
we wouldn’t get hurt- the rest would follow, and it did indeed. I
don’t think I ever forgot that first class. And to this day, I
practice the safety rules that he laid out for us. They have just
become part and parcel of my working manner.
So I would think it wouldn’t be a matter of “hoping” your students
wouldn’t wear nylon blouses or shirts, I think it would be a matter
of stating NO NYLON will be worn, end of discussion.
Okay, my rant is over!
I would think it wouldn't be a matter of "hoping" your students wouldn't wear nylon blouses or shirts, I think it would be a matter of stating NO NYLON will be worn, end of discussion.
You are definitely right about how important safety is. I have spent
several days going over safety with my students and having them read
our rules and precautions and signing a safety contract. Thanks for