I will show you how to make a simple solder fume extractor for $20 or less! It’s easy to build and keeps the air in your work space fresh when soldering.
When you use a soldering iron, the smoke/fumes from burnt solder and flux smell bad and can be dangerous to your health. The solder smoke extractor does not only pull them out of the air, it also traps them in the filter so you don’t breathe the fumes.
Disclaimer: this is how I created a fume extractor for my own use. I accept no liability for any damage or issues caused by you recreating what I did.
Don’t forget to check out my other tutorials:
Too Lazy to Build?
You can just buy a soldering fume extractor off the shelf:
But where is the fun in all that :)
These parts are widely available online.
- 3D Printed Body: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3475651
- 120x120mm Fan: Banggood | Amazon
- 12mm LED on/off switch: http://bit.ly/2SON0wo
- Step-down voltage regulator (12V): Banggood | Amazon
- 129x129mm carbon filter for soldering fume: https://amzn.to/2Tv0B0B (also try eBay)
- Voltage meter: http://bit.ly/2UqveBw
- XT60 connectors and wires
- 4 small zip ties
The 3D printed body is designed for 120x120mm PC fan, and 129x129mm activated carbon filters (130x130mm should also work). It’s big enough for up to 3 sheets of 10mm thick filters. 1 filter is fine, but I stacked three of these filters together for “better” filtering.
These 12V 120x120mm fans are commonly used in computers. I just bought the cheapest one I could find on eBay ($6) and it’s working fine. The cheap ones are not particularly powerful, usually only rated at 50-60 CFM (air speed per minute). You have to solder quite close to the fume extractor for it to work well, perhaps 20-30cm away at most.
If you want something that is really powerful, take a look at these. Beware that they are also very noisy and draw a lot of current:
I really don’t think these powerful fans are necessary, unless you know what you are doing.
Building a Solder Fume Extractor
Here we go, let’s get the body printed first. I printed mine with PLA, 15% infill and 0.2mm layer height, with support and model facing up. Took over 9 hours to complete!
Next, Install the fan with zip ties. You can also put double-sided tapes between the body and fan to seal the gap. I didn’t do it.
Then flip the body over, and install the on/off switch and voltage meter in the slots.
Here is the wiring diagram.
Before soldering, you have to adjust the voltage regulator to make sure it’s outputting 12V, by turning the knob with a screw driver.
The 120mm PC fans usually have 3 wires, you only need the 12V and GND wires (red and black wires). If the wires are not colour coded, check this diagram – the middle wire is usually 12V.
Soldering is easy, basically all the wires are connected and soldered right on top of the voltage regulator. Don’t forget, the XT60 pigtails have to go through the holes on the sides first.
Stick the regulator to the bottom of the case with double-sided tape. Secure the wires with some heavy duty packing tapes.
Insert the filters and that’s it!
I made sure it has both XT60 female and male connectors, so I can connect a 4S or 6S LiPo battery to one side, and power the TS-100 soldering iron from the other side.
I have a separate 4S to 24V boost regulator for the TS100 soldering iron (my favourite), this makes a very clean setup :) In the future I might even install that 24V boost regulator inside the smoke extractor so the wiring looks cleaner.
I really like the on/off button! It means I can now turn off the soldering iron and fan without unplugging the battery :)
Demo of Solder Fume Extractor
Here is a video demonstration how well this smoke extractor works :)