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Simple Solder Fume Extractor

Project Cost:20.00
Est Construction Time: .5 Hr
Required Skill Level: Scissors and Screwdriver



With all the inventing and tinker and I do I tend a burn through equipment faster than most people. So when my $100 solder fume extractor gave up the ghosts I wasn’t really willing to go and spend more money on something that I needed to use every day but thought I could build just as well for a fraction of the price. So using some of the shelf parts a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters I was able to produce an excellent replacement for a fraction of the cost of a new unit.

So the main component in this project is the mobile fan two by Thermaltake. This simple little USB powered desktop fan contains all the components we need to hack together a really great fume extractor. These are available in different sizes and range anywhere between 10 and $25.00 depending on the vendor you buy it from.

Next we have the most important part of a solder fume extractor, the active carbon filters. These filters pictured above are inexpensive replacement filters that I picked up on Amazon .Com for about $10.00. The nice thing about the these filters is they are expensive and can be cut and shape that you need.

An additional component we will need is a sacrificial fan that will be able to use to hold the filters. The fan pictured above is a $2.00 80 MM fan I picked up a newegg.com.

The final component we will need will be some replacement screws that are long enough to allow us to sandwich the fans together. the screws are about to 1/2 inches long and are simply available at any hardware store.

Here we have the fan un-packaged. We can see that is nothing more than a simple 80 MM case fan with a USB powered real and a potentially to govern the speed of the motor.

To get started we will simply take a screwdriver and undo the screws and nuts there holding the fans grill covers on. The main reason of doing this is not only to get access to the parts that need to modify but also because we need to actually turn the fan or round so it will suck air through the filter.

And we can see the fan disassembled. Note the protective cover with the knob for controlling the fans speed.

Here we have our sacrificial fan. To make modifications we need for this fan to hold our carbon filters will cut the three supports holding a fan in the center of the housing.

He we can see the fan cut out of the housing. The space that we’ve just created within the fans housing is now will place the carbon filters into.

Next we will place the housing on the carbon filters and trace the circle that we’re going to cut out. A good tip on this step is that it’s better to cut these circles slightly larger as the carbon filter is somewhat spongy and can fill in the gaps that you may have.

Here I have two circles cut out of the carbon filter. The reason I’m using two filters is I have the space with the thickness of the fan housing and it makes the fume extractor more efficient.

He was taken in place the filters in the fan housing. I used four drops of hot glue to keep the filters in place. If you use hot glue this bond is temporary and you can easily replace the filters in the future.

So now we did this start assembling the filter. Please notice the orientation of the fan on the right as this is the direction that needs to be facing up for assembly to actually pull through the filter.

OK little bit of a baby step. But nonetheless being super clear so that it can be misunderstood. Here we can start to stack the elements of the fan back together. One thing I noticed at this point was that the filter would easily be pulled into the fan over time. The easy solution was to simply is use one of the fan grills to keep the filter in place.

And we can see the Zen grill placed behind the filters housing. Again this is just so that it’s very clear how orientate this.

And here we have the final unit. With the front grill in place and throttle knob sandwiched in place the filter is actually very sturdy.

Here’s another picture with a side view of the fan.

And here we can see the throttle knob clearly mounted as it was originally just on the forward fans housing in place of the original fan.

And one more picture for fun, in this we simply connected the power.

Here I have my fume extractor next to my new favorite soldering iron. This is only an 80 MM fan and Thermaltake makes it 120 MM model as well. I think I’m going to do this project again with the larger fan as well.

His is a quick close above that soldering iron. This is made by purple cows and has to be one of the best soldering irons I have ever used. With multiple the settings and an extremely comfortable grip I’ve enjoyed using this honor and I’m more than anything I’ve picked up online or the overprice electronics store. Its replica products so blatantly but in my opinion it’s a good so check a purplecows.net and look in their geek craft section.

So now to the glamour shots. And we can see the fume extractor doing what it does best extracting fumes.

And yet another picture of the fume extractor in use. I have to be honest, this is one of the easiest project I have done in a while it’s cheap and best of all anyone can do it. And that said don’t underestimate how dangerous the fumes from soldering are. Spend $15-$25 now and protect your health. It’s just not worth taking stupid risks when companies like Thermaltake make something like this so easy to hack together an afternoon.

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I am in many respects the text book example of someone who shouldn’t be successful. I was an outcast in my grade school years, and a poor performer in school, unable to fit the standard mold. Fortunately I found small opportunities that I took advantage of, and coupled with hard work they have guided me to where I am today. I spend my time running several businesses I own, developing new products and sharing what I have accomplished with those that deserve opportunities that they wouldn't get any other way. InventGeek has been a step on a path that has helped bring me success and confidence by the simple act of doing. I encourage our readers to do what they can to better themselves a little each day, because overtime it's amazing what you can do!

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Rex Murphy
    January 4, 2015 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    Good idea! Might want to try more and better carbon, though, as those sheets don’t remove chemical pollutants that well. You can buy bulk industrial carbon at the website above, by the way.

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