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Modding So I made a steampunk soldering station...

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Nexxo, 7 Jan 2018.

  1. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    18" Bending brake. <-- cheapest price for this basic model, which is the one I have. They also come in 40" width if you want to be able to make whole PC cases.

    Make sure you have plenty of C-clamps: At least two 3" ones to affix the brake to the worktop (unless you have enough space to bolt it down permanently), and four 2" clamps to keep the top bar pressed down on the work piece. You can pick those up dirt cheap in sets at Wilko or any place like that.

    You also need an engineer's square or combination square to make sure that the sheet you wish to bend is aligned, well, square.

    I score the sheet along the line I wish to fold it for a sharper grease. I do this with a 90° angle countersink drill used as a milling bit, in this case cutting a groove to a depth of 0.5mm in the 1.5mm brass sheet.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2018
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  2. CrapBag

    CrapBag Well-Known Member

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    It was a genuine question which you didn't really answer.

    I just wanted to know if it performs better at soldering tasks.

    It's a very cool project, the workman ship is great and it's very interesting but I was just wondering if it gave practical benefits too.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2018
  3. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    Soz. :) My experience is limited to straightforward 25W mains plug irons, but I find that those tend to cool down when soldering and then need time to get back up to temperature before I can do the next join. Hotter 40W irons tend to be too big for fine work. So I figured that a station would give me better temperature control and maintenance while still giving me a light and compact iron to work with.

    I don't think it will necessarily perform better than an off-the-shelf good quality station, although when adding up material costs it certainly is cheaper than, say, a comparable Antex 690SD50 (of which it borrows the TC50 iron). The designer said that it also is twice as fast to get up to temperature than the Antex, and samples temperature much more frequently for better temperature maintenance. He offered the circuit design to Antex, but they were not interested...

    What was the clincher for me was the display indicating both current and set temperature, and the simple temperature dial rather than up/down button controls. The latter is of little consequence in practical use, I'm sure, but I'm a bit OCD about ergonomic controls.

    Of course I didn't need to go through all the effort of steampunking it, but where's the fun if I just drop it in a plastic box? Modder's gotta mod. And it is good practice for developing my l33t metalwork skillz.
     
  4. MLyons

    MLyons Half dev, Half doge. Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Very cool mod.
     
  5. CrapBag

    CrapBag Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good, I hadn't even given it any thought that my iron on my solder station might cool as I'm using it thus needing a small amount of time to get back up to temperature.

    I've only done small jobs with it so far so probably wouldn't have noticed it if it did.

    It certainly looks the part and I'm surprised antex weren't interested in the guys design as it seems spot on.
     
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  6. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    It is a lot less complicated too. Teardown videos of the previous digital model Antex station 690SD reveals a crapload of CMOS logic gate chips where a single PIC would have done. I also like the fact that it has a toroid transformer.

    The design is from 1997 so I had to hunt for a few obscure parts that are out of production now, like the BC213L transistor, but the rest can be substituted by current alternatives: IC4, an OP-07CNB can be substituted with the more common OP-07CPZ, and IC6, a zero-crossing optocoupler can be an MOC3401. Part L1, a 3A axial suppression choke can be anything from 6uH to 10uH in value.

    Also keep in mind that the colour codes of the toroid transformer in the article will not necessarily correspond with those of the toroid transformer you buy; they vary between brands. Study the accompanying spec sheet carefully.
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2018
  7. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    I keep coming back to ogle this, and I've decided that mine will be engraved...That is should I ever get around to building one, so I must ask...have you considered it?
    I just imagine olde-style numbers, or a griffon, or some-such equally steampunk-y would give it that little bit extra *yard whistle*
     
  8. adidan

    adidan Avatar is back out of season.

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    Nah to go steampunk you need a miniature coal fired chimney stack :)

    Oh and a tophat. And a monocle.
     
  9. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    I have, but I have neither engraving tools nor the skills (yet). It's on my list to learn though. :)
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2018
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    Next: the stand for the soldering iron. Usually they are some sort of spring contraption to stick the iron in. I never understood the logic, as it basically acts as a heat sink which cools the iron down --which is not what you want.

    I was thinking instead of some sort of adjustable cradle which prevents the tip of the iron of making contact with anything, but makes for a safe place to put the iron and also makes it easy to park and pick up again.

    So here the base for the stand (already milled when I did the base for the station) and the brass bar which I will use:

    [​IMG]

    And more turning and tapping of some 15mm brass round bar, to an M6 thread:

    [​IMG]

    And the shaping of the profile. This involves a groove cutter and various shape cutting tools, including a 6mm round bit, and some freestyling with flat and half round metal files, b@stard cut (yes, that is a legitimate engineering term) followed by no. 2 Swiss cut. When cutting, I always work in short sections, staying close to the chuck for stability and to prevent chatter, and gradually moving the work piece along from left to right.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And the result so far:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, the cradle...
     
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2018
  11. adidan

    adidan Avatar is back out of season.

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    Appreciating the craftsmanship here.

    Oddly enough this has got me browsing houses for sale so we can sell up and find somewhere with room for those workbenches :)
     
  12. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    It's soo pretty. Too pretty in fact. You had better get that cradle installed soon; It looks like a Victorian hysteria-reduction device :naughty:
     
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  13. adidan

    adidan Avatar is back out of season.

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    Now this is a lovely looking thing but will it affect how you use it? I mean I wouldn't want it to get dirty. :)
     
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  14. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    Hmmm... I wonder if there's a market for those. Something with nice burl wood and brass accents...

    Clean and wholesome. Us modders are clean and wholesome... :worried:
     
  15. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    He pondered...on the internet.

    I just realised I've messed up my ability to rein it in and genuinely compliment you on the workmanship. "Seriously though, it's very sexy" still makes me sound like a sexual degenerate despite the "Seriously" part. :grr:
     
  16. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    Yeah, the answer was kind of staring me in the face there, wasn't it? :duh: Especially as I know for a fact don't ask me how that the idea is not new...
     
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2018
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  17. daniduarte

    daniduarte New Member

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    Wow... Nice :jawdrop:
     
  18. Seananigans

    Seananigans New Member

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    Very nice work! That looks amazing, you did a great job with the metal work. Very impressed!
     
  19. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Missed that you were doing a holder. :( The freehand work came out awesome.
    -It occurred to me that solder loves to stick to brass. :worried:
     
  20. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    Yup. Slowly getting there... There have been many other things claiming my time. First, rounding a 10mm square bar. This is always tricky, as you can easily break a cutting tool.

    [​IMG]

    Next, a chunk of brass to make one of the brackets:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the milling, it is a lot of handwork with metal files:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And that's where we are at the moment...
     

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