Proteus Solder Station - 80mm/120mm fan

by ProteanMan, published

Proteus Solder Station - 80mm/120mm fan by ProteanMan Oct 11, 2017


Updated to larger arm pieces for stability. STL files from before January 12th 2018 are not available anymore.

Safety Disclaimer:
This does not remove solder fumes from your environment. The purpose is to pull them away from your face. Please use adequate ventilation and/or attach a solder fume filter to the back of the fan. Be safe and think about your lungs.

Click the "Remixes" tab to see other great ideas for this project. If you have your own ideas about what to add you can create Side Stations for both stations. The Left and Right sides have two 4mm holes for you to add anything you want of your own design, most common being a custom solder rod holder. Put your name on your adaptation for credit.

80mm fan size and 120mm fan size. The files will have the size in their title if they are for that specific fan size.

On/Off Switch
You will have to figure out the wiring on your own. There is an On/Off switch location at the top of both stations if you would like to wire that into your fan power supply. Easiest would be to have a power supply that fits your fan's voltage/amperage, then wire the power supply negative to the fan's negative, the power supply positive to either the fans positive or the center terminal of your on/off switch and the fan's positive to the side terminal of your on/off switch.

Use stronger materials such as ABS, PETG, Nylon, or HTPLA for the Ball Joints. This ensures long use and less wear from movement friction.
Ball Joints: There are three options for the Ball/Socket Joints - Standard Fit, Tight Fit, Super Tight Fit. These refer to the distance between the ball and socket. Test out each one to see which is the best for movement vs. stiffness. Stiffer will allow you to hold heavier objects with each arm.
Optional: If the three ball joint options don't work for you then check your horizontal expansion in your slicer to ensure that the arm joints have enough distance between each ball/socket. In Cura it's a setting called Horizontal Expansion - under the Shell settings. A positive number will shrink the shell of your print, a negative will enlarge it. This means that the distance between the ball and socket joints will get larger with a positive setting. If the ball and socket joints are too loose then you can just set a negative number to fix this (start with "-.05"). The Horizontal expansion is in millimeters (mm).

1- Find the parts you need from the files listed. 80mm and 120mm fan sized parts are labeled accordingly.
2 - Print the base station parts before the arms. Assemble the fan and wire it up before printing the arms. This will save you a lot of plastic if you printed an error. Let me know if something doesn't work as listed. Try re-downloading the STL file if something doesn't slice properly.
3 - Print the arm Ball Sockets with 70% infill or higher.
4 - Assemble arms from the Alligator Clip end first. Running a heavy single strand wire down the center hole of each piece. Wrap the wire around the Alligator Clip square end to tie it off, as well as around the 3mm bolts at the Base Stations end of each arm. The heavy gauge single stranded wire will keep the arms stiff and upright with even a heavy load. The wire is not absolutely needed if the ball joints are sturdy, but consider adding the wire if the arms have a hard time holding up heavy objects. 14 gauge or larger is best.
5 - Attache as many arms as desired with a maximum of 6 on the 80mm station and 8 on the 120mm station.
6 - The fan should pull the air away and not blow air towards the arms.
7 - screw/bolt the station to your work area if needed. I find that the station design can hold heavy weights without screwing/bolting it down.
8 - The arms are designed to fit standard or larger Alligator Clips. You can use any clamp that you desire on each arm, or attach something else.

Please share any great images with me and I may add them to this page for others to use as reference.

Any ideas for add-ons please let me know! Other clip types, front tray types, etc.

Overview and Background

A simply yet versatile soldering station.

Lesson Plan and Activity

Build it, use it, have a way better time soldering!

I am a teacher, if you want an actual lesson plan just ask. This doesn't require one since it is a tool to use in schools, work, and home.

Materials Needed

Required Materials to create this station

80mm fan - Voltage is your choice
AC/DC converter that matches your fans voltage. 2amp is probably enough.
Alligator Clips X8

Switch (optional) to turn the fan on and off
Potentiometer (optional) to adjust fan speed

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i think the previous design was way better - no need for wire to keep things stiff.

In what ways was it better? It's great to know what works and what doesn't since this is still not a final product.

I really really liked the tight fit ball and socket. Every one seemed a perfect fit and stayed nice and tight. I was happy to see the remake but after printing 6 ball joints I found them floppy. My Original Prusa Mk2s seems to like tighter tolerances. I like the new look of the thing, though.

I have updated the design to have three options for the ball/socket joints. Each with different distances between them for loose or tight fits.

I understand. Each printer has slightly different tolerances when it comes to joint distance. I wondered if the distance was small enough on the new joints so I'll check that on my end. I did do some test prints and with my printer there was no issue, so I may add another option with tighter fitting joints.

On your end you can check a few things. You probably know about these things so possibly consider if anything has changed since the first time you printed the joints that worked.
1 - Under Extrusion. This could be from many things: gear teeth not gripping hard enough on filament, clogged nozzle, changed slicer settings, changed firmware settings for extruder motor step distance.
2 - Slicer expansion compensation has been increased. Each slicer is different - in Cura it's called horizontal expansion. This compensates for the very small expansion of the plastic after it comes out of the extruder. Setting a negative horizontal expansion should make the joint tighter.

Let me know what you think/find. I'll try to add a tight fitting option in a day or so.

Unfortunately I had no luck with PLA in several tryouts. Breaks while connecting the arm sections (thight and regular ones, too). Any idea how to improve on this while still sticking to PLA?

I use PETG for most things. It's much stronger than PLA and has the same printing qualities.
I designed this for PETG or ABS since they are much stronger. The only option I can see is to increase the size of the arm pieces and the bracket to attach them to the solder station. Just drill new holes where needed to attach the enlarged Ball_Joint_Base to the solder station.

Maybe try using the SCALE function in your slicer to increase the Ball_Joint, Ball_Joint_Base, and Ball_Joint_End-AlligatorClip. Use the same scale factor and they will fit together perfectly. Let me know what scale works best for PLA (1.2, 1.5, etc)? and I'll see about changing the model so that it works with PLA too.

The biggest issue that I found was when anything heavy is attached to the arms then they can't stay in position. So maybe large sized Ball Joints will have more friction to stay in place under heavy load.

Let me know. Thanks!

Try "PLA +" or "PLA Pro". Same temperatures but behaves a lot like ABS.

One thing to keep in mind is that PETG is not necessarily stronger than pla PLA, but it is alot more flexible and wont break under stress (like snapping the balls together) like PLA will. PLA is much more rigid.

Yes you're right. It also has a higher temperature resistance before it becomes malleable. 20+ degrees makes a big difference.

Also a good idea. Thanks!

Hello, I did not find which screws have you used.

M3 (3mm) I'll add that to the description
In the US that is 3/32

Just checked and yes it is already in the description. Most fans use 4mm or even 5mm bolt diameter (3/16 in the US)

Just curious where everyone else is finding the gator clips to fit on the end?

Here's a few ideas:
Electronics Stores, Electrical Suppliers in your area, specialized hardware stores that sell electrical components, Hobby Shops, some Art Stores, Ebay, Amazon, Aliexpress, many other internet sites.

Alligator Clips are just metal clamps that you can solder wires to (not assuming you don't know this). You don't have to use them, it's just that they are small enough to safely clamp on to electrical components for soldering. If you are soldering wires then any clamp will do as long as it is light enough for the arms to hold it up.

Thanks for sharing. An option for 120mm fan would be nice. Less noise and more air movement.

Updated it with a 120mm option. Hope it works out for you!

The fan bolt holes are 105 mm apart. I don't have a 120mm fan with me so I went with schematics from the internet. You can always just drill a new hole if it doesn't work. Let me know if they need to be a different distance apart... etc.

Great idea. I'll make that option available. It will need to be resized for it as well - which will give you another set of arms as well.