Solder Fume Extractor

It has been discussed here before: Solder fumes aren’t the healthiest things to inhale on this planet, som of us even had to stop soldering because of the irritations from it.
Personally i always had a scratchy feeling in my throat and sometimes even had to cough, even in a well ventilated place.
So i gave this cheapo Solder Fumer Extractor from a try

It looks like this one - made in china - isn’t a rip off of a western Design, its constructed by our fellow smart eastern engineers themselves and it looks just like this: Made of dsimple matte painted black metal sheets that are bent and bolted together with cheap self-threading screws. Not a piece of ingenious glory but rugged and functional. Inside its just a standard Computer Fan that sucks the Air thru a Pad with Activated Carbon, the exhaust goes straight upwards. There Pad is held by a simple Grid, on the other side theres another Grid to protect your fingers in the case you stupidly want to grabble the Exhaust while the Fan is running. A nice Switch on the Front that glows when working (in case you are deaf), on the back a 220V Mains Cable is fixed. So far so “good”.

But it works! The Range it effectively extracts is rather limited to about 25-30cm from the intake, but you can see the Solder fumes being attracted and next to nothing appearing to the top. When entering the room (this time not ventilated - is b.f.cold outside) next to none of the typical smell is detectable, so i can attest the Filter Pad to work.

I built an Anushri and a PoliVoks Shruthi the last 2 Evenings (first filter Pad!) and have no scratching in the throat, coughing, no disgusting slimes or whatever, it is as if i soldered outside back in summer.

Conclusion: Buy one! This is Value for Money!

Good idea, I think I’ll get one too. I bought solder with water soluble flux which gives you nice clean PCBs, but smells very very nasty, even compared to normal solder…

thanks for your review. i should get one.

but one should mention the noise… it’s not really a silent modell.

You can anytime get something like This where you could place the Fan itself in another room. Otherwise you have the same problem with every Extractor: you have to move a lot of air, which makes a lot of noise. Its more a physical principle than a problem of the actual technical solution.
Be assured, I know what I’m talking about - i have 3 Laser cutting machines running right now and would like to have it more silent…

You can remove the filter for better airflow. It probably doesn’t do much filtering anyway, so you’d be better off with more range. You only need to get the solder fumes away from you (better in a ventilated room of course). Most PC fans will do the trick.

thats the stunning thing about the Filter - it actually works. The question is how long, but 3 Filters are just 5€…

Apparently, those filters are about the same type as those used in kitchen ventilation systems. So, you can grab some in virtually any mall. It seems quite easy to DIY one of those extractors. I’ll definitively give it a go, especially since I found some working 120mm 220v fans in the thrash of my working place. It’s not going to be silent but who minds.
Using one of the fans without a filter is equivalent to just blowing the fumes with your mouth. It works to some extent but it’s quite useless overall.

The Filters for your Kitchen are just Paper Fleece that are intended to trap the Fat out of the Airflow so it won’t condense in your exhaust tubes and start to rot… the filter used here is different, its an open foam with integrated activated Carbon… more like from a Fishtank.

Thanks for the link. I’ll seriously consider this - not so much because it is likely to make a significant impact on my life expectancy (I’m sure that damage was done playing with chemicals in childhood!) but at least I can set a good example for the next generation.

Consider replacing the fan with a “silent pro computer leet gamer 1337 gank” model - It might require some form of cheap switchmode powersupply(SMPS) though, depending on whether the fan is a true 250v or just a cheap 12v with a SMPS attached :slight_smile:

Is there something wrong with me using a little portable fan to blow the smoke away beside it being loud and cold?

You want it to pull the smoke away from you. Blowing air over your solder joints will potentially ruin them. Plus, if you are working in a small area, all you are doing is just redistributing the fumes. They still are in the air.

A tech at an electronics store said he made one for almost nothing using a computer power fan, cardboard and the silver metal flex tubing used for dryers. He hangs it out his window or you can duct tape it to a square of cardboard to fill a window space. Tin foil the outside to keep off rain. Add a rheostat if you want.

@fcd72: There are many kitchen ventilation systems with activated carbon filters. Usually these are the ones that don’t have exhaust tubes at all.

when i cook such a carbon filter might work for - öhm - the first course. After that it probably will be flushed :wink:

@sealion: that’s what I do :smiley:

Works pretty well. For my first attempt I gaffer-taped the PC fan directly to the end of the flexible tubing but I found that the sucked air was causing a kind of turbulence on the ridges of the inside of the tube so you’d get some slight blow-back. Taping the fan to a cardboard tube first and then taping the other end of the cardboard to the flexi-tube made a massive difference to the fume sucking efficiency.

The cool thing is that they’re virtually silent and I run mine off a 9V battery :slight_smile:

Looks ugly as sin though and I’m sure the neighbour probably thinks I’ve set up a meth lab or something LOL

fcd72 could make commercial cases instead. And a Programmer™. :wink:

I think it can be Euroracked.