10 February 2015

New toys....

Last week I decided to get a new toy tool.  As my business has grown, the amount of time I'm spending soldering has increased.  Apart from a few obvious things that I buy in I do pretty much make everything myself so I spend a large portion of my week soldering.

Although I already had a fairly sophisticated DIY solution for extracting the solder fumes it was becoming more obvious that it wasn't quite doing it's job.  That and the horrible weather recently, which for the North West means wet and windy, made having a hose stuck out the window less than ideal.

The old DIY enclosure
Although I blocked off the window to reduce cold air coming in it was still cold and all this windy weather the last few months has meant that quite often, wind was blowing back down my extraction pipe.  Not ideal!

My office always had a bit of an electrical smell, even after having the window open at the end of the day.

So, after a bit of research and a few e-mails back and forth with an incredible helpful chap at Vodex I chose my solution.  It arrived in a fairly big box but the unit itself is pretty compact, easily fitting under my workbench.

So, what did I buy?

The extraction arm & nozzle

New vacuum extractor

Well, it's a proper fume extractor with a very good HEPA filter system that sucks all the fume down the pipe and then cleans it to 99.97% before blowing it back into the room.  The HEPA filter fills half the box with the other half being the fan.  The nozzle is much like a hoover and it certainly sucks your hand if you get too close.

I must say I'm very pleased.  Having used it for a week now it seems to be doing what it should and my office no longer smells.  It's a slightly different way of working as you have to make sure the nozzle is correctly positioned to capture the fume but I generally work in the same area using my 'third hand' tool so this is pretty easy to do and I now vary rarely smell the solder which means it is all being sucked away.  It's also given me a lot more space on my work surface and once I tidy up a bit it'll be even better!

I couldn't recommend the guys at Vodex highly enough.  The customer service was excellent and meant I didn't end up buying the wrong tool, which is quite easy to do.