Poor man’s fume extraction system for the desperate

Recently we did quite a bit of soldering at work and soon the fumes were getting a little too unbearable. So I dug out a small blower fan and some carbon filters from a to-be-sorted pile of junk next to my desk at home and brought it to the office, where I improvised this:

The whole thing is really crude but it really helps! No more holding my breath and no more smoke getting onto my lips (depends on the microclimate of the office). I’ve cut a bit of that carbon-impregnated foam and stuck it to the exhaust of the blower for a filter, but I’m not sure how effective this has been in getting rid of the odour and trapping the fume particles though; The blower could simply be displacing and diffusing the fumes instead of doing any real filtering.

Already there are plans for a more permanent soldering fume extraction system…but materials are hard to find…

Incidentally, this blower was originally intended for a soldering fume extraction system of a different kind. I had wanted to suck away the fumes from near the tip of the soldering iron and through a tube to a filter unit where the blower and filter would be located (thus emulating some of the higher-end commercial products available from manufacturers like Weller). That didn’t work well, since the blower simply couldn’t provide enough suction, despite my taking care to choose the one with the highest static pressure I could find. Still, is the sort of fume extraction system I would have preferred. Maybe I will build it next time, when I get something more powerful, like a handheld vacuum cleaner.

For now though, the crude improv will have to do.

UPDATE: When it finally occurred to me that I should check the underside of that carbon foam filter, I realised that the foam actually seems to be doing its job!


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