Monday, January 6, 2014

Making Better than Just Do - Do it Yourself

I'd really like to buy one of Lexi Erickson's soldering stations.  They look pretty indestructible and I loved the idea of the turntable top.  You can not believe how much easier it makes things to solder when you can turn the piece, especially if you are soldering around a large joint.  Once the initial heat is applied the flux works like a glue and you can move that turntable around to make sure you've got heat applied everywhere and check to make sure the bezel is down.  That's near to impossible unless you are working on a turntable.  Components will shift and otherwise  make your life miserable after you've set them up if you don't have one. 

I just can not afford one of those stations at the moment.  I'm also not sure I could deal with feeling confined to an area and the soldering station has a lip on it - its a slob kind of thing but I tend to put certain things way out to the left or right.  You know - soldering pick on the left/ magnetic torch catch to the right....and so on.  Maybe I'm just to old to change certain habits but that turntable was too nifty to do without.

Here is my solution to the dilemma.  I went to the place with the helpful hardware people (ACE) and bought a 4" ball bearing turntable.  They had them in much larger sizes but I didn't really need anything larger.  It's jewelry - how big do you need? 

4" turntable (a whooping $5.00) and a 6" square solderite pad (well used!)

I thought I better include this picture because it has the name of the turntable.  It sounds like from Google it's a very common kind.

And here is the final product.  Both the solderite pad and the 3/4" pine board are attached with screws.  It turns like a champ and is nice and steady, level, heavy, and it rolls easily.  I soldered 3 more bezels on it today.  I even laid some heavy duty mesh wire on top of it from my tripod when I used some reflected heat to heat the back plate behind a bezel without having to use the tripod.  I can move it out of the way when I don't need it - let's hear it for portable!

Hurrah for DIY but it sure doesn't mean I won't lust after whatever new gadget Ms. Erickson comes up with...she's the bomb.

1 comment:

Lela said...

Ok, now you've done it..I've gotta make one of these. I always thought a turn table would be great - but just hadn't looked into getting one.

While Lexi's does look good, I like the idea of no lip too.

Thank you, oh great teacher!