Electronics Area Closed for Renovation...


Doc James and I are working on the electronics area.

To facilitate going through all of our electronics, rebuilding shapeoko as a PCB and engraving mill, and make room for some updates:

The electronics area is in stack and sort orientation. I’ll keep everyone updated, but please help me get things started right:

Do not put anything in the electronics area. Do not put things back on shelves. Do not return learn to solder stuff to its old location (somewhere else please). We’re developing new upgraded organization, and don’t need to go through the same shelves we just cleared today…


Awesome work you guys, it is highly appreciated.

I recently visited for the first time last tuesday and met with Doc Willy. A lot of the equipment that is being used and houses in your electronics bay takes up a large portion of your available counterspace... This may be the one of the most desireable spaces on an electronics work bench.

Being that there is a large rack overhead has anyone considered doing any overhead mounting of some of the equipment as this could greatly free up your counterspace. Additionally the lighting would be moved closer to the bench enableing an event better lit enviroment also highly saught after when looking for that that tiny resistor under a magnifying lens.

Just my thoughts


I agree. This is a primary reason that we are starting by clearing the work surface and planning to rebuild carefully.

Moving the lights down may help out a lot, thanks, didn’t think of that. I was going to add under-shelf LED strip lighting as well.

More cleaning has happened. Nothing tossed, only sorted. Lots of scrubbing and vacuuming today.

I left the most useful stuff on the newly clear bench so people can still do stuff electronic-y. However, I cannot find the Weller WES adjustable temp soldering iron. I haven’t seen it since before it went to learn to solder, so if someone finds it, put it there.

Thank you for bearing with me here. This is a big ugly job.

Next up – rails for over-head shelves to hold test equipment so work surface is clear and spacious… Yeah.

How wide is the area where you want to add overhead shelves? I have some metal panels that I used to put together my own shelf system leftover and if they will work dimensionally, I’ll donate them. I think they’re 4’x18" maybe? I’ll measure later tonight / tomorrow unless you already have a plan.

The shelves will be 60" wide. Depth constraints are less restrictive, but 18" is in the right ballpark. If your panels are wide enough, or could be chopped and tacked together, they’d be worthy of consideration.

I’m going to bodge a minimum viable product together this evening, by making mounting rails

with some of my extra angle iron and hanging the existing OSB shelves between them. If this proves to be terrible, we can easily try something else later.

  • Ry

I’m not entirely satisfied with this state of affairs, but one set of rails is temporarily mounted. One of the existing shelves was trimmed to fit and put in place as a height test.

More fine tuning to come. Comments are encouraged.

  • Ry


Looks nice, good work. Where does the fume venting go?

What is the this clean area thing?
I’m confused. :grinning:


Hoping someone else helps figure out / design a reasonable fume venting solution. I feel like others will have better, more economical & effective solutions than I do.


Thank you.



If I were designing such a thing, I’d probably use pieces of PVC (fairly durable/chemical resistant, cut with table saw, jigsaw, etc) to form the “hood”, epoxy to seal the corners and strips of cheap LED strip lights epoxied on to provide ventilation. There is a HVAC-style cage blower sitting in the scrap area. I’d make use of it with a 4" piece of tube feeding the blower. My only “question” would be how/where to vent the van so it would not become a massive air leak to outside.

The attached OpenSCAD sketch illustrates kind of what I’d build, except I screwed up and specified r=4 instead of d=4…

Honestly, I think a couple of cartridge filter + 120mm fan jobs would be more than adequate, but that’s a humble opinion. I can work for 8 hours soldering with one of those without any kind of headaches.


fume hood from PVC.scad (1.16 KB)

Looking at the commercial offerings it seems they concentrate on charcoal filtering, and have little plastic fans. This tells me that the fumes screwing up the fan isn’t a problem.

Therefore I would suggest the following:

  1. Buy/build a converter to attach to the large 8-10" opening already in the window above purgatory. Not sure how large it is, or I’d make a more concrete suggestion, maybe we should check on Tuesday?
    Anyway, something like this:

  2. Shrink that down to 4", and attach this to the outlet:

  3. Run the duct down the wall to the soldering stations, and then across the back of the pallet racks.
    You’ll probably need 2-3 of these:
    ($5) per
    And an elbow:

  4. At each soldering station, install a T-section, one per station
    ($5) per

  5. Attach a 4" flexy hose:

You’ll also need a switch, box, and some electrical lines.

So for 3 stations, that comes to ~$90 or so. You can scale this up a bit if you’ve got the budget, to 6 or 8" which will increase the air flow a ton. If you do that, I’d just have a converter off the T-section. Unfortunately that will probably double the price, but it will also double the air flow. $4 pulls ~100 cfm, 6" ~220, 8" ~420

Just as a reminder, we do have an operable 60cm^3 3D printer. I printed a fume extractor for use with a charcoal filter and 120mm fan a couple years back. This may not be faster than bodging prefab parts together, but it certainly was more fun.

The fan vanished from the bench at some point, but I still have the remainder of a pack of those filters around somewhere. While I’m not volunteering to take this project on completely, I’d be willing to help wrangle the printer.

  • Ry

With a tip of the top hat to Greg for assembly line assistance on Friday, there are now five pairs of mounting rails available on the electronics bench. This should be sufficient for our immediate shelving needs. They have not been mounted for lack of nuts and bolts.

On that topic…

Does anyone have a handful (20) of 1/2 inch nuts and bolts lying around? These could be as short as 5/8 in, though longer is certainly not a problem. I dislike paying big box store prices for small quantities, and I think we’d all like to see the electronics area move forward faster than ground freight.

  • Ry

I brought in a fine personal charcoal filter-fan setup (good CFM too). It was largely unused, and now I’ve taken it home.

The issue that makes me think charcoal only is insufficient here is etching. In my process, despite having a mill, etching is invaluable. The fumes from metal etching are not terribly friendly.

Also, hive is dirty and dusty. If we can keep dust from settling on 0204 parts that would be nice. The electronics bench location between sawdust central and server exaust fans is pretty much making a vortex of crappy air.

But yes, I have built great charcoal filters for all manner of things. It’s a fine plan for simply soldering fumes. FYI, the most impressive designs are found in pothead magazines and internet resources… I must give it to the cannabis crowd for having ingenious solutions to elegantly design air filtration and bongs from almost anything.

Plan C would be more like light welding fume unit. Rather than a dinky carbon mesh, if you use canisters (2 liter soda bottles work) with a greater quantity of activated charcoal media (fish tank supply & a little grinding) and hepa filter – it works quite well. A little dash of kitty litter and a scoop of baking soda is advisable too. Again, refer to “high times” rather than hackaday.

If we find a really good fan, maybe these would reduce the impact of poor personal hygiene incidents if left cycling for a while.

Yes Dave, I’m aware of the open-to-the-outside issue. The exaust is louvred, and is not sealed tight even now. Also, Hive13 is not exactly a well sealed space regardless.

I’m open to any and all. Let’s get the area set up first though and see if the budget decides for us…


5 gallon buckets with activated charcoal worked wonders for me during my cannibis days, along with enough blower to pull solid circulation. You’re using Ferric Chloride for etching, right? I was going to try to figure out a little more precisely WHAT kind of vile nastyness we’re going to be dealing with in order to narrow this filtration question a bit.

  • Cupric Chloride for copper clad PCB (way less awful than Ferric Chloride and better) – HCl fumes are not as bad as ferric solutions, but apt to react with metals over time. Can rust steel eventually.

  • Sodium sulfate for aluminum to make stencils, etc – never use FeCl or Cupric Cl or HCl with aluminum unless you enjoy AlCl3 which is classified as a neurotoxin. Also lots of heat, hydrogen gas, and some chlorine gas. It’s generally not recognized as toxic by the hobbies when they do try this (low exposure). However, that’s the problem…

  • Sodium Bisulphate. General purpose mordent. Removes corrosion, oxidation, etc. Generally I use a little with the Sodium Sulphate so there is a week acid to speed things up and keep the solution from exhausting.

None of the right chemicals are horrible really. Category III (minor irritant). Ventilation and air flow is best, but no need for a lab hood. The biggest problem is usually rusting of adjacent steel tools (I had some screwdrivers on pegboard above a tank once). Frankly, acetone, other solvents, weld fumes, degreasers we use now are nastier when inhaled. I just want to take the extra step to make hive a little healthier.

Certainly could help with fluxes, acetone, etc as well.


I have some free time the next couple days!

I would like to spend some of that time to help restore the electronics area to its former glory. Sadly I started coming after the former glory renovations had began. Could I get some ideas of what we are all wanting things to look like?
Things we need done... or maybe if someone has some free time maybe even assist or give some general direction on where we want to go.

I'd just hate to go down to the hive and start organizing things in a way that seemed logical to me but didnt work for everyone else.


Completing fabrication of the shelves is probably the next step on the critical path. I started working on this on Friday, but ran into the noise curfew and had to stop. I had intended on making simple OSB platforms with reinforcing plywood ribs, thinner but similar in style to the existing shelves.

I will probably return later this weekend to finish, but the wood and rails are lying out if anyone wanted to get a start.

  • Ry