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#122126
With the increase of the number of boards I make these days I really need to take H&S a bit more serious and get a proper extractor installed. I have a workroom with a 3 meter table 60cm deep with my tools and the likes on and would like to install a fume extractor.

Anyone know of any nice small desktop sized ones and where to buy in the UK?
#122136
angelsix,

There are several things you'll need to determine before anyone can provide specific guidance, including;
1) For how much of the ~2 square meter area are you looking to provide fume extraction?

2) How much convenience are you willing to give up for protection from the fumes? At one extreme, there's your present practice. At the other extreme, you could work in a glove box.

3) What do you mean by "fume extraction"?
a) What are the size and composition of the particles?
b) From where are they emitted?
c) What, if any initial velocity do they have?
d) Are they mixed with a gas that's of different density than the room air? (The difference in density can be due to any of several factors, including chemical composition and temperature.)
e) With what efficiency do you need to extract the fumes?

4) In which direction do you want the capturing airflow? The obvious choices are upward, rearward, and downward.

5) To where do you want to extract the fumes? For example, do you want to filter the fumes from the air and return the air to the room? Do you want to exhaust the air with the fumes to the outside? Each approach has advantages, disadvantages, costs, and regulatory concerns.

If you provide some answers, I'll try to be helpful.

Eric
#122167
Metcal sells some desktop fume extractors. The BVX-100 and BVX-200. They're available with either a carbon filter or HEPA filter. I've actually used the BVX-100 and it seemed like a nice unit. Very convenient and low cost, but not being a fume extraction expert I don't know how they compare to more expensive systems.

I purchased mine through Techni-Tool here in the US.
#122267
take an old pair of your wife/girlfriend/mothers pantyhose and put it over a piece of PVC pipe. Fill the pipe with carbon pellets then wrap the pantyhose such to close off the open end. Attach a muffin fan (PC Case fan) to one of the ends end blowing into the tube. Mount as you see fit over your soldering station. The carbon pellets will adsorb VOCs and smells. You can buy carbon pellets on ebay for pretty cheap. A pound of the stuff should be enough for 2 filter changes. On initial start up do it outside to allow for dusting. Once it's ran for a few minutes it will stop dusting. the black dust is a result of shipping.
#122307
Thanks for all the feedback.

Basically I am in the process of finishing my extension workroom that is 3.6 meters long by 1.5m width, so I have a 60cm worktop 3.6m long with a 2.5m roof. All simple single layer brick on the outside of the building so easy to mount things to walls, roof, outside, inside etc...

The desk will be lined with etching tank, pillar drill, shears, my own made PCB worktop with 2 soldering irons, hot air gun etc... so really the only area that needs extraction is the small 40cm area I will solder in.

I use liquid flux, melt plastic PVC insulation off 30awg wire (so perhaps some toxins in that?), I sometimes use leaded solder too, and that is about all I can think that causes fumes. My main concern is the flux and lead even though I try not to use leaded it is so much more pleasuable to work with when no regulations/standards have to be met.

I like the idea of the attachment to the soldering iron but just wondering with it being so small how useful it actually is.

The BVX-100 looks ideal for what I need and sounds like it does a good job - after all the last thing I want is something that does half a job, then I get to 30 and find out I have done some long term health damage from toxin ingestion! It seems a little pricey from Farnell / Newark at £320 + VAT but if it does the job it is worth it. I may even add the solder tip extrator too the soldering iron too as they are only £24 extra.

Any other suggestions before I make a decision?
#122323
Have you considered switching to a different solder?

It's rosin based fluxes that give off the nasty, acidic fumes that cause sensitization and respiratory problems, and which you really don't want to be breathing. Modern fluxes are much less bad, and unless you're soldering very regularly (like, on a production line), you may not need fume extraction at all.
#122524
I use a very fine leaded solder most of the time, and use liquid flux. The fumes in general are rather a lot even when just tinning the iron with the solder - when combined with liquid flux it is double that. I have changed to no-clean gel flux to see if that helps, and may consider changing solder too, but even with that would I not need ventilation?

I solder about 6 boards a day on average at the moment as of a month ago hence why I am getting a bit more serious about the fumes.

I tend to find that I started out with lead free and it just doesnt flow as well, especially for SMD stuff - so I changed to leaded and it was a dream to work with and that remained my preference and had no real urge to change. Do you guys have any similar experience and perhaps tips for improving the lead-free solder experience?
#122541
There are several different lead-free formulations. Some melt at a slightly lower temperature but have all the flow characteristics of toothpaste. I prefer others which require a bit more heat but which do flow much more like tin-lead. But none of them are quite as nice to work with as tin-lead solder, which of course is why we used it in the first place.

If you're soldering a lot of boards then nobody is going to suggest - especially on a public forum - that you shouldn't have good ventilation. But the manufacturers of the solder and flux you're using should have H&S data sheets that tell you definitively what's in them and what precautions are actually required. I'd definitely speak to them first.
#122592
AndyC_772 wrote:There are several different lead-free formulations. Some melt at a slightly lower temperature but have all the flow characteristics of toothpaste. I prefer others which require a bit more heat but which do flow much more like tin-lead. But none of them are quite as nice to work with as tin-lead solder, which of course is why we used it in the first place.

If you're soldering a lot of boards then nobody is going to suggest - especially on a public forum - that you shouldn't have good ventilation. But the manufacturers of the solder and flux you're using should have H&S data sheets that tell you definitively what's in them and what precautions are actually required. I'd definitely speak to them first.
If you have a room with good ventillation already, A plain vanilla muffin fan to create air flow away from you will help immensely. The carbon filters are great, but sometimes they get neglected until they look like a science experiment themselves. I keep a nice exhaust fan powered up in my solder room, and have a small fan pulling the air away from me. Not the best setup, but far better than looking like an Amsterdam Coffee shop at rush hour...
#122725
Thanks for the replies. I have finished my workroom now and got my soldering stuff in there.

Changed to No-Clean gel flux from liquid flux and it has cut down the fumes a lot - no idea if it is any better on toxins though (http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/811068.pdf)

Also, got some lead-free 0.2mm solder - still doesn't flow as nice but I now use that when I don't need good flow such as basic 0603 pads or the likes, then switch to the leaded just for QFPs, TSSOPs etc...

Got 3 small fume extractors that I place around the work area that all have carbon filters on them and didn't cost much at all so trialing them to see if they are any use before spending £100s on a more conventional setup.

Thanks for all the help.