It's unfair that the entry cost to protecting your lungs as a home solderer is > $500, or you're told "just use a fan and open a window". I work in a basement, and sometimes solder for long periods. Flux vapors don't just go away because you blew them with a fan, they need to be captured.
Commercial fume extractor units are great, but prohibitively expensive. This project does not intend to replace a unit designed to run 9-5 year round, this is the "good enough" option for the hobbyist solderer that wants to keep their lungs free of flux.
I've since had a chance to look inside some commercial units, and I think I've cracked the code as to why the V1 design has less airflow than I'd expect. It seems the trick to getting a high volume/low pressure flow is making the surface area of the filter as large as possible. On paper I began with a box design but I found it kinda tedious to design, especially around different fans/filters and the ability to remove the filter while remaining relatively airtight.
The solution, I think, is to use a filter like those seen in old car air intakes: a long/wide cylinder with the filter media wrapped around it. This will hopefully allow for much higher airflow while still keeping the same form factor and being easily constructed from plumbing pipe.
Hopefully will be able to update again soon, I'm re-orienting the lab which gives me a good opportunity to uninstall V1 and work on it.
I made this a few months back in a mad rush, typical. It's catered toward the parts I had lying around, and the time available. Now my goal is to slowly replace 3D printed functionality with "universal" parts that could be found locally. I think inevitably this project will contain some 3D printed parts, but the goal is to reduce their size and importance, and also to make them fully open source. I will also aim to make the parts, especially the filter media, as standard as possible, to avoid sourcing difficulties for others.
By the end of the project (if there is one) I'd like to have a design which is:
- Easily produced. No special tools or hardware (other than printed parts) required.
- Cheap. Less than $100 USD is a fair price, considering the "desk fan" fume extractors can be up to $80
- Effective. The final stage will be to perform some tests on the design to make sure that it can effectively filter rosin flux smoke/particulate, at least as well as the lower end commercial units.