Soldering Station for Milwaukee M18 Batteries

This is a 3D printed case designed to hold a Hakko T12 digital soldering iron controller board and click on to a M18 battery

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I recently needed a new portable soldering iron and found these inexpensive digital soldering irons on Amazon. For around $20 you get a controller board a Hakko wand, bit and associated cables and connectors. That is a heck of a deal. As I happen to be "Red" tool fan, and have a number of M18 batteries it was obvious that I needed to create a case to use the new controller with the batteries. After drawing up the battery for reference, I played with the design until I had something that, at least to me, looked like it belonged in the M18 tool lineup.

All the design files in FreeCAD, Step, and STL formats are available on GrabCAD, see the link below on the left.

Also a separate archive of the STL files is in the files section of this project.

If you want to make the simplest bent wire soldering iron holder for these soldering stations checkout one of my other projects

The first part of the project was to draw up an accurate 3D model of a M18 battery. So with calipers in hand I measured a battery and drew it up in FreeCAD.

Then then I need a model of the controller board so more measuring and reference photo digitizing and a FreeCAD model was born.

What followed was multiple iterations of how I could package the controller and mount it to a battery. I went trough many versions but this is what I settled on.

I think that the look and feel is quite good and could be a product that belongs in the M18 tool family.

I included a recessed toggle switch in the top so that it can be easily turned on and off, and not be accidentally switched on.

To connect to the battery terminals, I designed a mount that clicks onto the battery and uses male blade stile lugs and ring terminals soldered to a solid copper wire. The lug assemblies are clamped in place by the two piece bottom of the case.

After I had the basic design done I refined it a little to have an attached holder for the soldering wand, and a swing out hook for holding a roll of solder.

My first stab a the holder design was the standard coiled wire holder you find on a lot of soldering stations. I even printed a mandrel to wind the coil on, but after figuring out the the wire from a coat hanger wasn't long enough, I redesigned the holder to use a length of Phenolic tube. The Phenolic tube seems to heat resistant enough to get the job done, and I only needed to wind a short coil to attache the holder to the case.When I was happy with the design, the build processed started. As with many designs it took me w few iterations to refine the design and fix a few design over sights.Getting a clean print for the top proved to be difficult with the shallow angel that I designed in that created over hangs that proved difficult to support. I ended up creating my own supports in FreeCAD with first a version that allowed bridging and could be trimmed off the finished print. Next I tried a shelf method the could be positioned to create the required gap between shelf and part.Both methods worked out well enough.
Using the spade terminal assembly to tap into the battery work perfectly the very first time and was most gratifying.

Though out the design I used heat set brass M3 threaded inserts and M3 hardware to screw the various parts together. That might have been because I figured that I would have to assemble and disassemble the case multiple times.
On a suggestion from a friend I add a version of the case top the can be customizable with an inset logo that can be back filled with paint post printing.

Controller Case STL

All the STL files need to print your own M18 soldering station case.

x-zip-compressed - 5.43 MB - 04/26/2023 at 14:09


  • Some People Prefer Yellow

    wooddragon4805/09/2023 at 02:09 0 comments

    Yes I do like "Red" tools, but some of my mates prefer "Yellow" tools, and even one or two even seem to prefer those lime "Green" tools... so they have prevailed on me to create a version of my battery powered soldering station for both Dewalt and Ryobi battery packs.

    As you might be able to tell I've been playing around with using Blender to create more realistic renderings.

    I've added links to the GrabCAD models so you can get the Step, STL, and FreeCAD files for the new versions of the soldering station.

  • Fixes/Updates

    wooddragon4804/26/2023 at 14:07 0 comments

    Just Updated the files on GrabCAD to include a few fixes to make the case fit together better and to allow the assembly to "click" on to the battery better.

    Also added a zip file of all the STL files to this project if you don't want to get all the files from the GrabCAD link.

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