Category: Workshop improvements

Storage Boxes Rack and Project Box Cart

For some time I had project boxes and storage boxes loose on the floor. Therefore I decided to build 2 cabinets to solve this problem.

First for the sorter boxes I build a cabinet with drawers on the bottom and on top shelves for the boxes. In the big space I put some old drawers.


For my project boxes I made a cart that sits next to my desk. In this I have 5 project boxes. (I will now try to finish my running projects and then limit to 5 projects at the time.) Next to the project boxes is space for SMD storage containers, These are placed on an angle because the cart would otherwise become too wide. On top there is space for 12 storage boxes for frequently used components and parts (Heatshrink, AMP connectors, ferrules, etc.).

Inrush Current Limiter

The switch that I use to switch off my hobby desk broke again for the second time. The contacts where welded shut. After replacing it again it was time to fix the cause of the issue. To limit the current I used an altered  schematic from CircuitsOnline.

After my incident on my safety transformer project where the resistors burned I did not fully trust this circuit. Therefore I have added a thermal protection that switches the output power off when the resistors get too hot.
I build the circuit in a remote controlled socket enclosure. To mount the parts I used some glue and tyraps.

Soldering Workbench Lighting

In the previous part I described how I made my soldering workbench. The part that was still missing was the lighting. For this I first wanted to buy a standard solution, but could not find anything that was fully to my taste.  So time to make something myself.

To mount the light it was easiest to use the same system as the shelves. I used 2 hooks, shortened them and put an aluminium U channel in between.

In this U channel I placed a LED strip that is connected to my desks 12V power supply.

Soldering Workbench

In my new workshop I needed a workbench. The one from the old shop was wallmount and too small. This gave me 2 options: buy a workbench or build a workbench. After a lot of searching I did not find what I was searching for.  It was either the wrong size, or too expensive or both. So the only option left was to build it myself.

First I made a drawing of how I want to build the frame:

To start the project I harvested the ugly ceiling trees that where in my living room.

I used a table saw to saw of 3 sides of the beams to clean them of glue and make the corners square. This gave me these beams:

To connect them together I used mortise and tenon connections in combination with wood glue.

Test without glue:

After this I could glue them together one section at the time beceause I did not have enough clamps to do more at once.


Section 2:

Section 3:

Section 4:

Test fit without glue of the front part:

Side piece glued:

Complete desk glued up:

Primer painted:

Painted Blue:

Time to make the desktop from MDF, also I installed the racks for the shelves:

Desk in place:

After a few weeks I came across an ad of a free desk frame with steel drawers. I dismantled the drawers and painted them black. These are now installed underneath the desk: (don’t mind the mess, the desk is in use for some time now).

On the next part I will show the LED desk lighting.

Drain pump system

My new workshop is in my basement. For the hand washing / board cleaning “corner” this has the disadvantage that it is below the sewage level. In order to drain the water it needs to be pumped up. I had a few pumps from old washing machines laying around and decided to do some experimentation with this.

To make it easier for the pump (and to spare my back) I made a frame underneath the cabinets to raise the whole thing by 20cm. This way the water needs to be lifted less.

Normally there is a siphon after the drain in the sink, this part I have taken out and brought the pipe directly to the pump.

At the pump side the pipe goes down a bit in order to make the check valve work better (Picture further down on the page). Also because of this the sensor is not mounted at the lowest point. This makes it work better since the pump does not clear all the water from the pipes. The water that does stay in the pipe may false trigger otherwise.

However this means that the pump needs to operate longer when the sensor signal go’s off. Therefore I made a timer box. This was made with a Siemens LOGO The time is settable by a rotary switch. This switch is connected with a few inputs of the LOGO.

The pump:

The timer box:

The program in the LOGO!:

To detect the water in the pipe I used a E2K-L26MC1 capacitive sensor from Omron. This sensor can be clamped around the pipe and does not come into contact with the water.
The sensor cheapest supplier for this sensor,  I found on – Omron Level Sensor E2K-L26MC1

This sensor has an NPN output, while the LOGO is only compatible with PNP output sensors. This I solved by adding a 10K pull-up resistor between out and +24V. After this the input needs to be inverted in the LOGO to work correctly (B17 in the program above).

Picture of the box and sensor installed:


New soldering iron

The past few years I did my soldering with a Aoyue 936 and a Velleman vts25, but the Aoyue was underpowered and the Velleman needed a new tip every few months and isn’t temperature controlled.

So it was time to buy a new one. I decided it would be a Weller WS81. There was an action to get it with a free dry cleaning station, so I got that too.

Wire tugged away.

Updating my network

I was using my network more intensely to transfer files the last weeks. And I got tired of waiting, so it was time to update my network. So I ordered a new switch and router from, and today they arrived :).

My old “fast ethernet” 100Mbit/s equipment:

Linsys WR454GL 4 port router
D-Link DES-1005D 5 port switch

My new “Gigabit” 1000Mbit/s equipment:

Linsys E2000 4 port router

Cisco SD2005-G2 5 port switch

The new gear is working great, the only downside is that you need to install a config program on the pc to config the router. It has a build in web interface, but it doesn’t cover all the settings :s.