Tool Tip: Cleaning A Soldering Iron Tip

Still working on the electronics for the 3d printer, my overdue thing a week, so posting another tip I’ve just discovered regarding cleaning a soldering iron tip quickly.  Simply remove the tip, place it very carefully in the chuck of a cordless drill and spin it against some sandpaper.  I’ve only a cheap iron so no qualms over doing this, for fancier irons you may want to think twice.

There may be good reasons for this being a bad idea and if so feel free to get in touch, until then it seems to work a treat!

Cleaning a soldering iron tip using a cordless drill and some sandpaper.
Cleaning a soldering iron tip using a cordless drill and some sandpaper.

Hope this helps and that I’ve the damn electronics finished soon!

Desk Build; Path of Least Resistance

For the workspace I’m building I’m combining a set of shelves and a folding desk, as if a set of Hungarian Shelves mated with a writing bureau.  I recently build a set of those shelves for the back of my room so these should match nicely.

284164_10150242651463096_517613095_7464576_3446591_n[1]Those shelves (left) were made of two sheets of MDF from B&Q, a bargain at £36 for both as the price included cutting!  I’ve gone back to them for the same reason but for this project set myself the challenge of using only one sheet.  There should be enough spares left over from both projects to make a TV stand too but that’s a project for a later date.

These are the before and after pictures of the MDF sheet, it was about 5 minutes work for the fellow at B&Q and the cuts are square as can be, a lot quicker and tidier than I could have managed to boot!


shelf before
2440x1220x18 MDF – Before

shelf after
Stack of shelves, uprights and a desktop

One word of warning, the blade their saw uses is 3mm so factor this in!  The last shelf ended up being over an inch shorter after the others but this could work well, I’ll use it as the shelf the desk hinges off and it can act as a conduit for cables.

As with most plans, they are subject to change, I got lucky this time but hopefully someone else will learn from my experience.  Hopefully I’ll get a cracking peice of furniture out of this for only £16 and some elbow grease.



I’m still getting to grips with CAD, I’ve not really used it since school, and I’ve always preffered jotting things down on paper.  At the minute it’s quicker and sketching ideas down on paper seems to make things more real to me.  Diffcult to describe but true.

Today I needed some graph paper to draw a quick plan of the required cut for the desk project, B&Q can do the heavy lifting this way, but with the prolification of spreadsheets such paper isn’t easy to come by.  Unless you have a printer that is…

I came across this wonderful site that allows you to generate paper to your specifications, including everything from engineers paper to music score sheet and guitar tab.  Put in what you want and it spits out a PDF.  Very useful for when you need a couple of sheets of something rather than a whole notepad!


Act 1: Wherein the Author Discusses Workspaces

Be it a desk, workbench or even the humble table; a workspace is an important place for any aspiring maker. It could be in a shed as is traditional for British inventors, a bedroom, an office or even rubbing shoulders in your local coffee shop.  It is therefore fitting that with the rebirth of my blog into a more structured and regular part of my life my first project will be the creation of my new workspace.

An Englishman’s home may be his castle but a makers home is their workshop.

I live in a one bedroom flat so space is at a premium, I’ve a living room that has to wear many hats so having a permanent space to be creative is a must and something I’ve lacked thus far.  My plan is to build a set of shelves on one of the walls with a folding desk attached below.  Hopefully it will be simple but effective, it should prove fun to make and most importantly will give me a corner of my flat in which to tinker.

This won’t be a carpenters blog however as my interests are in programming, electronics, 3d printing, gaming, technology in general and pretty much anything shiny that beeps.  I’ve experience with Arduino, Netduino, the recently announced .NET Gadgeteer and more Microsoft developer technologies than I can remember.

More posts should be coming over the coming week, I should be getting the wood for the desk tomorrow and the building can begin in earnest.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your Dremels!