Portable Soldering Station in a Toolbox

I spent all summer scratching my head over how to improve the way I store my soldering tools. Getting things set up and put away had always taken a while, and I had settled on essentially a metal bucket for lack of a better system. I had seen Ben Heck’s portable workbench, but it was beyond my needs — not to mention beyond my skills and resources.

About a week ago, a friend told me about this soldering station project by ‘laxap’ and it gave me the Eureka Moment that I needed: put the iron underneath.

Like many of my projects, this one started from a crudely drawn diagram and I changed my mind as I went. I was originally going to copy the “Husky 22 in. Cantilever Plastic Organizer” design, but then it hit me that I could achieve the same result by just making a tiered box that could be securely assembled 2 different ways.

The actual construction is very straightforward: it’s just 2 wooden frames (made of 1×10″ boards on the bottom, 1×4″ boards on the sides, and 1×6″ boards on the ends) that stack. The upper tray has holes that loosely accommodate pegs from the lower tray, and these holes are covered by the boards that form the sides.

Notice that the bottom tray has its “floor” attached a different way than the upper tray — this is a concession so that I don’t have to rip cut any boards to get the tray heights that work for me.

The overall design goal is versatility: store easily, be portable, and be adaptable to a variety of workspaces I may find myself in.

This is how the box would typically be stored.

Changing the position of the top tray, you can still latch it down and have a reasonable work setup without taking anything out of the box. Without the upper tray in the way, the soldering iron can fit in the stand.

To fully spread things out, the two trays are used completely separately.

The bottom tray is fully open in the front, but partially open in the back as well to allow the cord to fit through.

The top tray holds the tools, a rod for spools of wire, and the alligator lead rollup I made.

This is the first toolbox I’ve ever built from scratch, and by far the most satisfying project I’ve done in a while.