How to Make a Solder Fume Extractor (hint: using parts you already have)

The standard electronics solder is a mix of tin and lead. As you may imagine it is not healthy to breathe the fumes coming out it. The solder spool may even contain a disclaimer about that, such as the one below:

“Disclaimer: California residents: WARNING: This product contains, or when used for soldering and similar applications produces, chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm).”

Given that recommendation I created this quick an easy tutorial on how to create a simple fumes exhaust for electronics soldering. Check it out…

This How-To is a follow-up to the Safety & DIY Electronics topic I presented have at an Arduino Group Meeting (check it out)


Solder Fume Extractor DIY

Step 1 – get a fan from old computer

Find an old PC you can pull out a fan. Shown below is an 80mm fan( preferred). A 60mm fan should also work fine.


80mm standard computer fan

Step 2: find a power adapter

Even though most likely the fan is 12v; if all you can find is a 9v such as the one below that should be enough. Just realize fan will not be at its top speed.

Power adapter specs: at least 9V and 100ma (amperage varied depending the fan you use. 100ma should cover most fans)


Step 3: measure polarity of adapter

Use multimeter to find out the polarity of the DC adapter. Which is positive and negative. In the image below, ground is the external shell of the connector, and the internal cavity is the positive.



Checking polarity of AC/DC Power Adapter


Step 4. attach wired from power adapter to fan

I’ll leave this step up to you. This is your challenge for this project 🙂

Tip match positive with red; and negative with black

Step 5: test it your new fumes exhaust fan

Point the fan such the fumes go AWAY from you. See arrow on top of fan, indicating air flow direction.


Solder Fume Extractor DIY


Final note/disclaimer: You this method at your own risk. I have no scientific evidence of the efficacy of this method. If possible buy the real exhaust.

Additional Tips about handling solder:

  • Do not eat where you solder. You don’t want to risk ingesting a piece of solder.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soup & water after you’re done soldering.



Q: Do I need a fume extractor with lead-free solder? 

A:The answer is yes. Check out these references on the topic: