Make soldering tools and equipment safely accessible to every corner of your makerspace with a sturdy mobile soldering station!
Building a soldering station begins with constructing a Tool Cart (with longer foot beams) and then using a drill and other basic tools to add storage and work accessories specific to your soldering needs.
Intermediate, mostly because it is time-consuming; first you have to build a cart, and then you have to build very sturdy surfaces and accessory holders onto the cart.
Two people together are all that are needed to build this soldering station.
Pegboard, plywood, and 2×4’s can be cut for you at your local hardware store based on the cut lists below. The rest of the cart comes together with basic hardware and a peg kit.
Three 8-foot 2×4’s
Although the frame of the soldering carts is basically a Tool Cart, the cut list for lumber is a bit different, using 8-foot 2×4’s instead of 6-foot, and with foot beams of 30″ instead of 18″ to allow a larger bin for holding soldering tools. Also note: 2x4s actually measure only 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.
- The two 48″ planks will be called the side posts
- The three 21″ planks will be called the cross beams
- The two 30″ planks will be called the foot boards
Sheet of Peg Board
Pegboard, also known as perforated hardboard, is generally available in two thicknesses: 1/4″ and 1/8″. For this project, make sure that you purchase 1/4″ pegboard; it is much sturdier and fits most standard size pegs. Most hardware stores carry 1/4″ pegboard in a dark brown color and will cut sheets down to size for you according to the cut list shown in the image. We purchased 4×4 sheets in a lighter brown color which blends nicely with the natural wood color of the 2x4s, and cut each sheet in half ourselves using a circular saw.
Sheet of Particle Board
The bin at the bottom of the soldering cart will be built from pieces of particle board that you can get pre-cut at your hardware store or cut yourself, following the cut list. Note: Gloves should be worn when handling particle board, the edges are rough and can splinter when moved.
- The 14″x24″ piece will be called the shelf
- The two 7″x17″ pieces will be called the side panels
- The 4.75″x24″ piece will be called the front panel
- The 13″x24″ piece will be called the bottom panel
- 2 x 5 1/2″ handle sets, with included screws
- 4 x full-locking 3″ swivel caster wheels
- 4 x 3″ deck screws (deck screws have much greater holding power than regular screws)
- 62 x 2″ wood screws (38 for cart + 24 for accessories)
- 16 x 1″ lag screws, 5/16″ diameter (lag screws can bear a lot of weight)
- 6 x 1 1/4″ length, size 8-32 machine screws
- 6 x nuts to match the machine screws (make sure each one fits before leaving the store)
Basic Durahook multi-packs will contain everything that you need for one tool cart. In fact, it will contain more than you need, so you might want to consider buying peg hardware individually. Pro tip: sometimes peg board hooks can pop out when you remove a tool. To eliminate this problem we chose Durahooks, which come with mounting screws to semi-permanently attach each hook. The pegs can still be rearranged when you want, but the screws prevent them from coming off while you are working.
How to Make a Soldering Cart
After making a long-footed Tool Cart, these instructions focus on setting up soldering-specific storage and a sturdy worksurface. We keep an eye on safety throughout these plans, making sure that cords are out of the way and equipment is securely attached, to make a safe mobile soldering environment.
Step 1: Build a Rolling Tool Cart
Build a Tool Cart (without the tools), with one change to match the soldering cart cut list: use longer 30” foot boards along the bottom instead of 18” foot boards. Adjust the tool cart instructions accordingly; for example, when measuring halfway across the foot boards you will have to measure for a distance of 15″ instead of 9″.
Step 2: Place the bottom panel
Lie the 13″x24″ piece of particle board for the bottom panel across the two foot beams on one side of the cart.
Step 3: Measure and mark corner holes
Use a pencil and measuring tape to mark each corner of the bottom panel 2” in from each edge.
Step 4: Pilot and drill corner screws
Select a drill bit to match the width of the shaft of the wood screws, and pilot each of the four marked holes. Then use the drill to drive a wood screw into each of the holes.
Step 5: Place one side panel
Flip the cart on its side and place one of the 7″x17″ side panels on top so that it is flush with the bottom and front edges of the foot beam.
Step 6: Measure and mark side panel holes
Mark three of the four corners of the side panel 1” from each edge, under the corners that lie above the 2×4 beams.
Step 7: Pilot and drill side panel screws
Pilot holes through the 3 marks on the side panel, and then drive wood screws into each of the three holes.
Step 8: Flip and repeat
Turn the cart over to the other side and repeat Steps 4-6 to attach the other 7″x17″ side panel.
Step 9: Mark holes for the front panel
On the side panel facing up, measure and mark the exposed side panel 2 1/2” from the bottom edge, and 1/2” in from the side edge. Along the same side edge, and still 1/2″ in from that edge, make another mark 1″ from the top. These marks will be used to secure one side of the front panel in the next step.
Step 10: Place and secure the front panel
Fit the 4.75″x24″ piece of particle board for the front panel into the space between the two side panels and align with the front edge of the base panel. While holding the front panel firmly in place, drill pilot holes into both marks, and then drive wood screws into the two holes to secure the front panel along one side.
Step 11: Flip and repeat
Turn the cart over to the other side and repeat Steps 8 and 9 to secure the other side of the front panel and complete the bottom compartment of the cart.
Step 12: Measure and mark shelf bracket heights
On the other side of the tool cart: Along the peg board, measure and mark 24” from the top of the cart, on each side.
Step 13: Attach Smart Jars
Above the bottom compartment, attach Smart Jars to hold small hardware and wires. To attach Smart Jars to the peg board, hold the jar case at an angle from the board, insert the top hooks into the desired holes, and then tilt the jar case down until it snaps into the lower holes.
Step 14: Place and level the L-brackets
Hold the 10” side of one of the L-brackets against the peg board so its holes are on either side of one of the 24” marks. Have the second maker hold the other L-bracket the same way on the other side. The holes of the L-brackets should line up with the 2×4 center beam behind the pegboard. Use a level to make sure that the L-brackets are aligned, and then mark an X in the holes of each L-bracket.
Step 15: Pilot and drill the L-bracket screws
Put down the L-brackets and drill pilot holes through the pegboard, through to the center beam, at all four marks. Then re-align the L-brackets drive wood screws into those pilot holes through the brackets to secure them to the pegboard.
Step 16: Mark L-bracket holes under the shelf
Once both brackets are attached, place the piece of 14″x24″ particle board for the top shelf panel on top. Make sure it is flush with both sides of the cart, and its back edge touches the peg board. From underneath the top shelf panel, mark the locations of each of the three holes under the shelf for each L-bracket.
Step 17: Drill holes all the way through the shelf
Remove the top shelf panel from the brackets and lay it upside down with the marks facing up. Make sure the edge where you will be drilling has ample room underneath it, as you will be drilling pilot holes completely through the shelf. Then select a new drill bit with the same thickness as the shaft of the size 8-32 machine screws, and use that bit to drill pilot holes completely through each of the 6 marks on the shelf.
Step 18: Place and drill through the shelf
Place the top shelf panel back on the brackets so that the bracket holes line up with the pilot holes. Then drive the machine screws through each of the pilot holes and down through the L-brackets.
Step 19: Screw on the nuts
Attach a nut to each machine screw underneath the top shelf panel, to securely fasten the shelf to the L-brackets. Tighten each nut completely.
Step 20: Mark power strip holes
Underneath the top shelf, hold the power strip backwards so the mounting holes face out, about 2 rows of holes below the shelf. Mark above each line of the power strip’s mounting holes. These marks should line up with the center beam inside the cart.
Step 21: Pilot and drive screws for the power strip
Using a bit that is sized to match the wood screw shafts, drill pilot holes on the marks, all the way through the peg board and into the center beam. Then drive wood screws into the pilot holes. Only drive the screws in partially, so that about 1/2” sticks out from the surface.
Step 22: Mount the power strip
Position the power strip above the protruding screws so that the mounting holes line up with the screw heads. Then tilt the power strip down so the mounting holes fit over the screw heads and the power strip is securely fastened to the pegboard.
Step 23: Secure the power cord
Place pegs under the shelf where needed to hold the power strip wire to the pegboard.
Step 24: Mark tape cutter holes
Place the tape cutter blade on the top of the cart about 2” from the left shelf-side edge, with the teeth facing the front edge, and use a pencil to mark each hole location.. When sitting at the soldering station, this tape cutter blade will be on the top of the cart and to the right, just above where we will mount a roll of tape.
Step 25: Pilot and drive tape cutter screws
Remove the blade and then use the bit that matches the wood screws to pilot a hole through each mark. Then replace the blade and drive wood screws into each of the two holes.
Step 26: Attach Durahooks with screws
To attach Durahook pegs to the board, insert the bottom tab into the desired hole, and then tilt the peg upwards so the top tab aligns with the top hole. Then use the drill to drive a peg screw through the hole in the tab, securing the peg firmly onto the peg board.
Step 27: Drill hanging holes as needed
Using the largest bit, you can drill holes through some items to enable them to hang from a peg.
Step 28: Install wire bar hardware
Attach three Duraloop pegs to the top of the board on the top shelf side, as shown in the image.
Step 29: Drill wire holes in your spools
Pro Tip: Use the smallest bit to drill holes in the side of plastic wire spools. You can use this hole to keep tails tidy!
Step 30: Place and stock the wire bar
Insert the dowel into the right loop peg from right to left, and then feed the electrical tape, followed by the coated wire, onto the dowel. Then insert the dowel through the middle loop peg, add the remaining spools, and insert the left end of the dowel into the left loop peg.
Stocking a Soldering Station
Here are the tools and equipment that we’ve found the most useful to have on a rolling solder cart, and how we chose to arrange them on the pegboard. When possible we’ve included links for both pro and budget supplies.
Here’s how all our tools and soldering equipment look when stored on the front and back sides of the tool cart. Click the image to zoom in if you want more detail.