cleanroom 26 DIY cleanroom on a budget

When Bill Morris from I Heart Robotics decided he wanted a cleanroom, he did what any self-respecting maker would do — he built one from scratch. I asked him what you could use it for and he said:

…it would definitely make opening hard drives much safer. It could also be really useful for the diybio crowd. I need to use if for opening up laser scanners and cameras and avoid
contaminating the optics. I am also planning on using it for applying touch screen protectors without getting motes of dust caught between them and the screen.

First, he put together a budget lab bench/enclosure from heavy-duty MDF shelving.

cleanroom 11 DIY cleanroom on a budget

Next, he 3D printed some end caps to couple a dust filter to a PC cooling fan (you can download the files here).

cleanroom 16 DIY cleanroom on a budget

cleanroom 17 DIY cleanroom on a budget

He was using his noggin when he thought to install some good lighting in there; nothing’s worse than squinting over your bench trying to see what you’re doing. Finally, he used a shower curtain to close off the front (a temporary solution until he gets something a bit easier to look through).

cleanroom 22 DIY cleanroom on a budget

I used a clear plastic shower curtain to test things, but the shrink film for window insulation might work even better since it will be almost completely transparent. In this design you just reach under the curtain to perform science or extreme disassembly. Blue painters tape seems like a good choice for temporarily sealing large gaps. Remember the clean room does not need to be air tight, it needs to have a positive pressure. So wherever there is a gap the air should be flowing out. If anyone knows any easy ways to test the quality of cleanroom please let me know. So, now that the cleanroom workspace has been built, I wonder what it will be used for?

DIY Cleanroom

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

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