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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.

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

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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).

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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


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Comments

  1. jeff-o says:

    This would be great for applying finishes to small woodworking projects; I have a heck of a time keeping dust off.

  2. aiyoung says:

    To test your tidy room, it’d be good to buy a “cheap” particle counter.

    http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&q=particle+counter&price1=&price2=1,000.00&lnk=prsugg&show=dd

    The class of a cleanroom is traditionally classified by the number and size of particles in a given volume of air.

    a class 1000 clean room, for example, has around 1000 particles that are >=0.5 microns per cubic foot of air.

    you can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanroom

  3. saiboogu.com says:

    You’ll get better airflow with a squirrel cage blower – a traditional fan doesn’t overcome the resistance of the filter very well. Here’s some examples: http://www.surplussales.com/Fans-Blowers/FansBlow-1.html

    Impressive build though, I wouldn’t have even considered doing this, but now I’m contemplating a box of my own.

  4. I Heart Robotics says:

    Here is a video tour of the cleanroom which should give a better idea as to how it is put together and how the airflow works out.

  5. Rich says:

    How to test your clean room: burn some incense or a punk stick (for lighting fireworks) inside the room when the blower is running, look and smell for where the smoke exits the cracks.

    This is also a good visual way to test seal to the filter: have the smoke get sucked in the intake and see if any of the smoke makes it into the clean area.

  6. Wanny says:

    anyone tested this cleanroom ? ^.^

    I need to make one and the ideaa seems good

  7. Jason Goff says:

    As a professional HVAC manufacturer for Intel cleanroom systems, I would NOT recommend this assembly for any sort of contamino-sensitive equipment (hard-drives, etc). The problem is the board used as well as the flimsy plastic screen. What should be done, instead, is have a solid window with hand holes and gasket material that comes up a set of cleanroom gloves creating a seal on the glove but not the skin (the gasket would flake your skin/hair/oil in to the cleanroom. Also, sealing the wall paneling with a plastic screen would also improve the effectiveness as well as prevent outgasing/dust debris from falling on to projects should something jar the shelving. Lastly, make sure that the filter you are using is AT LEAST a 99.97% filter. Intel Class 1000 systems use 99.997% (HEPA) or 99.99997% (ULPA) filters for class 10,000. For most of us, 99.97% is more than sufficient.

    Personally, I suggest making a plexiglas enclosure with a double door system. You can get the plexiglas, epoxy and knives at home depot for less than $50 to build a decent sized enclosure. The filters can also be purchased there, but they can be a bit pricey, so you might want to search around. The two companies we use are Camfil Farr and American Air Filters so if you need some ideas, start there. Depending upon how clean you want it, you might even want a filter on the discharge side to prevent any sort of contaminant backflow should you lose power (it’s been known to happen).

    Somethings to keep in mind: the major contributor to contamination in a cleanroom are the people in it. Sneezing, coughing, scratching, sweating, breathing all produce contaminants that can and will ruin anything sensitive. Tools also produce mild contaminants so if you are going to use tools, use a small chem mat or dish to prevent contamination (the tools should be clean prior to use in the clean box). Lastly, if the system is electrosensitive, you may want to ground the equipment prior to entry.

  8. Dean gateby says:

    Find the filter size you need by checking the current filter or reading the instructions in your HVAC owner’s manual or manufacturer’s specifications. Determine the Filtration Level for Your Home – Use our Air Filter Performance Rating (FPR) to determine your desired level of filtration. Find the right HVAC air filter, visit http://www.pureroom.com/find_a_pure_room.

  9. Kryn says:

    Hi, new to this, but using a small sandblasting cabinet sounds ideal as it is already sealed, has gloves etc… just need to add filters/lights etc…

  10. alexanderpf says:

    Would there be a benefit to installing the fan on the top and allowing some of the air to escape out of the bottom of the enclosure while still maintaining a positive pressure? Any particles coming in would be forced down and out.