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Ever come out of a long kit build with a splitting headache from the solder fumes? Me too. A benchtop solder fume extractor’s been on my shopping list for some time, but to be honest, I wasn’t very excited about another piece of expensive safety equipment. I recently had the chance to try out an Edsyn FXF14 “Fuminator,” a strange-looking little fume extractor with a hinged fan and spinning filter. Read the full review after the jump!

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A fume extractor’s a simple device, basically it’s just a fan pulling the working area air through a filter and away, out the back of the unit. Since Marc de Vinck made one that fits in an mint tin, the expensive price tag on the retail models seemed even more ridiculous. Edsyn claims their special rotating filter works eight times better than a stationary filter. The FXF14 retails for about $110, and it’s made in the USA.

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The pivoting head on the FXF14 makes it easy to get it close to your work. A flip of the toggle switch on the front lights up two LEDs indicating front (green) and yellow (rear), since the air current produced by the thing deceives your skin. It’s hard to tell which way the air is moving until you hold a string up in front of it and see it bend towards the intake. The fan is so quiet that sometimes I forget to turn the thing off.

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It works great. I use it for electronics as well as jewelry (torch) soldering in my small apartment workshop. I’m really happy with its small desktop footprint, and I think it looks fabulous, too (also available in black and translucent blue, green, and red). O’Reilly’s Brian Jepson bought a similar model, the FXF11, a few years ago and still loves his. I usually feel a bit guilty after splurging on a fancy new tool for my workshop, but your lungs can easily justify the investment of an effective (and attractive) benchtop solder fume extractor.

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Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).