Build the Perfect Electronics Workbench
The rapid increase of the “Maker Culture” has encouraged many people to create and design their own electronics. For many “DIYer’s” or “Makers” working on projects can be tough if a dedicated workspace is not established. An ESD mat on the dining room table is a simple solution, but eventually, a larger and dedicated workspace will be needed.
If you are planning on building your own electronics workstation, here is a list of important elements every efficient workstation should include.
There are several countertop materials to choose from when building a workbench. For an affordable build, you can go with Formica laminate or butcher block material. Both of these materials are durable, easy to clean and affordable. You can purchase these countertops from your local IKEA for under $200 and use an ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) mat to prevent damage to your electrical components.
For a better ESD protected area, many semiconductors manufacture implement an ESD laminate work surface. Static discharge as low as 10V can damage electrical components causing a delay and loss of profit.
Set your workbench at the perfect height with adjustable height legs. An adjustable height bench allows you to work in a standing or sitting position and anywhere in between. Hydraulic adjustable height leg kits are available in manual/hand crank or electrical. These kits are a bit expensive and may not be needed by many hobbyist makers.
Keep your work area organized and clean with workstation storage drawers, shelves, small parts compartment boxes, and box bins. These add-ons are not crucial to the perfect workstation, but will definitely save time when searching for tools and parts.
For the best visibility while working, LED lights are recommended. Halogen and Incandescent are also other options for lighting but know that these two produce a large amount of heat, where LED produced 20% heat when compared to Halogen and Incandescent. Many hours will be spent working under this light so make sure you will be comfortable with your light source. Workstation lights are available in a variety of lengths and overhead light kits.
Workbench Power Strips and Outlets
Power strips and outlets can be added to a workbench as a nice upgrade. Power strips can be purchased from any hardware store or online for under $30. For extra protection consider purchasing a power strip with a surge protector. Power strips can be mounted at the back of your workbench for easy access. Power outlets can also be wired up, but this should be done with caution. Make sure the power is not live while setting up power outlets.
A great feature to add to a workbench is mobility. A few heavy duty locking casters can take your workbench to the next level. This option allows you to easily move your entire workstation to a new location without the need of breaking it down. A set of casters can be purchased at any hardware store for as little as $40.
Some time will be spent sitting while drafting out a project so it is important to have a comfortable chair or stool. Adjustable ergonomic chairs range from $80 to $200 and can be purchased online or any big box store.
Tools and Test Equipment
An electrical workstation is not complete without tools. Here is a list of a few tools and test equipment to keep at your workstation. Not all these will be needed by many so only purchase what you need.
- Soldering Station
- Bench Power Supply
- Wire Stripper
- Hot Glue Gun
Commercial or Pre-built Electronic Workstation Option
For the non-DIY person, there is a pre-built workstation option available. Here at Ezad Lab Furnishing, we provide users with an easy method of building the perfect workstation right from your computer or smartphone. Easily select the workbench material, height, frame color, and accessories. After an order is submitted our team starts the construction of your new workstation. All of the workstations are manufactured and shipped from our California warehouse. Visit our laboratory workbench page for specifications.