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Helping Hands, with Helping Foot

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MrAl

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Hi,

Here's a pic of a quick little 'fix' for the usual "Helping Hands" electronic holder for small parts that are to be soldered together. Im sure you've all seen these things, and this one is just a run of the mill unit with a slight modification.

The first mod is one of the alligator clips is removed from the base unit, then soldered to the end of a #12 AWG solid copper wire. The wire is then clamped into the holder clamp that originally held the alligator clip.

For strength, only one clip is modified, the other clip remains in it's original clamp holder. Doing both clips would make it less strong for holding slightly larger parts.

The second real mod is the copper wire is over sized, being much longer in length than actually required for the first mod. The extra length is bent forward toward the user and bent down so that it touches the work bench top. This acts as a stabilizing 'foot' so that the unit does not tip over toward the user. Hence the name, "Helping Hands with Helping Foot".
Note: ignore the 'red' wire, that is not used yet just got into the pic. The white wire is the one being used.

I've used it already and it is much easier to get the two alligator clips positioned so that they hold the parts to be soldered correctly. I was so tired of trying to get the two positioned when they were both clamped normally.

A long while back i had a set that had double joints in each 'arm'. These were much more variable, but i dont see them around anymore on the web or anything.

If you have any more ideas like this please add to this thread with those ideas, i'd like very much to read about them.

Have fun :)
 

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KeepItSimpleStupid

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Nice mod. I just used my "helping hands" yesterday to solder pigtails with connectors to 1800 mAh 3.6 V battery packs I got for portable phones. Seems like they all died about the same time. and two packs were 8, count em, 8 years old.

And I did use only one of the clips. I hate it when I use my mouth to hold the solder. I don't do that very often.

Do these have the double joints? http://www.minute-man.com/cgi-bin/s...and_Soldering_Aids.html#a900_2d015#a900_2d015

FWIW:

I never tried this: http://www.loc-line.com/quarter-inch.php for something to make helping hands out of. What do you think?
 

tronitech

Member
Have an extra set of crocodile clips with the teeth filed off so they are flat, better for taking the heat away when soldering delicate "stuff".
 

MrAl

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Most Helpful Member
Hi,

tronitech:
Oh yes that's an interesting idea too, for transistors and stuff like that. Much easier than using long nose pliers.

KISS:
Those loc line things look interesting too, but might be kind of expensive.
The "double jointed helping hands" have two joints plus the slider joint as shown in the hand made drawing in the attachment. Note the slider joints and the double regular joints.
 

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KeepItSimpleStupid

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I know I have used pliers and rubber bands for quick vises. I've even used rubber bands as "grippers" on those senior citizen picker uppers.

Never seen one of those fancy "helping hands".
 

MrAl

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Hi again,

Well with this new fix i wont need those anymore anyway. This is actually easier to use then those double jointed ones anyway because those had more screws to tighten for any given adjustment. I saw the original fix somewhere on the web a while back, and decided to try it and also added a foot. All you have to do is bend the wire a little and it should last for a long time. If the wire eventually breaks solder it back together again. Works wonders, and i wonder why i never did this before now.

One small note: It takes a good 40 watt iron to solder that #12 AWG wire to the alligator clip as the copper wire conducts the heat away from the joint very well.
 

dr pepper

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Interesting.
I modded mine too for stability, theres a block of steel bolted onto the base, comes is handy soldering or holding something heavier.
 

KeepItSimpleStupid

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Most Helpful Member
Just talking about "helping hands" makes me think about my Panavise system. https://www.panavise.com/index.html?pageID=1&id1=1&startat=1&--woSECTIONSdatarq=1&--SECTIONSword=ww

I only have the circuit board holder, some vise holder and the 312 base. It's has been barely used, but useful, nonetheless.

I have a cut and clinch tool that I don't see much anymore. It cuts and bends the leads so they don't fall out of the holes.

At work, I used one of the smaller vises with two different jaws and liked the product.
 

MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Hi,

dr pepper:
Oh yes that's a good idea too, add more weight to the base. I had a nice big hunk of lead around at one time but not sure what happened to it. That would have worked really nice.

KISS:
That's a lot of different kinds of vises there. I have a couple small ones, not made for circuit boards though.
Here is a better drawing of the Double Jointed Helping Hands i had a while back. Note the small shaft between the two clamping parts that gives it that extra joint in each arm. They were a little bit of a pain to adjust though, but lots of flexibility in the joints.
 

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