An easier way to solder magnet wire to SMD LEDs

Picture of An easier way to solder magnet wire to SMD LEDs
This Instructable describes an easier method of attaching fine magnet wire to surface-mount LEDs. It is in response to the Jar of Fireflies instructable that shows using a "helping hands" clip to do this job. I think my method is much easier.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Make a jig

Picture of Make a jig
The hardest part about soldering to these parts is holding them. So let's make a jig to hold the parts.

I started with a piece of cardboard (real cardboard, i.e. single layer) from a piece of packaging. Do not use corrugated paperboard of the sort used to make shipping boxes.

I cut mine into 3 pieces after seeing that the thickness of the cardboard (0.44mm) was about 1/3 the height of the LED (1.5mm) that I was trying to solder. The LED here is a 1206 part, but this will work for smaller parts as well.

Each piece will become one layer of the jig, with a hole in each of the top two layers to hold the LED.

First, cut a hole in two of the pieces with a sharp hobby knife. The hole should be just big enough to hold the LED with very little slop. The bottom piece doesn't have a hole, and prevents the LED from falling through.

Then laminate the pieces together using a glue stick, lining up the holes in the top two pieces. Press until the glue stick has set with your fingers or a heavy book.
frikkie2 years ago
nice instructable. and one of the best multi meters on the market :)
besty4 years ago
The last time i was soldering to surface mount led's i used a much simpler method.
I got a plastic lid and put a strip of 1mm thick double sided tape, stuck the led emitting side down and soldered
the tape was enough to hold the led in place while soldering
DIY-Guy besty4 years ago
Besty: You said 1mm thick double-sided tape. Would that be the sticky foam squares sometimes used for mounting art on walls? Or does that specific double-sided tape come on a roll?
besty DIY-Guy4 years ago
yes it comes on a roll, i just picked up a roll of really thin double sided tape from my local $2 shop, which was approximately 1mm thick

hope this helped

godfish5 years ago
 Dude thank you for putting this up, I wouldn't have been able to do it without your help.
junits155 years ago
good to know, good to know...
stefb6 years ago
Cool. Simple but effective.
jeff-o6 years ago
Fantastic idea, BTW! Definitely easier than using Helping Hands.
jeff-o6 years ago
I'd recommend a quality pair of side cutters for this operation. Then you won't risk cutting into the jig.
guyfrom7up6 years ago