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.
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Step 1: 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.
frikkie1 year ago
nice instructable. and one of the best multi meters on the market :)
besty3 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 besty3 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-Guy3 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

godfish4 years ago
 Dude thank you for putting this up, I wouldn't have been able to do it without your help.
junits154 years ago
good to know, good to know...
stefb5 years ago
Cool. Simple but effective.
jeff-o5 years ago
Fantastic idea, BTW! Definitely easier than using Helping Hands.
jeff-o5 years ago
I'd recommend a quality pair of side cutters for this operation. Then you won't risk cutting into the jig.
guyfrom7up5 years ago

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