Introduction: Build a Pair of Helping Hands

Picture of Build a Pair of Helping Hands

With just a few items you may have around the house you can build a soldering, gluing, or assembly jig. Its an extra pair of helping hands.

Step 1: Gather the Parts

Picture of Gather the Parts

1. Items required: a) 2 five inch pieces of 12 gauge copper wire which can be taken from home wiring cable, b) two solderless ring lugs, c) two mini alligator clips, d) a 3" x3" block of wood or decorative molding - available at your local home improvement store, e) one small wood screw (and a suitable drill bit for the pilot hole).

Step 2: Add the Ring Lugs

Picture of Add the Ring Lugs

Crimp the solderless ring lugs to the wire. I recommend you crimp the lug in two positions for a secure connection.

Step 3: Add the Alligator Clips

Picture of Add the Alligator Clips

Remove the rubber boots from the alligator clips as these won't be needed. Crimp the alligator clips to the other end of the copper wire. You may need to solder this connection to insure strength and longevity.

Step 4: Attach the Wire to the Base

Picture of Attach the Wire to the Base

Drill a small pilot hole in the center of the wood block. Use a wood screw (pan head type) to secure the two ring lugs to the base.

Step 5: Its Ready for Use...

Picture of Its Ready for Use...

Use it as a soldering jig, gluing jig, assembly fixture, photo stand, or however you see fit.


spystealth1 (author)2011-10-21

Wow! I took apart a cell phone just like the one being dissected in the photo of the helping hands! Too cool!

denilsonsa (author)2007-12-01

Very simple and useful idea. I made my own third hands loosely based on this instructable. This also looks like a very popular one, with many comments (68 right now), and I don't know if what I'm writing here has been already written on other comments.

- I've not used the ring lugs. I've just made a small ring using the copper wire and attached it to the wood with a screw. Actually, I've used one screw for each copper wire.
- I've used 2 small alligator clips (useful to hold small parts and thin wires), plus 2 bigger alligator clips (useful to hold bigger things, like a PCB). There is also a space "reserved for future use" onto which I might add a bright white LED and maybe a small fan (like this).
- I've tried to solder the alligator clips to the copper wire, but I failed. The solder did not fix the clip to the wire strongly enough. It broke a few seconds after using. I'm still looking forward to another solution (maybe I should try glue? or maybe just using pressure should be enough)

I still don't have any photos of it (and it looks ugly, anyway :) ), but it has already been damn useful! Thank you for this simple but effective idea.

martzsam (author)denilsonsa2011-01-25

Use JB weld to hold on the alligator clips.

denilsonsa (author)martzsam2011-01-25

And what is JB?

denilsonsa (author)denilsonsa2011-01-25

Okay, found it here:

I've asked because, since I don't live in USA, I didn't know about that product.

martzsam (author)denilsonsa2011-01-25

Yeah, JB weld is the brand name of a fast weld adhesive. (One fluid metal, one hardener.) Similair to epoxy glue.

retrod1ct (author)2006-05-30

Great idea. I stumbled across some slate at the hardware store. It makes for a more stable base.

unclouded (author)retrod1ct2009-06-12

Thanks for suggesting this. It prompted me to look for junk lying around that's compact yet heavy for the base:

beehard44 (author)unclouded2011-01-03

lol nice idea

ReCreate (author)unclouded2009-06-15

Hey! Is that a western digital hardrive? Is it by chance the Caviar 33100 HDD?

PixlGnome (author)retrod1ct2006-12-10

IR Remote? Looks realy bad condition heheh.

Melty Mcface (author)2010-06-20

I imagine the arms also act as reasonable heat sinks when soldering?

sexysav (author)2010-06-16

ti_marners last reply was excellent! I never thought of that. thank you.

deerfishgoat (author)2009-06-17

soo wat does this do???

thepaul93 (author)deerfishgoat2009-07-08

it holds you project in place wile you work on it

jrt42 (author)2008-11-10

How about a wire coat hanger for even more strength.

unclouded (author)jrt422009-06-12

Thanks for suggesting this! We don't have any sturdy wire so I wasn't going to build one, but we do have wire coat hangers and now I've built one, so thanks again.

unclouded (author)unclouded2009-06-12

I also meant to say that they are really stiff and I have to use pliers to move them but they also hold stuff fast.

wolf555hound (author)jrt422009-03-07

I've tried that, but for me, its way too stiff to us.

m85476585 (author)2008-11-11

I made one of these a while back, but I found it too springy to be useful, and it didn't hold things other than a PCB very well at all. I recently bought a $30 mini-vise, and I have found it to be extremely useful. I would say it is probably the second best investment I have made for soldering (best is my temperature-controlled soldering station, of course!)

that one guy (author)2007-08-10

nice work. a good blend of ingenuity and resourcefulness that gets things done is hard to come by nowadays.

by the way,sorry to point out an obvious idea, but if you coated the copper in shrink tubing and perhaps connected them to the board with 2 screws which are insulated from one another, it would be safer for some electrical projects and (hopefully) prevent short circuiting. You could also use shrink tubing or electrical tape to make the alligator clips less scratchy, and evenconnect a power source to the bottom of the board to power some projects if you were so inclined, very versatile.

I made a pair like this a while back, and just shrunk some pieces of heat-shrink tubing over over each side of teeth of the clips. It helps to keep them from scratching up circuit boards.

Coodude26 (author)that one guy2008-10-26

If you're soldering, you shouldn't worry about short- circuiting because you shouldn't have anything wired up when soldering in the first place.

Rikasu (author)2008-11-04

I just finished mine, doesn't look quite as good as yours does, but it will help. Great 'able.

junits15 (author)2008-10-27


Coodude26 (author)2008-10-26

Wow, this is great! This is one of the first "parts around the house" 'ables I actualy have the parts for around the house! Thanks a lot, very clever!

rush_elixir (author)2007-11-04

Why not, screw each independently and add another 2 hands and screw the two pieces at the the side. but anyway very nice...

xproplayer (author)2007-10-07

this is so cool im going to substitute the copper wire for solder braided together since i have extra making soon

frazeeg (author)2007-08-16

Brilliant! I'll definitely have to build myself one of these.

shankarforscience (author)2007-08-09

Make sure not to use when connected to power supply, even for D.C Voltages. Resistors & Capacitors may burn due to Short Circuit, because here the Copper wire will happily conducts Electricity !

yoyinsola (author)2007-05-13

what exactly does it do?

it is just like a stand to hold projects while you work on them, except it holds it inbetween the clippy "hand" thingys.

Ribs (author)studmuffin3dawg22007-08-06

the hand things are cocodile/aligator clips

by the way if anybody knows that im wrong on what i think it does, then tell us. but i fo know pretty well that that is what it does, i was sort of confused at first as well.

andy60 (author)2007-07-24

thnx for the idea ill make some tomorrow!

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-07-20

heh wood...

AT (author)2007-06-28

Simple, functional, great idea. I think I will be making one of these. I am thinking of adding an extra pair of arms even! You don't run into a problem with the wire slipping in the crimp? I was thinking of putting a curl at the end of the wire and driving a screw in the middle of that. Maybe with a small washer to? Great Instructable!

john otto (author)AT2007-07-02

If the crimp seems like it may slip, add some solder to the area. You will probably have to use a higher wattage iron. Or you could always add a dab of epoxy.

AT (author)john otto2007-07-02

Higher wattage! Like my propane torch? :-)

static (author)2007-06-14

The only thing I would do differently is to use galvanized number 9 wire for one set of arms. Then again I do have a real deal panavise along with a fuax panavise to hold the work solidly

James (pseudo-geek) (author)2007-04-19

this would also work great for heat sinks when soldering

Your post reminds me when the instructor had us all build "heat sinks out of wire scraps and alligator clips. He didn't understand the almost simultaneous spontaneous laughter, when it dawned on the students realized, we just built "roach clips". :) Ah the good old days....

kubton (author)2007-06-09

I built something like these my self they are handy. I used a slate base cheap and heavy. here is mine:

Mace42 (author)2007-05-21

cool. quite useful.

yoyinsola (author)2007-05-14

oh tanxs

Don H. (author)2007-05-12

Aw, man! I could have REALLY used this while soldering the motor wires for the Warp RC plane I just made an Instructable for. I'm making one of these tomorrow!

Taotaoba (author)2007-05-01

Cool. Genius!

thevenerablez (author)2007-05-01

Thanks, I'm going to make this today.

killrsheep (author)2007-04-30

awesome, i have been thinking of buying just saved me a big buck... well i have to buy new crimpers (old ones are buried under a flooring platform i built) but thats my bad. XD

About This Instructable




Bio: Hardworking demonoid engineer, struggling to reconcile my hobbies with a desire to conquer the universe.
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