Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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...

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

Comments

author
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!

author
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.

author
martzsam (author)denilsonsa2011-01-25

Use JB weld to hold on the alligator clips.

author
denilsonsa (author)martzsam2011-01-25

And what is JB?

author
denilsonsa (author)denilsonsa2011-01-25

Okay, found it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JB_Weld

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

author
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.

author
retrod1ct (author)2006-05-30

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

slate_helphands.JPG
author
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:

helping-hands.jpg
author
beehard44 (author)unclouded2011-01-03

lol nice idea

author
ReCreate (author)unclouded2009-06-15

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

author
PixlGnome (author)retrod1ct2006-12-10

IR Remote? Looks realy bad condition heheh.

author
Melty Mcface (author)2010-06-20

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

author
sexysav (author)2010-06-16

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

author
deerfishgoat (author)2009-06-17

soo wat does this do???

author
thepaul93 (author)deerfishgoat2009-07-08

it holds you project in place wile you work on it

author
jrt42 (author)2008-11-10

How about a wire coat hanger for even more strength.

author
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.

author
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.

author
wolf555hound (author)jrt422009-03-07

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

author
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!)

author
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.

author

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.

author

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.

author
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.

author
Rikasu (author)2008-11-04

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

author
junits15 (author)2008-10-27

cool

author
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!

author
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...

author
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

author
frazeeg (author)2007-08-16

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

author
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 !

author
yoyinsola (author)2007-05-13

what exactly does it do?

author

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

author
Ribs (author)studmuffin3dawg22007-08-06

the hand things are cocodile/aligator clips

author

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.

author
andy60 (author)2007-07-24

thnx for the idea ill make some tomorrow!

author
!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-07-20

heh wood...

author
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!

author
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.

author
AT (author)john otto2007-07-02

Higher wattage! Like my propane torch? :-)

author
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

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

this would also work great for heat sinks when soldering

author

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....

author
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:

http://homemadenoize.blogspot.com/2007/06/helping-hands.html

author
Mace42 (author)2007-05-21

cool. quite useful.

author
yoyinsola (author)2007-05-14

oh tanxs

author
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!

author
Taotaoba (author)2007-05-01

Cool. Genius!

author
thevenerablez (author)2007-05-01

Thanks, I'm going to make this today.

author
killrsheep (author)2007-04-30

awesome, i have been thinking of buying some...you 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

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