Instructables
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.
 
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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.
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kevrack19992 years ago
Nice job! I didn't use this exact design but you have inspired me to make my own!
spystealth13 years ago
Wow! I took apart a cell phone just like the one being dissected in the photo of the helping hands! Too cool!
denilsonsa7 years ago
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.
Use JB weld to hold on the alligator clips.
And what is JB?
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.
Yeah, JB weld is the brand name of a fast weld adhesive. (One fluid metal, one hardener.) Similair to epoxy glue.
retrod1ct8 years ago
Great idea. I stumbled across some slate at the hardware store. It makes for a more stable base.
slate_helphands.JPG
Thanks for suggesting this. It prompted me to look for junk lying around that's compact yet heavy for the base:
helping-hands.jpg
lol nice idea
Hey! Is that a western digital hardrive? Is it by chance the Caviar 33100 HDD?
IR Remote? Looks realy bad condition heheh.
I imagine the arms also act as reasonable heat sinks when soldering?
sexysav4 years ago
ti_marners last reply was excellent! I never thought of that. thank you.
soo wat does this do???
it holds you project in place wile you work on it
jrt426 years ago
How about a wire coat hanger for even more strength.
unclouded jrt425 years ago
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.
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.
I've tried that, but for me, its way too stiff to us.
m854765856 years ago
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!)
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.
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.
Rikasu6 years ago
I just finished mine, doesn't look quite as good as yours does, but it will help. Great 'able.
junits156 years ago
cool
Coodude266 years ago
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_elixir7 years ago
Why not, screw each independently and add another 2 hands and screw the two pieces at the the side. but anyway very nice...
xproplayer7 years ago
this is so cool im going to substitute the copper wire for solder braided together since i have extra making soon
frazeeg7 years ago
Brilliant! I'll definitely have to build myself one of these.
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 !
yoyinsola7 years ago
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.
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.
andy607 years ago
thnx for the idea ill make some tomorrow!
heh wood...
AT7 years ago
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)  AT7 years ago
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.
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