This Instructable will show how to make a fixture to accurately bend the leads of an electrical component with a high degree of precision.
Bending component leads can be a problem using just fingers or over the edge of a book or table. The body of the component prevents the leads from laying flush with the table resulting in a sloppy looking construction. Also, not holding the leads can cause internal damage to the component. A regular pair of needle-nose pliers have a taper that will not allow both leads to be bent the same distance from the component. Removing material from one side of the pliers will have the edge perpendicular to the teeth.
Needle-nose pliers; regular straight teeth (no crosshatch)
Crosshatch teeth will not hold the leads in place as well as regular teeth. You do not need to use new needle-nose pliers. A used pair will work fine provided you inspect the teeth. Also, do not use a horribly abused pair, the jaws are bent or the pivot has excessive play.
Bench grinder (preferred)
Small water container (I used a aerosol spray can lid)
Wear safety goggles when using the bench grinder. This will generate a lot of sparks. Use the water frequently. No need to burn your hands.
Clean the teeth of the needle-nose pliers with wire brush or wire wheel on bench grinder. Inspect the teeth for extreme wear. The idea is the teeth are a channel to hold the leads securely while you make the bend.
Use the grinding wheel of the bench grinder to remove the taper on one side of the needle-nose pliers. I could not take a picture of this. You are only removing a small amount of material from the jaws. Hold the pliers firmly along the rest on the bench grinder. Inspect often to check for even removal of material.
The pliers will get very hot. Dip the jaws of the pliers in the water to keep cool.
Remove enough material from the pliers so that ground surface is perpendicular to the teeth. I did not go the entire length of the pliers. I did more the necessary and still did not grind all the teeth perpendicular.
When have you removed enough material? I eyeballed it. This not a NASA grade tool.
When finished with the grinding, wire brush the teeth to remove any material build up.
Place needle-nose pliers in table vise.
File the ground surface to remove any shape edges (there shouldn’t be any, but check).
Say you need 10 LEDs with the same bend. On a piece of plywood, secure a stop the needed distance including the length of the needle-nose pliers jaws. Place each LED at the stop and the pliers ground edge will be the same distance for each LED.
I like to put a small length of either red or black 22 gauge wire insulation on the appropriate lead to make sure polarity is observed. Obviously, place the insulation on the lead before making the first bend.