Introduction: Handy Soldering Clamps on the Cheap

I thought I'd write up this little project of mine. I came across these cheap clamps on my adventures today and bought them thinking I'd make a nice set of clamps out of them.

Here's how to do it on the cheap, and all you need is:

  • Stiff solid copper wire (not stranded)
  • Hot glue gun (high temperature gun is recommended)
  • Metal clamps of some kind (I suppose plastic clamps would work the same, but not as strong)
  • Patience

Oh, and I apologize for some of my pictures being blurry, my stupid hands won't stop shaking sometimes, especially at awkward angles as I try to take pictures, I REALLY need a mini-tripod.

Step 1: Peel Away Rubber Coating

Like It says, you want to prepare the clamp for gluing, as gluing onto the rubber itself won't stick very well.

Believe it or not, but the rubber coatings they put on these clamps peel off surprisingly easy. As long as you can get your finger nail or the tip of a knife under neath it, it rips right off.

This should expose a hole, that I assume is there to help keep the rubber intact?

Step 2: Choose Wire Length

This part is totally up to you and what your work bench requirements are. The springs in these clamps are fairly strong so they will hold up a fairly long peice of wire with no wobble if you use enough glue.

While you're at it, cut about 2cm of coating off the wire and make it into a L shape, try not to bend it EXACTLY at where it exits the coating, but a few mm up from there, as when you go to insert it into the hole we just exposed on the clamp in the previous section, it will not fit tight if bent too tightly.

A good rule of thumb is to bend it like 2-3 degrees lower than a 45 degree angle, this ensures that most of the wire makes contact with the clamp.

Step 3: Glue Time!

Assuming you had your glue gun plugged in and warming up by now, you should be ready to glue, if not, plug it in now and wait until it's completely warmed up.

You want to insert the L part of the wire into the hole, and to the elbow, and then hold it as tight as you can so that the wire lays flat on the inside of the clamp. From here simply pour your hot glue in there and try to hold it as steady as you can.

When it's dry, you can turn it up side down and glue around the wire's insulation and put a big blob around the base of the coating before it goes into the hole, this will make a nice tight fit.

Step 4: That's It!

Find a place on your work bench to clamp onto and test your newly made clamps out. Mine feel fairly sturdy when I bend them and I don't feel like bending them too hard is going to make the glue break.

Unfortunately I wasn't thinking, the clamps aren't big enough to fit around my desk, but I'm sure I can use them in many other places, next time I'll get bigger clamps!

Comments

author
finnrambo made it!(author)2009-09-16

I like this thing never couldstand those hepling hands things if you want a tripod check the camera section on this site

author
Punkguyta made it!(author)2009-09-17

Thank you! These clamps are just a cheapy way of holding a few wires for me to solder together connections for speaker wires etc,. I will admit though I think they need improvement, as the base clamp could be a bit bigger to allow for a sturdier work base.

author
finnrambo made it!(author)2009-09-19

if you need a good work base put the wires through a tuna can and pour in as much molten lead as you can it holds in the wires cant tip over

author
Punkguyta made it!(author)2009-09-23

that would be a waste of good solder.

author
finnrambo made it!(author)2009-09-23

melt fishing weights there cheap

author
Punkguyta made it!(author)2009-09-23

Thats actually a good idea, I'll go price a bag of line sinkers next time I'm in town!

author
zzoe made it!(author)2012-03-12

Even cheaper - used auto wheel weights. I find LOADS of these by the side of the road (i walk a lot), and i get most of my lead that way. I think it's an alloy of some kind, but i'm not sure - it melts down well enough. A coffee can on the stove works.
They're easiest to find at big intersections (be careful) and around the exits of garages/repair shops.

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