My biggest complaint about Helping Hands is the small and often unstable base. I didn't want to make a larger base for it since that would get even more in the way. I decided that a good set of hands is nothing without a good arm behind it. So i went online and found the cheapest swing arm desk lamp i could find. I figured with the help of the Shape Lock i could create some sort of coupling part to join the Hands to the arm.
Here is how i improved on my set of Helping Hands.
- Helping Hands ($7 http://www.amazon.com/Helping-Third-Magnifier-Magnifying-Glass/dp/B0015YJV7S)
- Swing Arm Desk Lamp ($12 http://www.amazon.com/Swing-Desk-Lamp-Clamp-Black/dp/B004MH9A2Q)
- Shape Lock ($15 http://www.makershed.com/product_p/mkshl1.htm)
- Flashlight (any will do as long as it offers the lighting you want.
- 2x screws/bolts w/ nuts (your choice in size but you won't need anything over an inch long. I used what i had on hand)
- Box Cutter
- 3/16 inch Drill Bit
- Screw driver/wrench (whatever is appropriate for the screw/bolt your using)
Step 1: Teardown of the lamp
Step 2: Attaching the Hands
But there is still something missing. Sure its nice to have a more flexible set of helping hands. But without good lighting or the ability to add various other attachments its just not finished. Besides i haven't gotten a chance to use any Shape Lock on it yet.
Step 3: Atachments
First thing i did was to create a clamp to hold the attachments to the arm. I heated up some of the plastic and molded a simple U clamp around the box tubing of the arm. I made it so it could pretty much snap onto the arm and stay in place without any fasteners. But i left enough material on the ends to allow a strut to be attached to the clamp. Any attachments i need can now be easily attached to the arm and easily made from the plastic.
Step 4: Brackets
Now i took a good chunk of plastic and molded it into a strut that would link the arm clamp with the light clamp. I figured a 4 to 6 inch strut would be sufficient. I had to make sure the ends of the strut would fit in the both clamps. I didn't have to be a tight fit since the plastic has some give to it.
Step 5: Mounting the light
To make adjustment of the light easier i decided to turn the nuts into wing nuts with a bit more plastic. After heating up a couple of balls of plastic i molded them into shape. Then i pressed the nuts into the plastic and cleared out the back side to allow the screws to pass through.
Now its time to put it all together and see how it looks.
Overall the Helping Hand with Arm works great. The Mag-light is a little heavier then i would like so i need to go back and beef up the strut. It holds just fine but the strut bows and bounces a bit. Should have kept the strut vertical all the way across rather then flattening it horizontally.
Through the process i was using my 5th gen iPod Touch to take the pictures. I didn't realize how poor the picture quality would be till i was done and started piecing this instructable together.
Step 6: Other Attachments and improvements
I have made a camera attachment for the arm. I had a small 3" camera tripod i never used and figured it would be better served on the arm. So i took the legs off the tripod but needed a way to attach it to the arm. I took a closer look at the magnifying glass from the helping hand. I noticed the ball joint screwed onto the metal brace that holds the glass in place. So i removed the ball joint and used some shape lock to couple the camera mount to the ball joint.