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Helping Hands are the best friend you can have when working with little parts.

This tool was designed for a short electronics workshop but asking every participant to buy their own would get costly. This can be built in a matter of minutes by people of all skill levels. Gathering tools and parts will take some people longer than the assembly.

Parts

  • Alligator clips with #4 bolt post. Very common
  • Clipboard with flat clip
  • 16-14AWG ring terminals for #4-#6 bolts
  • Galvanized steel wire


Tools

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
  • Crimper
    • A pliers may work in a pinch (pun intended)

There are no modifications to the clipboard so you really have two tools and a good clipboard is invaluable. Not to mention it can protect your work surface.

Step 1: Cut the Wire

Cut 12" of galvanized steel wire. 12" is roughly the length of the long edge on a clipboard. The wire shown in the pictures is 24" long and 12" too long.

Step 2: Crimp Ring Terminals Onto Wire

Crimp a ring terminal onto each end of the steel galvanized wire.

If the terminals have a seam, possibly under insulating plastic, be sure the seam is nestled in the rounded end of the crimper.

Step 3: Bend Wire Into Shapee

Bend the wire into a squared off W like shown in the picture. Ruler shown for size reference.

Step 4: Attach Clips to Wires

Remove the bolts from the alligator clips. Put the bolts through the ring terminals and back into the alligator clips. Tighten firmly.

Step 5: Clamp Wire

Clamp the W shape of the wire under the clipboard clip. This will make the surface of the clipboard into a wide base to keep things from shifting about better than a heavy base which is prone to tipping. Position the arms as necessary, like a regular Helping Hands, but without having to tighten and loosen bolts.

It is possible to use heavier gauge steel wire for a firmer hold.

Step 6: About Me

This idea came to me in a flash. Collecting everything took a single trip to the hardware store, which is rare for me, and according to the timestamps on my photos I built this in 20 minutes which included taking photos. Nothing should be expensive or hard to find and this is a really useful tool.

I run a blog where I talk incessantly about the things I build, including more photos of this project. There are other neat things there like a device that can improve brainpower and a smart pocket watch in the works.

<p>24Eng,</p><p>This Instructable is well-presented. And beyond that:</p><p>1. Using the ring terminals to put the support wires at *right angles* to the alligator clips is nothing less than inspired. Almost everyone fixes the support wire to the clips at the hollow (tube) end. One advantage of *your* way, is that we could get a bit more stability or holding power or whatever by making a (maybe) 6 to 10 inch wire with a banana plug at each end, and just pushing each end into the hollow tube section(s). Those hollow tube ends are sized for mating with banana plugs.</p><p>2. On top of that, using (stiff) steel wire as the support instead of the usual (shaky) copper wire gives, I suspect, more of a solid feel. </p><p>3. Finally, using *galvanized* steel wire will let us solder directly to the steel wire if we should need a bit less resistance.</p><p>Very impressed. Thank you for sharing.</p>
<p>Thank you. I'm glad you noticed the little details in this build.</p>
<p>tomatoskins,</p><p>I really like your workstation board. You think of everything. If I make one or two of these, I think I can get more stuff done. Thank you and good luck.</p>
This is virtually the setup that I have. Except I used copper from a piece of romex, and I bolted four &quot;hands&quot; to a piece of sheet metal along with a few soldering iron holders, and a power strip. I use it all the time and it's way cheaper and easier to use than any store bought version.
<p>An integrated iron holder would be an amazing addition! Do you use all four hands often? I've got the commercial model with the steel base and I never use more than two hands at once.</p><p>Sounds like your version is a portable workspace.</p>
<p>The only time that I use more than two hands at a time is if I'm working on something that is on the bigger side. I wish that I used a heavier gauge wire because sometimes it's a little shakier than I'd like. </p><p>But I love that this thing folds flat. It usually props up behind my door because it's a little on the bigger side of things at 17&quot; x 20&quot;.</p>
<p>Those LED stalks are ingenious! I'm surprised I didn't see a laptop fan being used as a fume extractor. That is a really nice soldering rig and work space.</p>
<p>Oh yeah, it would be super easy to hook up any 5vdc motor to that power supply as well. It's a great little soldering station and I'm glad I finally got an excuse to share it with someone. </p>

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