Picture of Make An Ultimate Helping Hand Jig
Here is a helping hand jig that is useful for soldering, gluing, painting and macro photography. It is highly configurable to hold various small objects in many positions.

While this version is 3d printed, it could also be made using traditional hand methods.
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Step 1: How It Works

Picture of How It Works
While this may not be the ultimate jig for everyone, I have found it very useful for soldering and gluing small projects. It can be adapted with different grippers for different kinds of projects.

I was experimenting with various ways of 3d printing self-assembling hinges for future use in robot arms and legs. Making some hinges that can lock in place seemed like a good way to test the strength of the structures.

The helping hand has six configurable, lock in place, arms with interchangeable grippers. While this version was 3d printed, a similar jig could be made using acrylic or other plastic sheet material. It could even be made out of thin plywood. Three layers could be laminated together to make the arms.

Step 1 pic shows it set up for soldering with flashlight and magnifier. Pic 2 shows it folded up.

Step 2: Tools And Materials

Picture of Tools And Materials
I used a Makerbot Replicator 2 to print the parts in PLA plastic. If you do not have access to a 3d printer you could make the jig by laminating hand cut sheet plastic or plywood.

100% silicone caulk and corn starch to make Oogoo. Details on making Oogoo can be found here:

sheet metal

24   4-40 x 1" round head screws and nuts
6     4-40 x 3/4" round head screws and nuts

2     1/2" diameter x 3/8" long neodymium magnets
rlogiacco11 days ago

When you say it is printed as one piece, are you saying you actually printed it already assembled? How does it work, you leave a tiny amount of support PLA which you break at first use?

mikey77 (author)  rlogiacco10 days ago

The hinged arms are printed one at a time as one piece, flat without supports. The grippers and base are printed separately.

And the parts are printed "glued" and then broken apart by hand?

So far the best quote I got from 3D print services is 72€... quite pricy :-(

maddavo2 months ago

I have tried printing the arms in PLA in two orientations and they remain stuck together and break when I try to unstick them. I am printing at 0.2mm layer height and perimeter width of 0.4mm. You mention 0.2mm layer - do you know what extrusion width your slicer uses?

mikey77 (author)  maddavo1 month ago

I am using Makerbot software which does not provide info like extrusion width.

Whenever I have trouble with printed hinges sticking, I enlarge the print by 1% or more until the gap between the moving parts is enough.

You may have to enlarge the base by the same amount.

BCtech5 months ago

Great project! This is a really great design!

Msquared945 months ago
You should add this to thingiverse. I'm sure it'll be very popular!
what are the dimensions
mikey77 (author)  charliesyvertsen5 months ago

The base at its widest points is 4.77" and it is .66" thick.

If you download the stl files, you can load them into a free program like Netfabb or Meshmixer and get the dimensions that way.

shazni5 months ago

just WOW! Also. ...I WANT ONE!!!!!!