Introduction: NiftyBender Deluxe - a Tool for the Stripboard User.
The NiftyBender Deluxe is a simple jig which allows you to quickly and simply bend link wires to fit a 0.1" pitch matrix board spanning 1,2,3,4,or 5 holes.
This was initially just the NiftyBender, but then I thought of a refinement to let you make a link in 10 seconds or less. So was born the NiftyBender Deluxe.
Step 1: Tools and Materials.
You will need a scrap piece of matrix board (Veroboard). The unclad is better for this than the copper strip type as it is easier to work. You will also need 8 or so connection pins (Veropins).
The essential items are a sharp craft knife, pliers and cyanoacrylate adhesive (superglue). I used Gorilla cyanoacrylate as it's a gap-filling glue.
A Dremel would be useful, but use a small flat file if you don't have one. The best tool for cutting the board I found to be a nibbler (see pic) but the knife and pliers will suffice. A pair of wire cutters (not your best ones) also works well.
(Instructables - Many thanks for the Dremel Minimite - now being put to good use, once I'd bought a 240V to 110V adaptor.)
Step 2: Cutting the Stripboard to Shape.
You will need two identical pieces of stripboard cutting out. No measuring to do as It's just a matter of counting holes. Once you have cut one piece, use it as a template for the second.
Score along the lines with a craft knife to make a small groove. Do this on both sides and then break bits away up to the lines with the pliers, nibbling tool, or cutters, taking out a little bit at a time. If using pliers, grab an area and flex it gently up and down and it will break away.
Step 3: Putting the NiftyBender Together.
You now have two identical pieces of stepped stripboard ready to assemble.
Roughen up the mating surfaces of the boards to give the glue better grip.
Using the pliers, gently press the pins into one of the boards at the three corners and one in the middle. These are so you can accurately align them and to give strength. The pins should be inserted so the second board will fit flush against the first.
Apply a few drops of glue to one side then very gently put the sides together, pushing down with the pliers close to the pins. Do this in several stages so as not to break the board.
Once the glue is set, tidy up the edges and the angles with a Dremel / file. Leave a bit of the serrations on the long edge but smooth off the stepped edge. Cut off the excess connection pin and smooth off the top.
You have now made the original NiftyBender, but . . .
Step 4: And Now the Deluxe Version.
I used the original tool for several links, then realised I could make it work a lot better by trapping one of the wires before bending it around the board. So . . .
The Deluxe version comes in left-handed and right-handed versions. The pictures show the left-handed version ('cos I am). To make the right-handed version simply reverse the direction of the stepped board on the back board.
Cut another piece of matrix board to size, but leave this one rectangular.
Roughen up the surface where the boards will touch - Don't roughen up the whole face of the rectangular board.
Put the pins in place (making sure they're in different holes to the existing ones), apply adhesive and assemble.
Once set, remove excess adhesive and round off the edges a bit. As a finishing touch, glue a couple of washers to the back. Attach a magnet in a convenient place on your workbench and you'll always be able to find it (as long as you put it back after use #;¬)
Step 5: Using the NiftyBender Deluxe.
If you can't work out how to use the NiftyBender Deluxe then maybe you should think about taking up a less demanding hobby, but anyway, here is what you do :-
For the left-hander - Right-handers just swap the words 'left' and 'right'.
Hold the device in your right hand betwixt thumb and forefinger, with the stepped side at the bottom.
With your left hand, insert the wire into the centre hole of the step size you want to make.
Use your right middle finger behind the jig to keep tension on it, and use your left thumb and fore-finger to wrap the wire over the step and around the top of the board.
Once you've reached the correct link shape, take it off the jig, cut off the excess and voila! A wire link.
I use 22swg tinned copper wire for power connections and keep thinner offcut component leads to make signal connections. This jig works well for both, and it can make the thicker wires straight from the reel with minimal wastage.
The fussy constructor may prefer pin-sharp angles on their boards, but I'd rather get the job done and with this jig I can produce an accurately spaced link in under 10 seconds. I'll put up with a slight bit of rounding.