Introduction: Three Axis SMD Component Third Hand
I, like many others, have had trouble holding surface mount components while I solder them. Since necessity breeds invention I was inspired to build myself a work station that would solve my problem. This is a very simple to build, inexpensive and handy tool that takes a lot of the trouble out of soldering SMD's.
Basically it uses the pressure from the end of a heavy duty wire to hold the component in place. This is probably a very overly complicated way to do it, but it works like a charm.
Step 1: Material List
1) 3/4" x 10" x 20" piece of particle board or plywood
1) 3/4" x 8" x 10" piece of particle board or plywood
2) 3/4" x 4" x 5" pieces of particle board or plywood
8) 1-1/4" pulleys with bearings (with 1/4" hole)
3) 1/4" x 3' steel bar stock
2) 1" x 1" x 6" aluminum angle stock
4) 1/4" x 1" bolts and nuts
8) 1/8" x 1" self tapping screws
4) 1/8" x 3/4" self tapping screws
4) 1/8" x 2" self tapping screw
1) heavy duty wire coat hanger
Step 2: Fabricating the Pieces
The first thing I did was to cut the 3/4" particle board pieces (to the sizes specified in the material list) with a circular saw. I drilled a 9/32" hole in each of the 3/4" x 4" x 5" blocks about 1" in from the edges and cut the corner off of them to make them look better.
Next I cut two of the steel bars to 20" long with a hack saw, and and used the pieces that I cut off to make two more at 12" long. Then I used a file to get rid of the sharp edges.
I drilled three 9/32" holes in each end of the 6" aluminum angle about a half inch apart and a 1/8" hole in each end on the other face. (see pictures for a better understanding)
That's it for the fabrication.
Step 3: Assembly (step 1)
Attach the 20" bars to the 3/4" x 10" x 20" piece of particle board about 1/2" in from the edges with the 1/8 x 1" self tapping screws like in the pictures.
Step 4: Assembly (step 2)
Attach the two 3/4" x 4" x 5" blocks to the ends of the platform with the 1/8" x 2" self tapping screws. I pre-drilled the holes in the smaller blocks to make it easier on myself.
Step 5: Assembly (step 3)
Insert the 1/4" x 1' bar stock into two of the pulleys and place on the board from step 1 and 2. Then do the other 1' bar the same way.
Step 6: Assembly (step 4)
Attach the 6" aluminum angle to the 3/4" x 8" x 10" piece of particle board flush to the shorter edge of the boards with the 1/8" x 3/4" self tapping screws. Center the pieces with the ends 1" in from each edge.
Attach a pulley to the center hole of each corner with the 1/4" x 1" Bolts and nuts.
Set the table with the pulleys on the bars that are running perpendicular to the base. You now have two of the axis's complete.
It should look like these pictures. The other holes are in case you want to adjust the amount of travel.
Step 7: Assembly (step 5)
Take the last steel bar and bend it 90 degrees about 10" from one end.
Drill a 1/8" hole in the long part of the bar about midway down perpendicular to the bend.
Insert the bar into the holes in the end pieces.
Step 8: Assembly (step 6)
Cut a piece of the coat hanger about 8" long and stick about 1-1/2" of it through the hole that you drilled in the steel bar stock. With some pliers, bend the short end very tightly around the steel bar stock.
Bend a 90 degree "L" shape on the other end with the point facing down. File the end very flat so that it lays flat on the components.
The weight of the steel bar stock handle will be what holds the pressure on the component.
Step 9: How It Works
Raise the handle up so that the coat hanger wire is out of the way. Place your circuit board on the table and position your SMD component roughly in the spot where it goes on the board. If you have components on the other side you can raise it with a couple of scrap pieces of the partical board. Slowly let the handle down and position the table so that the component is directly below the end of the wire. Let the handle down all of the way. The handle should not touch the table that you are working on. If it does, bend the wire a little until all of the weight of the handle is on the end of the wire.
You can make fine tune adjustments to the exact placement of the component with a small screwdriver or a nail. Solder your component in and admire your handiwork!!!
You can check out some of my other projects on my DIY Forum. www.italentshare.com/forum