One of the alligator clips on my helping hands got lost one day and I decided to improve my little helper. I made a new clip, but while I was at it, I also made an upgraded clip for holding bigger objects.
Step 1: Parts
A while back I bought a big bag of alligator clips from Harbor Freight and I still have plenty left. These assortments go for about $3-4. I used a wire crimper to cut the nail and crimp the clips onto the nail. I used a roofing nail to fill the crimped end, because it's soft and easy to cut with wire cutters.
Step 2: Assembly
Assembly is pretty straightforward. You need to fill the center of the clips' crimp ends with something so the thumb/set screw on the helping hands won't crush them. I used a roofing nail, but you can use any kind of thick shank nail (as long as you can cut it).
I cut a short piece of the shank of the nail and inserted it into the alligator clip. I carefully overlapped the ends of the metal and crimped it down onto the nail's shank.
Step 3: Cutting and Crimping
I had to remove the insulation from the crimped side. Again, I cut a short piece of the shank from the nail and inserted it into the alligator clip. These larger clips have interleaving teeth that have to be folded down neatly, so I used some needle-nosed pliers to crimp them onto the rod. Once everything is in place, you can trim the insulation and heat shrink it back in place.
Step 4: Finish
The upgraded helpers are much more useful now. The bigger clip has a tighter spring and no teeth to possibly damage delicate objects. It could be handy to have much larger spring clamps or other types of clamps if you could find a way to narrow the handle enough to fit into the ball joint.