Introduction: Helping Hands

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.


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


  • 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.