Introduction: Loc-Line Solder Helping Hands

About: Engineer, Clemson grad, writer, maker of random contraptions for fun and profit.

Tired of using cheap-o helping hand assemblies for your soldering jobs?

Too cheap to buy something better? This helping hand assembly can be made for a few bucks. I made mine with a CNC router—seen in this video that's also embedded at the end of the article—but a version could easily be made using manual tools as well. These devices are also referred to as "third hands" or even "soldering squid"

Step 1: Parts Needed

At a minimum you'll need:

  • Block o' wood. 2x6 used here.
  • 3/8 in BSPT Coolant hose [eBay]. Loc-Line
  • Alligator clips [eBay]

Also nice:

  • Paint
  • Heat shrink
  • TS100 soldering iron [Amazon] - Highly recommended.

Note: Amazon links are affiliate

Step 2: Cut Wood

Cut out the wood as shown in the diagram, or really however you want. I used a CNC router (DXF included), but this could easily be done with manual tools. The only thing critical is the .625" diameter of the holes, which will vary somewhat depending on the actual coolant hose you're using.

Also, I used the router to cut the block down to an inch in thickness, but a planer would also work (likely better), or you could get more appropriate sized wood.

Step 3: Sand and Paint

Sand and paint. You know how to do that ;-)

Incidentally, if you're wondering about the dust collection fixture it's sitting on, check out this video.

Step 4: Modify Hoses

Drill out the end of the hoses with a .199" drill bit or similar. Slide alligator clips in, then secure them with hot glue.

If so desired, apply heat shrink to tips of clips to avoid damaging whatever you're holding

Step 5: Insert Hoses and Start Soldering!

Plug the coolant hoses in. If the holes are sized just right, you can push them in and they'll stay in place without any sort of glue etc. Also, note that I used a hose on the end here to hold my solder and wire. Quite useful, though one could add more clips as needed.

Step 6: Video:

As promised, here's the video. If you enjoy it, I'd invite you to subscribe via this YouTube link to see what comes next!