About: I am a retired Electronic Systems Engineer now pursuing my hobbies full time. I share what I do especially with the world wide student community.

This adjustable vice for holding printed circuit boards while soldering is built around a discarded car rear view mirror and other readily available material.


A  discarded  Maruthi Suzuki Van rear view mirror provides a ready made ball and socket joint and an additional semi-circular degree of freedom for the PCB vice. The old mirror is removed by placing the whole assembly in boiling water, the plastic expands and the old mirror comes out smoothly. The flat surface originally seating the mirror forms a perfect base for the PCB vice. An Aluminum  tower bolt used for fastening doors forms the second major component.


The tower bolt forms the heart of the adjustable screw moving mechanism. In this step three grooves are cut in a standard 1/2 inch steel nut using a hacksaw. This modified nut is used as a die  to form threads on the aluminum rod removed from the tower bolt. A  long groove is also cut in the tower bolt housing. The movable jaw of the PCB vice will move within this groove.


Sheet metal parts are made using 1/16 inch aluminum sheet. The PCB vice base plate is cut using the mirror which was removed as a template. The fixed and movable jaws of the vice are cut from the sheet using  paper templates and bent into suitable shapes.


The threaded tower bolt rod is fitted with a aluminum gusset of 1/4 in thickness using tapped holes and screws. The movable jaw would be screwed onto the front end of the gusset. The grooved housing is trimmed to size and the end stop made ready. A 1/2 in steel nut modified with three spokes tapped and fitted at 120 deg  would be used to provide linear movement to the movable jaw.


A rectangular opening is cut in the base plate to accommodate the revolving nut which will move the screw thread. The fixed jaw is riveted onto one end of the base plate. The screw thread along with the movable jaw screwed onto the the aluminum gusset is inserted int the housing. The hex nut is assembled onto the screw and the end stop fitted. The housing and end stop are fitted to the base plate using screws and nuts.


The base plate with vice jaws assembled is fitted into the mirror holder and sits exactly within the groove in which the mirror was earlier housed. Before completing the fabrication task the vice is tested by holding a cylindrical object, the vice movable jaw is tightened by rotating the hex nut using the spokes. After this test the movable jaw is placed in the fully closed position and the excess length of threaded rod trimmed.


The fully assembled PCB vice is fixed to the worktable using a C-clamp. The PCB under test is held within the fixed and movable jaws and soldering is in progress.

Summary: This vice works well, only two small additions were made the first was to add strips of insulation tape onto the two vice jaws, and the second was to mark 'O' for open and 'C' for close near the hex nut on the base plate to indicate opening and closing.



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    12 Discussions

    This is a great invention, who would have thought using a bolt for a vice. I am definatly going to attempt this, or something similar, don't think I will track down a mirror. I will wait till the better weather though, so that I can again get access to my workshop (garden shed), without freezing to death.

    I wish I could find a picture of the PCB holders we used at one job I worked at. They were nice. They had a square back beam that two arms slid on with locking screws so you could lock the arms in place and just leave them there. Then the arms had V grooves up and down them that you slid the boards into. Also when you pushed the stand in, you could flip it around, so you could work the board top or bottom.

    We were a volume production assembly shop so we needed holder stands that were really quick and easy to do repetitious work in quickly. They were very simple, and once setup for a particular board it was slide it in, then slide it out.

    Boss man liked that.

    4 replies

    I think I may have used the same device many, many moons ago so I have tried to recreate one for myself here:

    Ours was more like a two pronged fork you just slipped the board into. The fork tines held the board, and slid on the square back support to adjust for different sized boards. The back support was attached to an upright, then to a base. It was all a rather simple affair. I'll make a really bad sketch of it. Try to add the pivot points, locking screws it has etc. with your imagination.

    I think I forgot the collar that would have slid up and down on the upright and attached to the back support. You should get the idea though.


    I gather from your sketch you still need to bend the component wires to hold the components in place when you flipped the board to solder?

    I suppose that would depend on your skill level. But nothing about the board holder would limit one in any way. It can hold a board in any angle, I neglected to draw in the pivot point, it also locks in the horizontal and vertical, but nothing stops you from having the board at any angle.


    can you take a few more shots to show how the movable jaw attaches to the threaded rod?

    1 reply

    You have identified the crucial part !

    I filed a flat at the end of the threaded rod onto which the gusset is fixed by two countersunk screws which go into tapped holes in the gusset. A further tapped hole in the front holds the movable jaw.


    Nice vice, I tell you once and I tell you twice!

    Mine is a Panvavise JR., but yours is just as good as mine.

    1 reply

    Dear Javi, Thanks for the encouraging words ! I am trying to set up a minimum budget electronics hobby lab at home, can you check out my low cost solution to a heat shrink gun at

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