Build a Pair of Helping Hands

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About: Hardworking demonoid engineer, struggling to reconcile my hobbies with a desire to conquer the universe.

Intro: Build a Pair of Helping Hands

With just a few items you may have around the house you can build a soldering, gluing, or assembly jig. Its an extra pair of helping hands.

Step 1: Gather the Parts

1. Items required: a) 2 five inch pieces of 12 gauge copper wire which can be taken from home wiring cable, b) two solderless ring lugs, c) two mini alligator clips, d) a 3" x3" block of wood or decorative molding - available at your local home improvement store, e) one small wood screw (and a suitable drill bit for the pilot hole).

Step 2: Add the Ring Lugs

Crimp the solderless ring lugs to the wire. I recommend you crimp the lug in two positions for a secure connection.

Step 3: Add the Alligator Clips

Remove the rubber boots from the alligator clips as these won't be needed. Crimp the alligator clips to the other end of the copper wire. You may need to solder this connection to insure strength and longevity.

Step 4: Attach the Wire to the Base

Drill a small pilot hole in the center of the wood block. Use a wood screw (pan head type) to secure the two ring lugs to the base.

Step 5: Its Ready for Use...

Use it as a soldering jig, gluing jig, assembly fixture, photo stand, or however you see fit.

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    88 Discussions

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    spystealth1

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! I took apart a cell phone just like the one being dissected in the photo of the helping hands! Too cool!

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    denilsonsa

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very simple and useful idea. I made my own third hands loosely based on this instructable. This also looks like a very popular one, with many comments (68 right now), and I don't know if what I'm writing here has been already written on other comments.

    - I've not used the ring lugs. I've just made a small ring using the copper wire and attached it to the wood with a screw. Actually, I've used one screw for each copper wire.
    - I've used 2 small alligator clips (useful to hold small parts and thin wires), plus 2 bigger alligator clips (useful to hold bigger things, like a PCB). There is also a space "reserved for future use" onto which I might add a bright white LED and maybe a small fan (like this).
    - I've tried to solder the alligator clips to the copper wire, but I failed. The solder did not fix the clip to the wire strongly enough. It broke a few seconds after using. I'm still looking forward to another solution (maybe I should try glue? or maybe just using pressure should be enough)

    I still don't have any photos of it (and it looks ugly, anyway :) ), but it has already been damn useful! Thank you for this simple but effective idea.

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    denilsonsadenilsonsa

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Okay, found it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JB_Weld

    I've asked because, since I don't live in USA, I didn't know about that product.

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    martzsamdenilsonsa

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, JB weld is the brand name of a fast weld adhesive. (One fluid metal, one hardener.) Similair to epoxy glue.

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    retrod1ct

    12 years ago

    Great idea. I stumbled across some slate at the hardware store. It makes for a more stable base.

    slate_helphands.JPG
    4 replies
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    uncloudedretrod1ct

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for suggesting this. It prompted me to look for junk lying around that's compact yet heavy for the base:

    helping-hands.jpg
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    PixlGnomeretrod1ct

    Reply 11 years ago

    IR Remote? Looks realy bad condition heheh.

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    Melty Mcface

    8 years ago on Step 5

    I imagine the arms also act as reasonable heat sinks when soldering?

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    sexysav

    8 years ago on Step 5

    ti_marners last reply was excellent! I never thought of that. thank you.

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    uncloudedjrt42

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for suggesting this! We don't have any sturdy wire so I wasn't going to build one, but we do have wire coat hangers and now I've built one, so thanks again.

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    uncloudedunclouded

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I also meant to say that they are really stiff and I have to use pliers to move them but they also hold stuff fast.

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    m85476585

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made one of these a while back, but I found it too springy to be useful, and it didn't hold things other than a PCB very well at all. I recently bought a $30 mini-vise, and I have found it to be extremely useful. I would say it is probably the second best investment I have made for soldering (best is my temperature-controlled soldering station, of course!)