Dirt Cheap DIY Helping Hands!




Introduction: Dirt Cheap DIY Helping Hands!

If you're looking for a cheap, quick, and functional way to make DIY Helping Hands, you've come to the right place. If not, just stick around anyway.

Helping Hands can be used for all sorts of things. Keeping stuff in place while gluing or soldering, holding up a book while you eat cereal, enacting Doctor Octopus scenes from Spiderman 2- you get the idea. This build will focus on using common items you can find around the house, along with a bit of creativity.

Please remember to vote for this Instructable on the 'Build a Tool' contest.

Now that the shameless plug is out of the way, let's get started.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Paper Clips- A lot of them.

Electrical Tape.

Clothespins or Alligator Clips.

A Base to mount the Helping Hands on. This can be Wood, Metal, Lego, or basically anything sturdy and flat.

About 15 minutes. Seriously. That's it.

Step 2: The Arm

The Arm is probably the most time consuming part of the entire build. And it takes all of 7 minutes. So yeah.

Begin by taking paper clips and straightening them out. You don't need to be very precise about this part ( I wasn't either).

Then start twisting the clips around each other. Each time, leave a small part of the clip sticking out so that you can connect the next clip. Continue to Overlap and Twist the clips to make a long arm. See the images for clarification. The more clips you use, the more flexibility and durability the arm will have.

What I love about this process is that you can control exactly how long and sturdy the arms turn out. Keep adding clips till you are satisfied. Just make sure to leave out a couple of prongs at each end. These will be useful in attaching the Hand and the Base.

Finally, cover it all up in some good 'ol electrical tape. Be generous in this step. This will conceal the rough edges and give the arm an overall presentable look.

And just like that, you have a strong arm- without going to the gym even once! I call that a win.

Step 3: The Hand

For the Hand itself, I used a metal clothespin. Chances are you already have clothespins lying around the house, so you should be all set. If you happen to have Alligator Clips instead, those would be fine too.

Simply glue the prongs from one end of the Arm to the end of the clothespin. I used super-glue, but hot glue should work just fine. Basically anything except for craft glue is okay. #NotAllGluesAreEqual.

Finally, secure the joints with Tape. You can also cover the tips of the clothespin with tape so that they don't damage whatever you're working on.

Step 4: The Base

This is where you can really let your creativity shine. I used parts from a Robotics Kit I had lying around, but anything works- Wood, Metal, Lego, even Cardboard if you have enough layers. It just needs to be heavy for sturdiness.

The goal here is to take the two extended prongs of the arm, and securely fasten them to the base somehow.

I threaded the prongs through an L Bracket, and then sandwiched them with a Rack from a Rack and Pinion Gear (also from the Robotics Kit). You can use any flat object and screw it onto the base for stability.

Alternatively, you can try super-gluing the prongs to the base and pray to all the Gods that it works. Improvisation is the name of the game.


Okay maybe not.

Anyway, enjoy your new, dirt cheap Helping Hands! And if you're ever feeling lonely, (or you need more hands for a project or something), you can always make more! Just repeat the steps till you end up with this majestic beast of a tool.

Thanks for sticking through this instructable. Please Vote for it on the 'Build a Tool' contest if you liked it. I'd appreciate it a lot. Until next time.


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    3 years ago

    I like it, I have my little 3 arm d with magnifying glass one I bought cheap, but sometimes it's just too small to get large wires in for soldering. I might make one with a sandbag attached to the bottom of the base, partially full so it can sir on uneven, round or edged surfaces.