Intro: 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
- 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.