Intro: Magnetic Helping Hands Tool for Torch Brazing/Soldering
This Instructable will show you how to adapt an all-metal, non-magnetic, Helping Hands tool base to a magnetic base, so it will cling to a metal welding table, sheet metal, cookie sheet, etc. Why?
Well, usually after lighting my Little Smith torch, I find that I need to adjust the non-magnetic Helping Hands tool to hold the metal pieces better for brazing, but I usually don't have both hands free at that time. So, I end up moving the whole tool around, and sometimes it ends up on the ground or on my lap...not good if I already started heating up the metal piece, or the Helping Hands tool, or both.
Step 1: Separate the Helping Hands Tool From Its Metal Base.
I bought my Helping Hands tool at Radio Shack, and let me tell you, it is more heavy duty than others I have found at discount freight stores. And it's made completely of metal, so I can torch braze and solder with it and not worry about setting any part of it on fire. Regardless of where you got yours, for this one, I just loosened the screw that held the main tool's shaft to the base, and then separated the main tool from its base and set it aside. We're going to modify the metal base next.
Step 2: Scrape Off the Cushion.
Using Goo Be Gone, Goo Off, or something similar, and a scraper, remove the cushion that's adhered to the bottom of the Helping Hands base. The cushion on my base was pretty much gone since I've been using it and abusing it during the last 6 years, so it was about time for an upgrade anyhow.
Step 3: Test Fit the Magnetic Base to the Non-magnetic Base.
I bought the magnetic base at Ace Hardware the same day I made the tool and this Instructable. So, I'm confident you will not have problems in adapting your Helping Hands tool to a magnetic base either.
Step 4: Drill a Hole in the Helping Hands Non-magnetic Base (and Maybe the Magnetic Base Too).
The size of the hole in the magnetic base was 3/16" to start, but due to more available hardware, I drilled a 1/4" hole in both the non-magnetic base and the magnetic base (using a portable drill press). You can use whatever size you deem right.
Step 5: Install the Magnetic Base Onto the Non-magnetic Helping Hands Tool Base.
After drilling the holes, install the magnetic base on the non-magnetic base using a bolt, lock washer (probably overkill), and a nut.
Step 6: Test Out Your Upgraded Helping Hands Tool.
As you can see in the pictures, the 25lb holding power of the magnetic base is more than enough to attach the Helping Hands tool to a metal pan....and even suspend it upside-down.
Step 7: Put Your New Tool Into Action.
Here's my setup. Now you and I can use one hand and a lot of force to manipulate the alligator clips and rods as we see fit.
If you want to see what I make with the assistance of the Helping Hands tool, then please go to www.ClayClothMetalCraft.com and take a look around. I just started this site, but I put more projects on it as the weeks go by. Once there, you can subscribe to my site and download my free guide "How to Make (Torch Braze) a Simple Wire Wheel.
Thanks for reviewing this...and my website. I hope you like what I provided.