PCB Soldering Tip #3: Bend Leads

About: A Bay Area native interested in electronics, mechanics, and robotics, and automobiles. Formerly the electronics captain of Team 100 in the FIRST Robotics Competition, I now study Mechanical Engineering at U...

If you're trying to solder through-hole components with long leads into a PCB, here's a simple tip that will keep them in place while your board is upside down and you join lead and pad.  Just place your component where you want it and on the underside of the board, bend the leads sharply to the sides.  The angle doesn't have to be too great, but it's important to make the bend abrupt.  We want an angle, not a curve.  I find the easiest way to do this is by either pressing on the lead with your fingernail at its base, or by using a small pair of needle-nose pliers.  After the leads are bent, the component will stay in place when you flip the board upside down to solder and snip away excess.

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