SOS: Emergency Soldering Buddy

About: I am a Student at the University of Michigan, studying Computer Engineering. I love to make things, work on teams, teach, learn, and assist others. I design circuits for the Kasper Space Lab and do some free...

SOS - Save Our Soldering!

Soldering buddies are really handy tools to have around, but say yours broke and you haven't replaced it yet; or perhaps you're a young aspiring student who doesn't have a way to get to one or the money to buy one ($17 at radioshack). In these cases, save time and save money by fashioning a makeshift one!

The reason for this project was that I found myself needing to solder the wires for my stereo to the adaptor, and didn't want to struggle with the wires. Sure, I could have driven 20 minutes to radio shack and 20 minutes back, but time is money, especially on my day off. Instead, I brainstormed my own! This build will take about 5 minutes, and save you nearly 20 bucks, and probably at least half an hour in time. Let's begin!

(Not liable for injuries that occur with this. There will be nails involved. Be warned.)

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Step 1: Materials and Tool(s)

The materials and tools are simple, cheap, and you probably have a plethora of these laying around if you work in a workshop even semi-often.


1. Scrap wood! (I used a 5 inch spare cut of 2"x4" wood)
2. 2+" nails (x2) (long enough to drive firmly into the wood, but have room to stand well over the top of the wood)
3. Electrical tape
4. Alligator Clips (x2)


1. Hammer
2. Saw (for if you don't have a short cut of wood laying around already)

That's it! See, that wasn't so bad.

Step 2: Build-A-Buddy

To begin your soldering buddy build, simply take your scrap wood, and hammer the two nails in about 2"-3" apart, with the heads of the nails sticking well above the top of the wood. (You do not have to, nor should you, drive the nail all the way through the wood. That wouldn't make it a great platform...)

Once you've got the nails in place, take your electrical tape, and tape your two alligator clips to the top of the nails, with the clips facing so that they both open parallel to each other, in order to use them to line up the wires. Ensure you can still open your clips when you're done taping them. If not, try again.

Bonus: For better stability of your clips, wrap the tape tightly around the head of the nail and the alligator clip first, then continue to wrap tightly down the neck of the nail.

Step 3: Solder!

You're now ready to clip your wires in, and solder them together! This project is ideal for time saving, and can be easily disassembled when you're finished, as to not leave a Frankenstein-ian creation laying around the shop (lord knows you've got enough of those already...).

I hope you've enjoyed the instructable! Please leave comments with questions and ideas!

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    7 Discussions


    Cool idea. Heads up, try to avoid using elec. tape as it degrades due to heat and if using flux, the left overs can gel up the adhesive. Makes the worst mess if you ever have to go back in . +1 for doing solder at all when most would just twist the wires and tape it up. I use heat shrink and keep pieces everywhere so i always have them.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the tips! I was planning to use heat shrink, but came to find I used my supply up on my last electronics project. Thanks for checking out my instructable!

    If you do, please be sure to let me know how you execute the movable arms part! I'd love to have more freedom with the quick build.

    Turned out wonderful! A much more permanent solution than this instructable, if anyone is looking for a more long-term soldering buddy, definitely check this one out!


    4 years ago

    Yes, I'll post the link here.