DIY smart tweezers make SMD work a cinch

diy_smd_smart_tweezers

[Noel] does a lot of SMD work and wanted a pair of “smart” tweezers that could be used to place components as well as for reading their capacitance and resistance values on the fly. As we have seen, these things can be somewhat costly, and not really necessary if you already have a good multimeter. With that in mind, he figured he could build his own for almost nothing.

He started off with a pair of kids’ “training” chopsticks which are durable, but more importantly, non-conductive. He took a second pair of tweezers, this time made of metal, and split them in two. He soldered wire to a set of ring terminals, mounting one on each leg of his broken tweezers. The final bit of assembly involved using zipties to mount everything on the plastic chopsticks along with the addition of banana plugs to the end of his probes.

[Noel] says that the tweezers work quite well, and with such a low price tag, we can’t argue.

Comments

  1. andar_b says:

    I recall a similar build using pieces of old ISA cards with the gold slot contacts on the points of the tweezer. I don’t know if I saw that here on HaD or elsewhere, though.

  2. Cubby says:

    Very nice. Gonna build a set for myself.

  3. vtl says:

    Considering you can buy this multimeter attachment off eBay for a few dollars why not just buy it?

    eg:

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/SMD-Test-Clip-Meter-Probe-multimeter-Tweezer-capacitor-/140564083563?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item20ba45b36b

    • Jim says:

      I bought a pair of those, and like all cheap tweezers the points don’t meet cleanly, but the metal is so thin at the tip that it is very difficult to bend. I can see myself carrying out an “improvement” similar to this hack on them in the near future.

  4. Ian says:

    Uh, aren’t the long leads going to cause some accuracy problems with small values capacitors?

    • bearmos says:

      this was my first thought as well – you can forget about using this to figure out what crystal load caps you were trying to sort out. . . the leads are going to have more capacitance than the capacitor most likely.

      the example on his blog shows it measuring .22uF. i wonder how it does with smaller values?

  5. dave-o says:

    Pomona makes them.

    http://www.pomonaelectronics.com/pdf/d5678_1_01.pdf

    Amazon sells them.

    I own the fluke 4 wire version for my bench meter. Very nice. The Pomonas are awesome though, and built every bit as well as the rest of the Pomona gear.

  6. bearmos says:

    This would be really handy for something like 0603 or 0402 resistors, which aren’t labeled – I’d just do some initial testing before trusting it with capacitors.

  7. Mark A says:

    I didn’t know what SMD stoud for as it’s AATNK (An Abrivation That Nobody Knows)
    or ASGORLTCSFAYWIT (A Stupid Group Of Random Letters That Could Stand For Anything You Want It To)
    I’ve looked up the meaning and found the answer at http://www.internetslang.com/SMD.asp

    I hope you don’t do a lot of SMD work !

    • QW says:

      Surface mount device. And everyone on HAD knows what it means but you.

    • onitam says:

      Yeah, good for you for looking that up. But you really didn’t need to get all snippy. Most if not all of us know what an SMD part is. The other abbrev would be SMT or Surface Mount Technology. If you click the little tag at the bottom of the post you can see that a wide variety of SMD stuff has been posted in the past. It really isn’t all that uncommon at all.

    • Eirinn says:

      Anyone with decent electronics knowledge knows what SMD stands for.

    • sawo says:

      Yeah, i always go on sites that cover a special field of interest, and then flame around that i don’t know the abbreviations that come with that particular interest. if you don’t know what SMD stands for and you are unable to look it up properly, you’re most probably wrong here.

  8. MCMLXII says:

    SND stands for Strategic Missile Defense

    or is it Sega Mega Drive
    or Simian Mobile Disco
    or Senile Macular Degeneration
    or Security Mounted Detector
    or …

  9. steve says:

    Awesome. Here in Germany you can get them in decent quality for about 10 Euro/ 14 Dollar. But you have to pay shipping and wait for it. Building it yourself is a really good idea, as it is cheaper, quicker, can be built with BNC/SMA whatever connector and best of all – IS MORE FUN. Thanks!

  10. iHME says:

    Didn’t some guy make those from PCB material too?
    I think it was posted here a few years back.

  11. gnusci says:

    Nice DIY, I will build one, I am new to SMD, so very handy HaD post. Thanks.

  12. morganism says:

    I used a pair of stainless steel chopsticks, hacked off the small ends, inserted sewing machine needles (they have thicker bodies), and brazed them on.

    Hacked off the back, and inserted stacked banana plus, so i can hook it thru a cheap meter, and my Blue ESR meter.

    Covered the length of the chopsticks with shrink Tube, and the barrels of the needles with electrical tape.

    Blue ESR doesn’t go as low as some, but makes a great board checking tool. and the needles get in deep under the can caps.

  13. kuhltwo says:

    I have something similar. But this is a bit better.
    Some of the other suggestions sound worth trying out as well. Have to do some experimenting to see which I like the best.

  14. Whatnot says:

    Ironically I’ve seen the tweezers for multimeters on sale, but I never saw those ‘training chopsticks’ before, so those would probably be harder to find for me than the ready-made electronics tweezers, go figure eh.

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