Pin Header Sizing Machine

[Ammon Allgaier] built a tool that can break apart pin headers with a high level of precision. In the video after the break he demonstrates the built-in features. They include an adjustable stop to select the number of pins you’d like in each chopped segment. There’s also a small groove in the input side which the plastic frame of the header rides in. Just insert until it is touching the stop, and push down to break the header at the correct location. A couple of springs return the cutting tooth to its resting position, allowing you to make quick work of chipping up a 40-pin blank. This machine will become a nice companion for that automatic wire cutter.

This is great for single headers but we’ve long been on the lookout for a reliable way to snap off double pin headers. Far too often we make mistakes when trying to use two pair of pliers. If you know of a better way, please share your method in the comments.


41 thoughts on “Pin Header Sizing Machine

  1. I line mine up with one of those razor scraper things for paint. mine is nice and straight from the back of the handle to the end of the razor, so if I cant do it by hand, a good tap with a hammer will push the blade cleanly through the headers.

  2. Modify a Weller soldering Gun – replace the standard tip [FYI – I make replacement ones from a length of #14 copper wire flattened at the tip area and bend to shape]. A length of nichrome wire between the two terminals of the gun make a hot wire cutter for the headers.

  3. I use a screwdriver as a chisel. I line it up and hammer it with a heavy pair or pliers. I like using tools for non intended purposes. But seriously, it actually gives a pretty clean edge for double row headers

  4. You can separate two or three at a time with two pairs of pliers. Just make sure you use them to grip either side of where you want the split and there is no way the break can form anywhere but where you want it.

    Alternatively you can do the same sort of thing with a vice and one pair of pliers.

  5. I’ve never really considered any way to cut header, other than flush cutters (kudos spiderwebby), any decent set of cutters will make quick work of single, double or triple (yes, triple) headers.

    Though this is obviously handy for large quantities of single row header, and it’s quite nicely made = job well done. +1.

  6. LOL. This takes a simple task that can be quickly performed by hand, and makes it a complex task which requires a large wooden apparatus.

    This is like killing a mosquito with an ancient black powder cannon. It’s not just overkill, it’s a pain in the ass!

  7. If you were building a bunch of boards and needed say 150 of the exact same header I can see something like this being extremely useful. A sharp X-Acto and a cardboard covered work surface is all I have ever needed. Diagonal pliers if I don’t care about the smashed plastic on the end.

  8. Okay, but can you re-size 2.5mm spacing down to 2mm?

    I’m trying to scrounge the other pin header to put in my Spy Gear Video Trakr and the 2.5mm stuff is all over the place. I just can’t seem to find any industrial stuff in our scrap area with the small stuff in it right now. :|

    Meh. It’ll come around.
    Something always does. ;)

  9. Pretty sweet construction. Still, who really has the space on their bench to devote to a machine like this? If it isn’t taking up that precious, very accessible space, it is certainly a lot more work than using a knife or just hands.

  10. I definitely see the usefulness in large builds. This could be handy at work.

    I’ve always used the plier method, but many times I get in a rush when breaking off multiple of the same size and make a mistake or two. So this could definitely be useful when breaking hundreds of headers. We never oder the exact size of header either, so breaking is always necessary.

  11. seems like the adjustment bit is a bit awkward and would require fine tuning each adjustment.
    Maybe you could use an example pin header, and use the pins themselves to control the spacing, so that the adjustment would be a simple lift and set onto the appropriate number of pins.

  12. I just use my pocket knife & my wife’s wooden cutting board. I may use 2 rows worth in a year. Way to much work to build a machine to do this. It is a good idea if you have time to kill.

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