Dollar Store Helping Hands for Soldering

Although [I Love To Make] appears to have text in Chinese, their recent video (see below) is like a wordless workshop so it won’t matter if you are up on your Mandarin or not. The soldering vise looks like it mostly came from a dollar store (or perhaps a yaun store).

As far as we can tell, the assembly is two utility clips like you might use on a cork board or to seal up chips, a Micro SIM cutter, and TV rabbit ears. Oh, and a syringe. The rabbit ears get mostly destroyed in the build process. You have to do some cutting and plastic melting, too (we might have used a drill), but nothing you couldn’t do with some simple hand tools. They don’t show it, but apparently, they drilled a hole in the SIM cutter, so you’ll need a drill anyway.

The result looks pretty good for a junk box build. We liked how it can fold up for storage. At about the 3:50 we thought the music had run out, but — alas — it started back up. You might want to mute your speakers.

If you are wondering what the syringe is for, half of it holds the solder spool and half of it acts as a guide for the solder. We aren’t sure why the SIM cutter was the base. It seemed like you could use anything heavy or maybe even something that would clamp to your work surface. However, it is unlikely you’ll build this exactly how they did anyway since your parts will be a little different.

We like work holders, if they are 3D printed or are very simple. After all, if you are going to build something, it needs to stay still while you work on it.

20 thoughts on “Dollar Store Helping Hands for Soldering

      1. Oh, now THAT^ will be interesting! Challenge accepted.

        DAY 1: Make a solar distiller out of half a coconut shell.
        DAY 2: Use the distillery to turn seawater into drinking water.
        DAY 3: Fine tune the process to produce coconut booze, too.
        DAY 4: Polish the inside of the other half of the coconut shell using the finest sand from the beach.
        DAY 5: Use the polished coconut as a parabolic mirror to send light signals, and broadcast:

        OPEN HOUSE PARTY. TOMORROW. ON THE BEACH OF MY TROPICAL ISLAND. BOOZE PLENTY. BRING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.

        :o)

  1. WOW!!! this will change my life… (that was sarcasm)

    What the video shows is how to make a “helping hand” from (apparently) new stuff bought from a dollar store. But isn’t that the same store where they also sell the amazing “helping hand” most likely for less then the sum of the parst shown in the video. A real “helping hand” would at least not break while using it, because it is made with real screws and welds or at least real glue. The video shows hot glue which breaks away from flat surfaces just by looking at it.

    I wonder how many of these amazing hacks we will see on hackaday. There are the lighter hacks which can be converted into a crappy soldering iron with some paperclips or the LED light made from a battery and an LED and a paperclip. Or perhaps the magnificent moustrap hack made from a bottle and a paperclip.

    In can only hope that the next articles on hackaday are “slightly” more serious.

      1. certainly… but none of those 3 were included in this article.
        Although technically, the clips shown were able to clip onto paper and are therefore by definition paperclips (not to be mistaken with clips made of paper that would really be a something)

    1. While I don’t want to start seeing cheesy “life hacks” videos on HAD it is kind of interesting to see what other people do on the quick and dirty sometimes. I’ve done PCB vices from clothes pins and bent wire hangers before and I’ve used magnetic chip clips on a cookie sheet to clamp 20/6 wires together for soldering so they all get done at the same time and are the same length. Could I go buy the right tools, sure, but I don’t need them that often and will it still be the right tool next time I need it?

  2. I do like the use of chip clips instead of alligator clips. Alligator clips have too little surface area to hold pcbs very well and it’s always a struggle for me to get a good grip with them

  3. This seems like a really bad idea. I have a bit of a hand tremor and investing in really high quality ‘helping hands’ has made all the difference. I really don’t think this is an area in which it pays to be cheap.

  4. I highly recommend using poster tack instead of a helping hands tool, you have as many hands as you want and don’t have to fidget around to achieve different angles. It’s worked for me for a few years.

  5. I have a leather mat often used by shoemakers which used to sit atop an expensive 3M antistatic mat, now the leather mat has sewed into it Velcro strips with the corresponding matching piece on various fixtures. Since the mat has good electrostatic bleed profile also use it now and then on one of the office desks without the underlying 3M mat…

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