On the previous page, I discussed buying some PTFE-insulated wire and printing a spool to hold it. While we’re on the topic of wire, have you ever had difficulty soldering strands of wire together or soldering a wire to a part? The most common solution is a 'helping hands’ alligator clip device. But, it is difficult to get two clips aligned with respect to each other and lock that position.
Helping hands vise
Recently, I bought a soldering helper with more flexible arms. They’re easier to roughly position, but difficult to fine tune due to springback.
Hobby Creek Pana hand with alligator clips
Aside: Attached to the alligator clips looks to be some Teflon tubing to prevent marring the wire or component being held. This is a nice feature. I moved some of the tubing to my standard helping-hands holder.
Silicone tubing on alligator clips
As useful as this holder is for many applications, arm alignment is still fairly coarse. I ran across a DIY device on the interweb that is better suited for fixed-distance tasks. It consists of wooden clothes pins secured to a base.
Wire soldering fixture made of clothes pins
Mine is slightly fancier in that the clothes pin are screwed in and there are a number of holes to allow multiple clothes pins to be positioned in various configurations. But, there’s nothing wrong with just gluing the clothes pin to a wooden block.
Top of base
The soldering fixture is easy to use. Just place each wire in the jaws of adjoining clothes pins, and then your hands are free to hold the solder and soldering iron.
Wires ready to solder on fixture
As you can see in the picture above, I removed the angled tips from the clothes pins because they would simply get in the way. The clothes pins were held in a vise and sawed off with a hacksaw.
Sawing off tips of clothespin
I picked a couple of different sizes of clothes pins from Amazon. I thought the Mini Craft Clothespin might be useful for very small parts.
But, I had no idea they would be this small!
Regular clothespin versus mini clothespin
What are these? Clothes pins for ants?
Wooden clothes pins provide several advantages over metal alligator clips:
Obviously, avoid using plastic clothes pins. They’ll melt.
In order to drill the screw holes for repositioning the clothes pins on the base, the clothes pins were separated into two halves by pulling them apart. After drilling, they are reasonably easy to reassemble.
Separated clothespin with one half drilled
The half of clothes pin (cloth pin?) is held in a vise. This is a good reason to avoid rounded or fancy shape pins.
Drilling holes in bottom half of clothespin
Now let’s see how the base was made.