3D-Printed Soldering Helping Hands

Thingiverse user mistertech published his Soldering Helping Hands device last year. Even though it’s not particularly new, I can’t get over incredibly how useful this simple, 3D-printed design is.

3D printed helping hands holding wires spliced together

You may ask, “Why do I need another single-purpose device on my desk, which is already covered with irons, clippers, flux, solder, rework stations, etc.?” I’ll tell you why: It’s not a single-purpose device.

I already have a set of helping hands on my desk that are wonderfully useful for holding boards, wires, parts, etc. when I need to solder things at weird angles. However, I find that they have a habit of biting into my wire insulation (yes, I even wrapped the alligator clips with tape, and yes, those sharp jaws eventually make their way through it).

Bite marks in wire insulation

Enter mistertech’s Soldering Helping Hands. The (relatively) cushy ABS or PLA plastic bits do not bite into your precious wire insulation. The rudimentary clamp seems to do fine holding everything in place, and there’s enough space to hold up to six wires! When you’re trying to tin a bunch of stripped ends, this can be a lifesaver.

3D printed helping hands holding wires being tinned

Of course, you can use it to hold wires to be spliced together. That was the intended purpose. In all honesty, I probably do that the least with this little clamp. Oddly enough, I often find myself having to solder a resistor directly to an LED to be used as an indicator light on a project. Guess what? These “helping hands” save the day again.

3D printed helping hands holding LED with resistor

Add some heat shrink tubing, and you’ve got yourself an LED with a built-in limiting resistor!

Heat shrink tubing over limiting resistor connected to LED

These “helping hands” are useful for holding small-ish cylindrical objects close together so you can get at them with a soldering iron. While it accomplishes a very similar purpose to traditional helping hands, it saves you some time fussing over positioning and sharp alligator teeth. For wire tinning and splicing, I reach for mistertech’s device. If I need to hold a PCB perpendicular to a set of headers while I solder, I still use my traditional helping hands.

If you enjoy soldering and have access to a 3D printer, do yourself a favor and print mistertech’s Soldering Helping Hands. You’ll be glad you did.

What other 3D printed devices do you recommend for helping you organize or build your projects?

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