Helpful Helping Hands

Tired of those  not-so-helpful helping hands letting you down?  Well not any more!

They look mean, and they wrestle those “old hands” to the mat!    The old hands are shown here crying for mercy (in mid-air) just before being thrown down:

and hammered mercilessly with 100,000 volts (can yours do that?):

But seriously, these hands are the best I’ve ever had, and they’re easy to make.   The joints are flexible, yet stay firmly in-place; perfect for soldering and holding probes.   The end-effectors (shown here with clip-leads) can be easily swapped out to support different tooling requirements.   Here’s a shot of the hands doing real work:

The jointed segments are “Loc-Line” modular hose.   Connected to the base (Panavise PV-300) is 1/2″ diameter Loc-Line (from rising to a bifurcated fitting splitting off into two 1/4″ segments.   Here’s how they come (the 1/2″ kit has two segments, only one is shown):

To make the helping hands, you’ll need a 1/4″ hose kit, a 1/2″ sample kit, a pack of 1/2″ to 1/4″ reducers, 1/4″ and 1/2″ assembly pliers (supposedly they aren’t necessary, but I wasn’t able to make all the connections without them), and additional 1/4″ round nozzles (a parts list is at the end of the blog entry).

To make the tool-holders on the ends of the “arms”, I ran over to Ace Hardware, and picked up some 10-32 bolts, nylon spacers, and 8/32 set-screws:

I threaded the nylon spacers, and fed the screw up through the bottom of the 1/4″ nozzle, and tightened it into the nylon.   The other end of the nylon spacer was drilled out to accept a clip, then a set-screw hole was drilled & tapped.  After assembly, the nozzle was snapped into place on the end of each 1/4″ arm.

A 1/2″ NPT connector (provided in the 1/2″ kit) was snapped onto the bottom of a 1/2″ segment,  then sanded down to fit into the Panavise base.

Parts list (other colours are availble):

1 40413-Blk   Loc-line 1/4″ hose kit – $7.85
1 50813-Blk   Loc-Line 1/2″ sample kit – $8.85
1 51822-Blk   Loc-Line 1/2″ to 1/4″ reducer (pack of 2 “splitters”) – $6.65
1 41404-Blk   Loc-Line 1/4″ round nozzle (pack of 4) – $3.90
1 78003          Loc-Line 1/4″ and 1/2″ plier set – $17.78
Shipping:        Around $10.

Panavise Base:  $$priceless$$

Total: $37 in parts not including the plier set & base.  You’ll have enough “spare parts” to make a second set of helping hands just by ordering another 1/4″ hose kit (40413-Blk) — I did.

UPDATE – If two hands are good, four are better!!

“May the hands be with you!”

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