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What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:03 am
by W. H. Heydt
I have seen small clamps (or clips) that consist of 2 flat pieces of Aluminum perhaps 3" long with a center pivot and a compression spring so that the device can be used to hold small parts together. Does anyone know what such a device is actually called? OR where I can can find some? A couple of them would seem to be ideal for holding a set of header pins in place to start soldering them to a Pi Zero.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:14 am
by DavidS
While I do know what you speak of, I do not know the name of it either, and it is a tool I often use.

Though for holding the header in place, a PCB vice works well, just offset so that you have access to one row of pins at one end, and both rows at the other, then solder opposite corners, remove from PCB Vice and finish soldering. If you do not have a PCB vice you can easily print one, there are a few good designs on http://thingiverse.com . For example this one: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2064269

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:17 am
by Douglas6
If I'm right, it's called a 'third hand'.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:32 am
by mahjongg
Its called a "handy hand", at least that is how I know it.
Perhaps we are talking about different things, mine consists a a small but heavy base with a vertical rod, to which a horizontal rod is mounted with thumb screws, on the end of the horizontal rod there are other horizontal rods ending in "wrists" to which crocodile clips are mounted. You can use these to (for example) hold to wires together so you can solder them together, often they are combined with a loupe. like this:

Image

Perhaps you mean something else, there are also soldering aids that are used to hold a PCB, so you can stick pin through hole parts in them, then turn the board upside-down to solder the wires to the board. Sometimes you can clamp a "lid" with a foam rubber like material over the parts so they do not fall out over the components. like this:

Image

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:03 am
by W. H. Heydt
I'm familiar with the "third hand" devices that use a heavy base, often have a magnifying glass and alligator clips, but that's not what I'm talking about. What I'm after are just little Aluminum clips what are thin enough to grab a header between the pins. They're hinged like scissors, but with a reverse action (the gripping ends open when the handle ends are squeezed together) and have a spring to close the gripping end. The spring is a coil spring held in compression between the "handle" ends. They're really very simple. Two flat pieces of metal riveted loosely together with a small spring to hold the gripping end closed.

Edit to add...it's possible they are intended to be a temporary heatsink.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:54 am
by FlexibleSigmoid

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:05 am
by W. H. Heydt
FlexibleSigmoid wrote:http://www.jameco.com/z/GT-CH51-Heat-Si ... fgodew4Dqw

This in fact is a heat sink clip.
Thank you! That is exactly what I'm talking about.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:14 am
by DavidS
FlexibleSigmoid wrote:http://www.jameco.com/z/GT-CH51-Heat-Si ... fgodew4Dqw

This in fact is a heat sink clip.
Thank you, I would never thought of them as a heat sink.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:50 am
by wayne.dolesman
EDIT: I will leave this here, but I see now that it was a heatsink that was being asked about.

This is what I used when I worked at a company doing this type of stuff. We called them circuit board clamps and google found this image based on that so apparently others do too.

Image

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:55 am
by FlexibleSigmoid
I just remember getting them in a start soldering iron fire stick kit. Couldn't figure out what the heck they were util I read the BOM that came with. (And finding out that if you left the iron on a joint too long and had that clamp pulling off the extra heat, it burned little fingers really really well.)

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:14 am
by mahjongg
FlexibleSigmoid wrote:http://www.jameco.com/z/GT-CH51-Heat-Si ... fgodew4Dqw

This in fact is a heat sink clip.
I remember these from the time of the germanium transistor, you clipped them on the wires of the transistor when soldering the leads, so that the germanium transistor would not overheat and stop working.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:28 pm
by Heater
As noted those are little heat sink clips. Intended to clip onto component leads whist soldering so a to soak heat way and protect the device from thermal damage.

Now, why do you need any such clamps to hold headers in place whist soldering?

Typically one would insert the header and solder a single pin in a corner of the header. Then check the header is sitting flat and true on the board. If it's not you can reflow the solder on the corner pin and tweak the header into position. Then solder the diagonally opposite pin. Check alignment again and reflow if necessary. Now that header is not going to move and you can solder the rest of the pins.

With a bit of deft finger work one can hold the board and header together and apply solder with one hand whilst wielding the soldering iron with the other.

This all takes longer to write than to do !

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:28 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Heater wrote: With a bit of deft finger work...
That's why, right there. My fingers are no longer deft. I'll be 68 in less than a month. I need all the help I can get.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:39 pm
by Heater
I'm not far behind you. I begin to appreciate the lack if deftness problem. If only I could stop things shaking around long enough to jab the iron at them.

A blob of blue-tack or an inch of electrical tape should hold the header long enough.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:38 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Heater wrote:I'm not far behind you. I begin to appreciate the lack if deftness problem. If only I could stop things shaking around long enough to jab the iron at them.

A blob of blue-tack or an inch of electrical tape should hold the header long enough.
What I've been doing is sticking the header into a prototyping board far enough that the other connectors support the opposite edge. I think the "clip on heat sinks" will work better and they're cheap. Since I think I friend of mine with make the clever PCB vise that was posted above, the clips and the vise will be just about ideal for holding things while I add headers to a Pi Zero.

No hurry, though as Adafruit, Pi Hut and Pimoroni are all out of stock on Pi Zeros at the moment.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:23 pm
by BMS Doug
W. H. Heydt wrote:
Heater wrote:I'm not far behind you. I begin to appreciate the lack if deftness problem. If only I could stop things shaking around long enough to jab the iron at them.

A blob of blue-tack or an inch of electrical tape should hold the header long enough.
What I've been doing is sticking the header into a prototyping board far enough that the other connectors support the opposite edge. I think the "clip on heat sinks" will work better and they're cheap. Since I think I friend of mine with make the clever PCB vise that was posted above, the clips and the vise will be just about ideal for holding things while I add headers to a Pi Zero.

No hurry, though as Adafruit, Pi Hut and Pimoroni are all out of stock on Pi Zeros at the moment.
If its a Pi zero header you could consider the Pimoroni hammer header, I wouldn't use one myself but they certainly remove the problem of soldering

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:43 pm
by W. H. Heydt
BMS Doug wrote: If its a Pi zero header you could consider the Pimoroni hammer header, I wouldn't use one myself but they certainly remove the problem of soldering
Pi Hut has those as well, and I find it interesting, though I'm a bit hesitant to hit a Pi with a hammer.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:55 pm
by Heater
What is all this about "the problem of soldering"?

Every Pi user should be acquainted with soldering.

It's dead easy and the second most satisfying activity in life.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:10 pm
by DavidS
Heater wrote:What is all this about "the problem of soldering"?

Every Pi user should be acquainted with soldering.

It's dead easy and the second most satisfying activity in life.
+1

With the first most satisfying activity in life being designing the electronics that you are going to solder, and the third most being testing your design.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:20 pm
by hippy
I would say the most satisfying thing in life is turning on any home constructed equipment and having it not explode or smoke, the bench supply not current limiting. Though that might just be relief. I always have a huge amount of trepidation when first powering things up, even if I have 'checked everything a bazillion times' and am confident everything is okay.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:23 pm
by Heater
DavidS, hippy,

Hmm...remember those fabulous creatures called girls? Falling in love and all that?

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:08 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Heater wrote:What is all this about "the problem of soldering"?

Every Pi user should be acquainted with soldering.

It's dead easy and the second most satisfying activity in life.
Right up there with "every programmer should know FORTRAN", right? I will add that I have soldered header pins onto Pi0 boards and that one positive thing about unpopulated headers is that one can add only the number needed. One Pi0 has only 4 pins on it...because what it attached to it is an RTC. That said, the things I do with Pis are almost exclusively done in software.

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:09 pm
by W. H. Heydt
hippy wrote:I would say the most satisfying thing in life is turning on any home constructed equipment and having it not explode or smoke, the bench supply not current limiting. Though that might just be relief. I always have a huge amount of trepidation when first powering things up, even if I have 'checked everything a bazillion times' and am confident everything is okay.
There is a reason that the time you power on a new piece of equipment it is often called a "smoke test".

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:10 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Heater wrote:DavidS, hippy,

Hmm...remember those fabulous creatures called girls? Falling in love and all that?
You mean like my wife of nearly 46 years?

Re: What is this soldering aid called?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:13 pm
by rpdom
Heather wrote:Hmm...remember those fabulous creatures called girls? Falling in love and all that?
I couldn't be bothered with all that messing around.

I just got a wife delivered to me for a sum of money (sort of - it's a long story ;-) ). She buys me a Pi now and again. I couldn't be happier :D