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Soldering: Need Two More Hands

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Oct 22, 2005.

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  1. Guest


    There's the soldering iron, the wire, the solder, and the work.

    How the hell do you guys do it.(I was only born with *two* hands).

    And if I'm lucky enough to bring everything to the exact same
    spot(which is a crap shoot) the solder is either not melting, or
    melting too fast so that I'm chasing little balls of solder(like it's
    mercury) around the point it's was supposed to harden.

    Someone have a video? :)


    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
  2. kell

    kell Guest

    There's the soldering iron, the wire, the solder, and the work.
    Get the "helping hand" soldering aid with clips on flexible arms that
    will hold the parts so you can solder them. carries
    them, and probably a lot of other suppliers do.
  3. Impmon

    Impmon Guest


    My most difficult challenge was stringing SMD LEDs that are only 3mm
    long by 1mm wide on 2 strings of bare wires. I need a hand for
    tweezer for the LED, 2 hands to hold both sides of the wire, 1 hand
    for the solder, 1 hand for the iron, and one more for the magnifying

    Some of those can be reduced if you picked up a stand that has 2 clips
    and magnifying glass from almost any electronics store (including
    Radio Shack) but it still takes practice to hold the wire or object,
    the iron, and solder together at once.

    You could also practice eating with chopsticks. It takes practice to
    hold 2 sticks in one hand only.
  4. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    first off, if soldering loose parts get the solder sticking to both parts
    individually then hold one in the vice (or between your knees etc :) get a
    blob of solder hanging off your soldering iron hold put down the solder pick
    up the other part and solder them together, If you've got a cheap soldering
    iron like me the blob of solder will be real hot by now and take a few
    seconds to set.

    There's a tool you can get with little ball-jointed arms with aligator clips
    on the ends, but I made my own using some #4 (I think) conduit cable which
    is stiff enough to hold its shape and a mid-sized aligator clip. I wedged
    the cable in a crack in my work bench.

  5. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    they have what is called a little mini vice. and
    board holder.
  6. cpemma

    cpemma Guest

    If it's a pcb, fit the lowest components first (eg links), lay face down on
    a beer mat to hold them in place and solder up. Fit next lowest (eg
    resistors & diodes) and gradually work up to the tallest. Drink the beer.

    There is a video, (but
    *don't* flick excess solder off when soldering indoors, it gets in the
  7. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    Tin the soldering iron, tin the wire, hold the wire in one
    hand and the iron in the other. With the work lying on the
    bench, place and hold the wire to the correct spot, and
    bring the iron to that spot until the solder melts. Remove
    the iron while still holding the wire in place. Repeat at
    the other end of the wire. It is now "tacked" in place.
    You can go back to each end, heat the joint and apply solder
    to it - the joint, not the iron - until it melts. Then
    remove the solder and the iron. Sometimes you need to
    hold the tacked wire in place while at the same time
    feeding solder to the joint and holding the iron to the
    point. You can develop a technique where you hold a pencil
    in your fist, and the solder in the thumb & forefinger
    of that hand. The eraser end of the pencil holds the
    wire in place an inch or two from the joint, you feed the
    solder with your thumb and forefinger while heating the joint
    with the iron held in your other hand.

    You don't keed a lot of solder. You do need a clean, tinned
    iron, and tinning the parts being assembled can be a big
    help. Always tin the wire before soldering it to the circuit.
    And always make sure that what you are soldering it to is clean.

  8. Others have suggested "third hand" devices or mini-vises. If
    you're in a rush (or can't afford such toolery right now),
    improvise; stack books or whatever to hold the wire in place, and do
    whatever you need to so that the work holds still.

    I just had to join three Cat-5 patch cords together to make an
    ethernet cable long enough to reach (they were all I had on hand),
    and without the right tools; bench vise etc.) so I did the
    book-stacking trick, tweaking things so that the wires I wanted to
    join were touching, for each friggin' pair of wires. Strip, tin,
    stack, tweak, cut and slip on heatshrink, solder, heatshrink,
    re-tweak, etc. Sixteen solder joints, five minutes from first strip
    to plug-n-pray. Worked fine.

    Oh, yeah; practice.
    What kind of solder are you trying to use, and how hot is your
    iron? Tinning the parts to be soldered before actually trying to
    solder them together does help as other have said, but make sure you
    have decent flux-cored solder and the right iron.

    Little solder balls usually indicates inadequate/no flux or a
    too-cold iron; flux cleans off the inevitable oxide layer on metals
    which solder will not stick to, and you must heat the work (or wire)
    to the point that the flux melts out of the solder onto the work
    first as you touch the solder to the work. Then as the solder melts
    it flows easily onto the work.

    If the insulation just starts to melt, your iron's hot enough. ;>)
    Prolly one out there somewhere, but nothing beats practice.

    Mark L. Fergerson
  9. J Shrum

    J Shrum Guest

    Fortunately most of us have 10 fingers... At some point of practice, you
    should be able to get 2 sets of fingers on each hand to do something
    separate. For instance, I use my right hand for the iron, and my left index
    and thumb to hold the solder, and pinky and ring finger on left to hold the
    work i'm soldering... often times I also use my right hand to hold the
    soldering iron, and the other wire i'm trying to solder to...

    As someone already said... practice.
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