Friday, October 9, 2015

Mini Project - PCB Vise

I've wanted a Panavise for a long time, but have only had a cheap set of Helping Hands.  I've put off buying one since I figured that I should be able to put something together that would work just as well.

Finally, after acquiring 5 flexible goosenecks from an old lamp, seeing an add for an awesome helping hand in Make Magazine, and realizing I have some scrap aluminum T-slot extrusion (20mmx20mm from the company 8020, they have an Ebay page for public sales.

This project only took an afternoon to workup, 3D Print and put together.

Materials for project:
  • Section of Square 20mm x 20mm Aluminum T-Slot Extrusion
  • 6 x M5 Button Cap with hex drive (rounded top with hex key slot in center)
  • 6 x M5 nut to fit T-slot
  • 2 x M3 Button Cap with hex drive
  • Nylon Spacer
  • Old Gooseneck Desk Lamp (for the Gooseneck - look at Goodwill or Yard Sales)
Tools for project:
  • 3D-Printer (you could substitute more square T-slot for the clamp and a piece of aluminum angle to fabricate the attachment to the gooseneck)
  • Hex keys (or screw drivers, depending on the type of screw used)
    • note - you can easily substitute different types of screw into the design - knurled thumbscrews, phillips head, slot/blade head, torx, square, etc. as long as it is compatible with the T-Slot you are using
Pictures of parts, assembly and finished prototype:
All the parts
Parts for each side of vise
Guide assembly (3mm screw and nylon collar - cut down and melted onto screw)
Mount secured to GooseNeck

Mount Secured to T-Slot with M5 screws
Jaws secured with M5 screws and nuts

Vise in action

This is only the temporary mount for the PCB Vise - my plan is to mount it to a board on my work bench along with additional tools (lights, airflow, holders/clamps, magnifiers) using the other goose neck pieces that I have.  In the meantime, this is working great and makes work a lot easier.

Design files for clamp and attachment of gooseneck to T-Slot.
  • Thingiverse Link

By far the coolest helping hand (as well as the actual awsome one I mention above) for building circuits boards is PCB-Grip.  This company has the nicest set of hardware tools for prototyping, building and debugging PCB's that I've seen.  Currently they are beyond my meager budget - but we can all dream.