Robotic Helping Hand Stabilizes Soldering Projects

Joshua Belofsky's project serves as an experimental way of automating your soldering process.

Cabe Atwell
13 days agoRobotics / Sensors

This person must hate those ancient “helping hands” clamps, too. Built with just a few parts — a 3D-printed base and upper body, two servos, and a custom PCB with an Arduino Nano — a robotic helping hand, or robotic stabilization for soldering, is an experimental way to add some automation to the soldering process. The robotic hand was developed as an alternative to clunkier, metal-jointed helping hands sometimes used to stabilize. Rather than manually manipulating a circuit board and adjusting multiple joints each time you need to change its position, simply gesture with the soldering iron to reposition it.

You can see in the GIF above that the stabilizer tracks the motion of the soldering gone with a gyroscope and an accelerometer; this is the default “tracking” mode. Lock mode, activated by a switch on the base, locks the PCB being worked on in place. The final mode, also switch-activated, is a calibrate mode that registers the current position of the soldering iron as “home.” The two servos allow the platform to move both horizontally and vertically, responding to yaw and pitch changes on the soldering iron’s gyroscope, which is connected to the custom PCB by a jumper cable.

While all the code and STL files are available via GitHub, along with a full parts list, a kit is also purchasable from the store of the creator, Joshua Belofsky AKA VoltGE). All necessary hardware, electronics, and sensors are included, and the Arduino Nano is calibrated and pre-programmed with the stabilization code. A more in-depth demonstration and details of how it works can be seen below.

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