This is a solderer’s best helper, the third hand. Comes with a heavy base, two alligator clips, a soldering iron holder, and a good magnifying glass. Note that we don’t normally need a third hand. It’s nice, but soldering flat on a table works just fine. Then again, the desk is starting to look like a mine field of burn marks and melted pot holes.
What we’ve found with many of these cheaper third hand is the lack of stability. The small base on this unit does not make the problem any better. However, with some creativity, you can make it more stable. We also really enjoyed the fact that this unit has a iron holder. Cheap fire-starting soldering irons often do not include a holding stand - this third hand can help prevent accidents and melt marks in the dining room table.
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Based on 8 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Pretty solid stand. I only planned on using the actual hands but the magnifying glass/iron stand comes off (I’m also fairly certain that if you put an iron in it the whole thing would tip. The base is heavy but not that heavy). I also recommend putting a piece of heat shrink tubing on either jaw of each hand so whatever you’re holding isn’t scratched.
As others mentioned the base is a little small but that didn’t bother me at all because I just taped a old HDD magnet to the table and that stuck so well to the bottom of this thing that it started pulling the duct tape off the table rather than letting go of the 3rd hand. Bottom line I could put a 1lb soldering iron in the holder and it won’t fall over.
The outer box arrived looking good, but the glass lens inside had a sizable chip. It was protected with two really wimpy pieces of cardboard and nothing else, so the lens damage is not that surprising. Not bothering to RMA as it seems to be fine otherwise, but the packaging of the glass needs to be improved.
Other ideas for improvement that I see right off the bat:
1) Higher-quality thumb-screws – specify a smaller thread pitch for easier adjustment; use high-strength steel to avoid stripping. The current one require some force to lock to a stable state.
2) Use a clip mechanism that allows the compression to be adjusted as-needed. I’d be worried to grasp delicate items with the current alligators.
This is a pretty basic third hand tool. We do have one that’s a little more robust, but lacks the magnifying lens. I’m going to contact you directly about that issue. Happy hacking!
This works really well and I love it, but I’m forced to give this 3 stars because inside it’s box it was really dirty and dusty. Also I was disappointed that there were dead bugs In there as well, so for this being the first time I have purchased stuff from SparkFun it kind of discourages me from making purchases like these in the future from SparkFun.(I would like to specify that it was not the red box that everything comes in and instead the box for the third hand its self)
Update[1/23/2017]: I do have to say SparkFun does have very nice customer service, and after using it quite the bit it works well but the nuts keeping the clips on constantly need to be screwed on further after use. (By the way thank you SparkFun for the great customer service and I’m still a happy SparkFun customer)
Wow, really sorry to hear that. I’m going to contact you directly about this.
This is so useful! I use it for all of my projects that require soldering. It’s a great cheap option for a third hand if you don’t want to create a hole in your wallet by buying a more expensive one. I’m not a huge fan of the magnifying glass, it doesn’t really help me much and it gets in the way, but the other parts of it are really helpful.
Like many similar products and their respective reviews, don’t expect it to be terribly sturdy, especially if you plan on using the iron-holder. It works well enough as a “third-hand,” though, and is FAR better than not having an alternative. Proceed with caution, but if budgetary considerations leave this or nothing, go with this.
Hi, You are right, this is a more basic third hand. If you need one that is more robust, have a look at this one! https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11784 Happy hacking
Haven’t used it to hold the iron but it works good as a third hand.