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July 30, 2013
about 8 years ago
I really like these clips, I have a few from other companies (same cost and qty) but these are the best I've tried at this price point. They are not soldered inside where the wire meets the clip which can over time break down. But I have not had this issue with this set.
about 8 years ago
I, like others before me, cannot believe I soldered anything without having one of these. The scorched tables, the blistered fingers, the cramped hands from trying to use a pinky to do a thumb's job... The third hand should really be recommended right up there with flux and tip tinner. You don't NEED them to solder (you really just need heat and... solder) but you really SHOULD try to acquire them before you go insane. I would definitely suggest adding this to your cart if you ever plan on feeling the tips of your fingers again.
Onto the actual piece. I'll start with the base and work up.
The base is heavy, considering how small it is. It will do well holding small circuits or boards, but beware if you plan on hanging your soldering iron in the included holster. You might want to consider mounting it to a larger board or to your workbench itself if you want to use it as a solder iron stand too. I don't plan on using it as such, so I left mine free.
The arms are what they are. Dual ball & socket joins attached to bars or clips and tightened with a wing-nut. Pretty rudimentary, but also pretty genius. They do what they are supposed to do, which is hold things for you. They are easily manipulated by gently loosening the wing-nuts and then retightening them. This might add a little delay because its tedious to work with on some level. But for a beginner its likely that you will be fidgeting with the placement of the board for a while anyway so a few extra seconds isn't going to make or break your process. For someone who can set up a solder station blindfolded, this thing may be more frustrating to you than its worth (which is pretty cheap!)
The glass is dirty. Was dirty. Still sort of is. It's not a camera lens though so I don't mind. And it will likely continue to gather dust and filth so really, I don't mind. Its not like looking through a grime coated window, but its not like looking through a freshly Windexed window either. But the magnification is great, especially if you have older eyes that are prone to crossing while working on such tiny things so close to your face. The glass is also on an adjustable arm, but its limited, so if you need it much farther than a few inches away from your project, you might want to look into extending its arm. (Which could be pretty easy, but I haven't tried.)
The end report is a pretty decent quality piece for a decent price. Yea there are better third hands out there, but this one is just as good if you are looking for something inexpensive that works. I would recommend it to someone starting out into soldering and electronics. If you really get into the hobby (or profession) then I would suggest eventually saving up for something a little jazzier (after you save up for your Hakko of course) or making your own as someone posted below/above.
I'm happy with the purchase.
No public wish lists :(