Share tips you have come across


Supper will cost more than a new bottle of nail polish!

Further to making a sheath for your tools.

Add Teflon tape (used on pipe threads) over the tool end, use glue lined 4:1 Heat Shrink as the sheath.

The Teflon prevents the glue from sticking to the tool.

Pull off the sheath, discard the Teflon tape.

Seal cables and other items with glue lined heat shrink.

I just have to say, this must be the most informative and usefull thread on the internet regards to electronic works etc. Special thanks to larryd, and all good tips!!! Awsome!

Btw. It is okay that i repost some of the posts in an norwegian forum for electronics? What is the rules regards to that?


As a Moderator I have no objection.
Where TEXT is involved you may want to TRANSLATE.



As a Moderator I have no objection.
Where TEXT is involved you may want to TRANSLATE.


Ok, thanks :slight_smile:

Project construction life cycle

When you start designing an Arduino project from start to finish, you need to have a plan.

Once you have decided what you want to make, scale drawings and component selection is a must.

For scaled drawings, a 3D computer program like ‘Sketchup Make’ is great but there is a learning curve that you must achieve. There are lots of YouTube Videos you can review to gain the skills needed to draw your scaled drawing.

Here we will be making a ‘Useless Box’ designed around an Arduino Pro Mini.

First, we will draw a 1:1 3D image of the enclosure/box for our project.

It is important that all components be drawn to scale so you can move them in the drawing to confirm they will fit in the final assembly.

Since you can HIDE elements in the drawing, it is easy to work on certain sections unobscured.

Sketchup allows you to ORBIT your drawing to check to see if elements are overlapping.

You can print out 1:1 hard copy sections of your drawing to confirm measurements against the actual components and you can paste these printouts onto wood and cut out perimeters, holes etc.

3 mm Baltic Birch plywood is easy to work with for making enclosures; most electronic components like switches can be easily accommodated in 3 mm.

Accurate cutting of the plywood is a must. Some woodworking skills should be attained if you want to have a nice, finished product.

I use cutting templates in most woodworking projects. This allows for easy duplication of parts and of course making another identical finished product.

3 mm plywood can be used for boxes by cutting mitered corners and accurately gluing the corners at 90°.

Since glued wood makes strong connections, adding internal components like PCBs and sub-assemblies is easily managed.

When you make the control circuitry for your Arduino project, making a mother board PCB helps keep things organized.

Of course, the software to control the whole thing needs to be written so runtime bugs will not make things go wonky.

Flush cut, down cut, spiral router bit.

PDF for the UslessBox schematic and the sketch is attached below.

One of 7 animations. YouTube video here:

UselessBox.ino (26.7 KB)

UslessBox.pdf (23.6 KB)


Have a look at these:- [Magnetic Clamps](Magnetic Clamps" clamps&text="These are the NEW and,large)

Thanks for the idea.

You had me on the word Magnetic ! :grinning:

I see Amazon sells these:

And eBay has these:

Constructing a ‘High Boy’ soldering hold down clamp.

The first version of the soldering ‘Hold Down Clamp’ is one of the most useful tools on my workbench.

Taking this idea a bit further, the new adjustable version of the tool is just as useful.

For the lack of a better name, I will refer to the new tool as a ‘High Boy’ soldering clamp.

This clamp allows you to secure components that are higher than I.C.s or SMDs; the height adjustment tunes the tool to the level of what is being soldered.

Since the tool uses a ‘Shepherd’s Hook’ end, you can easily remove it and swap another tool in its place.

Suggestion on a different note, I took some perfboard, and soldered pins onto it in such a way that it would fit onto my arduino mega, then you can solder servo connections and whatever you want onto it . It can be very multipurpose :slight_smile:

Soldering to stainless steel

Someone asked how to solder stainless steel (SS) bicycle spokes with Lead solder.
This is a two-step process.

  1. Frist add a small amount of silver solder to the end of the SS spoke. You must use a blowtorch to melt silver solder. It is important you use silver solder flux on surfaces. Silver solder is made from 65% fine silver, 20% copper and 15% zinc.

  2. Clean off all remaining flux glass, use a 340°C soldering iron with 63/37 to connect the spoke to your work.

When silver soldering, the tip of the torch blue inner flame must touch the work piece. After a short time, the flux will turn transparent/glassy. Now touch the work with the silver solder wire, depositing a small amount of solder on the work. The solder should flow nicely around the work surface.

Once we get a thin layer of silver solder on an area of the stainless steel, we can easily use normal lead solder to connect this area to solderable components.


There are two soldering jobs that can be bothersome.

The first is adding wires to switch solder terminals.

The second is soldering wires to printed circuit board pads.

Two ‘High Boy’ clamps can make these jobs easier.

When soldering switches, it is best to make a loop in a pre-tinned wire and hook the loop in the terminal eyelet.

One clamp holds a plate which has different sized holes.

Select the hole that best matches the switch bushing and secure in place with a nut.

The other clamp holds an alligator clip arm; the clip holds the wire being soldered.

The wire is placed under ‘slight’ tension by the spring action of the stainless-steel arm.

For soldering wires to PCBs, one clamp holds a lower magnet, the PCB sits on this magnet.

A top magnet clamps the PCB against the lower.

The second clamp is fitted with an alligator clip arm.

The clip holds the wire up to the PCB under compression.

The tinned wire is threaded into the pad’s hole. We can now be sure the wire is in place while soldering.

Both techniques proceed very quickly and you should get excellent results.

When your jig’s magnets get loaded with iron filings, use Tuck tape to clean their surfaces.

I use my ‘Spring Vise’ all the time for: tinning, adding heat shrink to and joining wires.

The jig had one downfall; only small diameter wires could be accommodated.

I ‘was not’ going to make a larger version for bigger wires so I added a 2 mm screw for tuning.

All you need to do is stretch the spring to your wire size, then capture the spring with the 2 mm screw.

The screw holds the spring in this stretched condition.

From post #71

This is the link to the PDF discussing the ‘Spring Vise’ offered way back in post 71.

Torsion Spring Clamp

Soldering a THT component or daughter card to a PCB can be frustrating at times.

Before soldering you must make sure that the component is flat against your circuit board.

You can use ‘Masking Tape’ or ‘Blue Tack’ to keep the part in place before the PCB is inverted.

Torsion Spring Clamp (TSC).

Make a torsion spring clamp to hold THT components while they are being soldered.

When making the clamp, select a spring that has a reasonable amount of strength.

Use the threaded half of a bicycle spoke for the clamp’s arm.

Place a bushing in the spring to take out any sloppiness between the spring and the arm.

Use heat shrink to hold the spring to the arm as seen in the image below.

Your motherboard is securely held in place on the magnetic surface using several ‘Pinch Clamps’.

Load the ‘Torsion Spring Clamp’, move, and release the spring arm onto your component, confirm all leads are in the soldering position.

Solder diagonal leads then reconfirm your part is still in place. Reheat the soldered leads if necessary to reflow the part.

Finish soldering the rest of the component leads.