PCB holder rev2

Sometimes I need to solder electronic components onto a PCB. And for that you need a PCB holder. There are many out there, you have a great selection of designs, no doubt. But I wanted to design my own from scratch. I like robust hefty design, where mass-production doesn’t erode away the grams to save money.

As always, you can find the detailed drawings somewhere in this page and at the end of the video, but first let’s look at the model features.

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There are a few design restrictions or conditions, if you like, that governed the featured PCB holder.

Firstly, I wanted to clamp a PCB just by pinching the jaws and releasing. I am a lazy person and when I work I don’t want to use my time for unnecessary operations. I figured that clamping PCBs is one of those operations, where I don’t want to screw and unscrew a PCB a thousand times. It’s much easier to just pinch and release.

This meant that there needs to be some kind of a spring returning the pinch action and jaws that will transform the pinch-spring-back action into holding a PCB.

So, after a few iterations these jaws were born. I’ll describe them later in more detail and how I plan to make them.

I also expect a PCB holder to pivot the board in two axes. One around X-axis and the other one just to lean a bit for a better view, around Y-axis.

For pivoting around X-axis I didn’t want to use any screws or other fasteners, just friction. To get the right friction coefficient and feel, I used an O-ring between the jaws and the neck member. This way the friction is high enough and the feel is smooth.

The jaws are then attached to the neck by a cir-clip.

The neck is made of two main parts and a connecting bolt. Movement in the joint between the neck parts is again controlled by friction, but this time, the friction itself can be adjusted by a corrugated brass knob.

I estimated that in this joint the span of torque acting on the joint is too high for just one built-in setting, so I added a setting for friction, which has to be adjusted on the fly, depending on the angle of tilt and weight of the PCB.

The bolt is made of three parts: the threaded rod, a wedge nut and an O-ring for friction control.

The lower part of the neck is static and is attached to the base with two bolts.

I wanted the base to be massive, so I designed it from a solid steel piece, chamfered on the edges into a prism of some sort.

The bottom chamfer is there for you to easily pick it up, when you need to move it. The upper chamfer is there because otherwise there would be a bunch of material in your way when all you need is some space to work.

I would glue some rubber padding on the bottom of the prism, otherwise you can expect some damage to the desk where this holder will stand.

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