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Clothespin PCB Probes

Quick and cheap connections to circuits

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Simple probes for debugging, programming, and powering circuits on a PCB. Made with a mini clothespin, half of an extruder cleaning needle, some copper clad and two magnets.

This project was inspired by this one and this one, both 3D printed PCB probing setups by Giuseppe Finizia. I wanted to make something that would not require much 3D printing time so I decided on clothespins as a base for the probe. There is one 3D printed part for each pin that keeps the halves of the clothespin aligned. The clothespin presses an extruder cleaning needle onto the board and the needle is soldered to a piece of copper clad board extending from the tip of the clothespin. Two nickel magnets hold the probe onto a metal surface (I used an extra toaster oven tray), allowing for very easy adjustment. All parts are held together with superglue. I have had success flashing an ATTINY on a small PCB with these probes, as well as powering the circuit afterwards.

kicad_pcb - 9.55 kB - 02/18/2022 at 18:29

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step - 32.29 kB - 02/18/2022 at 18:29

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main-NPTH.drl

.5mm endmill for the needle holes, .8mm for the notches and header pins

drl - 289.00 bytes - 01/23/2022 at 15:01

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main-Edge_Cuts.gbr

I used a 2mm endmill, but other sizes will work

gbr - 875.00 bytes - 01/23/2022 at 15:01

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socket.stl

Print with opening on the bed

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 49.11 kB - 01/23/2022 at 15:00

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  • Swappable Probe Tips

    Henry York01/23/2022 at 14:59 0 comments

    The needle part on the end of the clothespin now can be swapped easily. Having multiple probe tips allows for different sized needles. In this photo the orange wire probe is a . 2mm needle and the blue wire has a .4mm needle. 

    Notches on the probe tip mesh with a 3D printed socket that is glued to the clothespin. Also, there are now two holes for header pins on the copper clad which allow for easy attachment of wires. 

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Ar wrote 02/17/2022 at 15:25 point

heyo! considered sharing the .kicad_pcb file with us? I don't have a CNC, but would gladly throw a few of these onto a to-be-ordered panel of mine!~

  Are you sure? yes | no

Henry York wrote 02/18/2022 at 18:33 point

Yes I've just added it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 01/23/2022 at 10:07 point

Drilling a hole through both sides and hammering a small nail through may align the two pieces without 3D printed pieces. One of the holes would need to be slightly enlarged to allow for some movement - especially along the length of the clothespin. May be the same needle can be used for that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Henry York wrote 01/25/2022 at 12:36 point

Thanks for the feedback! I gave it a shot with the nail part of a pushpin and with careful drilling it did work. It's definitely a good option if someone wants to make probes without a 3d printer.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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