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Stickvise - low profile soldering vise

Stickvise is a low profile vise designed for PCB soldering. This product was born on Hackaday.io.

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Thanks to Hackaday for helping me make this a product! Buy one now in the Hackaday Store:
http://store.hackaday.com/products/stickvise

* Follow on twitter: https://twitter.com/stickvise *

Stickvise is a low profile soldering vise that addresses several problems with PCB holders and vises currently on the market.

1) Most soldering aids are too tall, requiring your hands to hover in the air while soldering.

2) Most soldering aids are not capable of holding a flat object parallel to the table top, making it difficult to work under magnification without losing focus as you slide the subject around.

3) Higher end fixtures are too complex and expensive

How it works:

- With the wing nut loose, the movable jaw can slide to any position along the shaft.

- To grab a circuit board, gently squeeze the jaws against board edges.

- Tighten wing nut to fix the movable jaw.

- Easily take circuit board in and out of spring loaded jaws

More Details

Stickvise comes with the basic components shown in the picture below. Scroll down to see some ideas for ways to enhance, customize and hack your vise.

If you have a 3d printer, you can download and 3d print some of the jaw designs that I have come up with.

If you need to hold something larger, buy a longer shaft or raise your jaws up using M3 standoffs. More details: http://stickvise.com/hacks/ots-upgrades

Finally if you have a custom idea, use my OpenSCAD script to design yourself a set of custom jaws, you can then 3d print or send out to have them made. I have designed the code to generate models such as the ones below by changing a few parameters at the top, no learning curve or coding knowledge necessary.

Stickvise_InterlockingV.STL

Interlocking Jaws - My favorite jaws, these hold a PCB as well as any size cylindrical part horizontally (from a small wire to a cable to a 1" diameter motor)

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 114.93 kB - 02/28/2016 at 12:24

Download

Stickvise_VJaw.STL

Jaws with vertical v-grooves for holding cylindrical parts upright

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 264.14 kB - 02/28/2016 at 12:24

Download

Stickvise_Grooved_Jaw.STL

wire grooves everywhere, this jaws is almost obsolete compared to the interlocking jaws, but it uses less printer material

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 177.82 kB - 03/04/2016 at 01:13

Download

Stickvise_TallJaw.STL

Raise the PCB up to acommodate tall components

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 30.94 kB - 02/28/2016 at 12:24

Download

Stickvise_MedJaw.STL

Raise the PCB up to acommodate medium components

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 30.94 kB - 02/28/2016 at 12:24

Download

Stickvise_LowProfileJaw.STL

These are the same as the standard Stickvise jaws

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 30.94 kB - 02/28/2016 at 12:24

Download

View all 6 files

  • New Canadian Distributor! Buyapi.ca

    Alex Rich03/14/2017 at 15:06 0 comments

    Stickvise has a new distributor in Canada - Buyapi.ca. They are the largest distributor of Raspberry Pi merchandise in Canada and now they stock Stickvise!

    This should be a more cost effective option than ordering from a US distributor for all interested Candians!

    https://www.buyapi.ca/product/stickvise-the-low-profile-pcb-vise/

  • Time-lapse video milling PTFE jaws on the Shapeoko

    Alex Rich03/05/2017 at 20:37 1 comment

    I am using a very inexpensive Shapeoko 3 to produce precision milled PTFE jaws for Stickvise from my basement!

    Why don't I have the part molded or machined somewhere else? I project sales of about 200 pairs per year. Molding PTFE is a specialized process because of the very high temperatures, so it would only be warranted at higher volumes or if I could justify a much higher price point. Machining is more typical in this volume range, but outsourcing machining was still too expensive.

    To hit the price point I wanted and not commit to large manufacturing runs, I chose to get a machine to make the parts myself. This also meant I could justify having my own CNC at home, which I had wanted for a while.

    I'm happy to say the machine is working well and has already paid for itself. Most importantly, I have a new toy that I never would have bought otherwise.

  • Raspberry Pi Zero Jaws by bfesser

    Alex Rich12/23/2016 at 01:06 2 comments

    Check these out!

    This is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind for Stickvise - mod and hack to make custom fixtures for holding PCBs. These are a cool set of jaws by @bfesser that not only hold two RasPi zeros, but you can flip them around and hold any size PCB. There is actually a dual and a single jaw set available. Enjoy pics below, if interested in 3d printing these, head over to thingiverse to download.

    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1985615

  • New Stickvise distributor: Adafruit

    Alex Rich09/11/2016 at 21:17 14 comments

    After over a year of selling through the Hackaday Store I have expanded to add a new distributor - Adafruit!

    https://www.adafruit.com/products/3197

    Super excited to expand the Stickvise audience, Adafruit is a really cool company. They did an amazing job on photographing Stickvise, check out some of the shots they took! Better than any I have taken for sure. Also on the Adafruit product page you can see a great video of Limor and Phil talking about it a little bit.




  • Ben Heck Show Stickvise sighting!

    Alex Rich07/11/2016 at 02:15 0 comments

    I sent Ben Heck a Stickvise a couple months ago, I thought it was a long shot to even get a response but I wanted to at least give it a try. You have to put yourself in his shoes, he probably gets tons of unsolicited crap shipped to him every week that people hope will make it into one of his videos. It turns out he was really nice, even sent me a thank you email when it arrived and told me that he was using it a few minutes after it arrived. Very cool of him to do that.

    I noticed in the show's latest video (covering the completion of his Hackmanji game) that Stickvise was on his bench in the background the whole time. Not sure what he's holding in the vise but it's an honor to see it being used!

    I sent his Stickvise out with a customized "Ben Heck Show" PCB, I thought it looked pretty cool:

    Here is the episode


  • Replacement Jaws

    Alex Rich04/24/2016 at 01:25 1 comment

    On Monday I'm shipping out Stickvise replacement jaws to the Hackaday Store! They should be available in the next week or so. For those who have damaged their jaws and want some spares, check them out. For starters there will be two options: standard nylon and high temperature PTFE

  • Milling a PCB outline on Stickvise

    Alex Rich03/22/2016 at 15:46 2 comments

    Still brainstorming the idea of using Stickvise for PCB milling. After a brief chat on Twitter with Danielle Applestone (owner of Other Machine Co. makers of the Othermill) I was inspired to delve further into this possible application. The main issue is full slotting, particularly parallel to the edges of the jaws where the PCB is most likely to slip. This morning I did some testing to see how Stickvise would handle this.

    Below are the results, not a bad start - didn't have movement in any of the five test boards I cut out.

    Sorry for the absolute bush league mistake of putting my finger over the lens, that's embarrassing. You can see more about the jaw design I'm using in this older project log.

    The info on the cut is as follows -

    Machine: Tormach 770

    Spindle Speed: 10,000 RPM

    Feed Rate: 10 in/min

    Tool: 1/8" diameter, 2 flute carbide endmill, uncoated, general purpose (I think I got it from McMaster)

  • Jaw production begins!

    Alex Rich03/21/2016 at 21:51 4 comments

    Ok everything went well today, I cut all of my blank material (made like 135 pieces, or 67.5 pairs) using a table saw, that worked great. Then I used my fixture to make 12 pairs of PTFE jaws. It's not a blazing fast process, I am going to have to be careful how I price these things as I could easily see myself wind up working for $2 per hour if I go too low.

  • Jaw Production Fixture Done

    Alex Rich03/20/2016 at 16:51 3 comments

    Check it out, fixture is done. I milled the aluminum on a Tormach 770, really an excellent machine.

    One fun thing about CNC is you can do things that wouldn't be feasible on a manual mill. I decided to go in and chamfer all of my edges using a Maritool 90 degree chamfer mill. You can see in the pics below there are perfect little beveled edges on everything, even the circles. It would have been overly tedious to do this on a manual machine, so you invariably would have hand filed. Nothing wrong with that technique, just doesn't look as cool!

    On top of that, I had some fun adding a bead blasted finish just to top it all off. I use an inexpensive Grizzly sandblast cabinet, and some fine glass bead media that I bought from McMaster years ago. This final step really makes tool marks disappear and leaves a nice matte finish, didn't need to sand or polish anything.

    Couple notes

    - tapping not done yet, will do that next

    - Thanks to @Jan for advice on my initial design. I added extra holes for clamping each part in two places instead of just one. I'm sure I won't regret that decision. We'll see how this works soon, stay tuned...

    below is the Maritool chamfer mill I used


  • Jaw Plate Production

    Alex Rich03/09/2016 at 03:28 6 comments

    Here is my preliminary fixture plate design, it will allow me to mill out 4 sets of jaws at a time.

    Below you can see the finished parts on the fixture, but imagine bars of raw material slightly larger than each part. My first step will be to load these 8 bars of raw material onto the fixture.

    I will hold the bars of raw material in place using rectangular bars clamped with a hex bolt. After the bars are held down, my first operation involves milling counterbores and holes for each jaw plate.

    After this operation the machine will pause and I will install mounting screws to clamp the jaw plates down so I can remove the rectangular bars. Now I am free to mill the sides, and the v-grooves without worrying about the rectangle bars.

    Here are some shots of the machining:

    We'll see how this goes, my materials will be arriving in the next few days, will try to put in some time this weekend to get this going.

View all 35 project logs

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Discussions

Jonathan Beri wrote 11/16/2015 at 17:00 point

Any idea when they'll be back in stock on store.hackaday.com?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 11/16/2015 at 17:13 point

Yes!  They are in production now, scheduled to ship out on Nov 30 so they should be back in stock in December.  Sorry, thanks for inquiring - they didn't order more from me until the store went totally out of stock.  Better planning next time.  BTW - I need to check out your talk, looks interesting.  Wish I had been able to go to supercon.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jonathan Beri wrote 11/16/2015 at 18:17 point

Awesome! They gave out discount codes for the store so I plan on getting all the things on my list :)

Please do! And let me know if there's anything you're interested in learning more about. I expect the video to go up soon.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 12/15/2015 at 00:36 point

@Jonathan Beri - Stickvise is back in stock, sorry for the delay! http://store.hackaday.com/products/stickvise

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jonathan Beri wrote 12/17/2015 at 05:59 point

Looking forward to adding it to my bench!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martijn wrote 07/25/2015 at 13:20 point

Did my first PCB with my own diy Stickvise yesterday. It's awesome, soldering will never be the same again. 

What's your stance on other people sharing their own builds? (not only the jaws)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 07/25/2015 at 13:25 point

I'm all for it, please share your build!  Anyone who wants to make their own should do it, those who don't have the tools will find it easier to just buy one.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martijn wrote 07/25/2015 at 17:59 point

Great!, I just added mine. I think you'll like it. I will write a bit more detailed 'user experience' log later.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Reed Arnold wrote 07/08/2015 at 07:43 point

Thanks for making this awesome project/product. I ordered 2 and took one to work, ended up ordering 3 more. I think you should consider a production run of the latest interlocking jaws if the shape isn't overly complex for manufacture.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 07/08/2015 at 13:20 point

Thanks for ordering a bunch and for the feedback Reed!  It is great to hear people getting good use out of Stickvise.  I do like the interlocking jaws, I might consider getting some made at some point, I wish there was an easy way to do it.  I would have to order in fairly high bulk to make the price reasonable.  Requires some cash investment.  Maybe I will try a small kickstarter at some point for various accessories.

  Are you sure? yes | no

haydn jones wrote 06/21/2015 at 15:18 point

Mine has just aarrived and I'm using it already. Trying to make solenoids :) 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/21/2015 at 15:36 point

haha cool, hadn't thought of using it like that.  Thanks for the pic!

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 06/16/2015 at 21:18 point

Just bought one--looks like a great product, stoked to ditch my Helping Hands!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/16/2015 at 21:57 point

thanks for the support! 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/16/2015 at 20:07 point

wow, I'm glad you like it!  thanks for the stellar review, I will see if I can get hackaday to tweet it out for me. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chris Wagner wrote 06/07/2015 at 13:36 point

Thank you Alex for this very nice tool. I like it, because it can be modify. 
I won it with my project for ESP8266-Modules.

https://hackaday.io/project/3965-esp8266-dev-board

Thank you hackaday, too.
Have a nice day. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/07/2015 at 16:29 point

thanks! Send pictures of how your using it. Cool project btw

  Are you sure? yes | no

Debasish Dutta wrote 06/05/2015 at 00:46 point

Thank you Alex for design this awesome PCB holder. I think its useful for all maker.

I won this  from HAD for my project on MPPT controller.

https://hackaday.io/project/4613-arduino-mppt-solar-charge-controller.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/05/2015 at 00:52 point

Thanks, your project is awesome very well explained so that someone who is not an electrical engineer can understand it (like me).  I hope you get good use out of your Stickvise!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Debasish Dutta wrote 06/05/2015 at 01:07 point

Thanks. 

Yeah it will be very helpfulI for me.I am eagerly waiting for its arrival.

  Are you sure? yes | no

frankstripod wrote 06/04/2015 at 19:14 point

Stickvise Rocks! Just won one and I can't wait to get it! :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/04/2015 at 19:22 point

thanks!  looking forward to feedback

  Are you sure? yes | no

haydn jones wrote 06/04/2015 at 18:52 point

Soon to be a proud owner courtesy of HAD, looking forward to using it :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/04/2015 at 19:00 point

Awesome! thanks for the skull and follow - please let me know about your experience once you have used it a bit.

  Are you sure? yes | no

miawtthias wrote 06/04/2015 at 15:53 point

I just received mine and it's awesome !

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/04/2015 at 16:20 point

Sweet! Thanks for the skull/follow/feedback! Test it out in as many ways as you can and let me know what you like and don't like.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ben Delarre wrote 05/29/2015 at 17:10 point

Just wanted to say congrats on getting to market Alex. Hope it does really well for you.

I've been using mine and I absolutely love it. Don't know how I went so long without a PCB vice now!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/29/2015 at 17:35 point

Thanks Ben!  It has been such a fun experience, couldn't have done it without you and others believing in it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 05/28/2015 at 12:04 point

Awesome! I'll prolly pick one up when I next visit NoVa Labs in Sept this year. Also, check this out : http://hackaday.com/2015/05/09/printed-tentacles-for-pcb-probing/

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/28/2015 at 12:11 point

Cool, I was just at NoVa Labs yesterday dropping off a couple of demo vises.  

Yes I love the system in your article, I actually saw it on twitter before you guys wrote it up on HaD.  I printed one up and liked it so much I made a compatible jaw design for Stickvise that lets you attach two of those arms.  They work great, but I decided the ball and sockets came apart too easily so I designed an enhanced version (where I credited the original): 

https://hackaday.io/project/5739-locking-ball-and-socket-gooseneck-system

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anool Mahidharia wrote 05/29/2015 at 09:29 point

I read about the Stickvise on the NoVa labs chatter mailing list - Bob Coggeshall posted about it. :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/29/2015 at 11:55 point

Cool, I got a ton of hits on my website from that email blast. @Bob Coggeshall is a great guy - I picked his brain about my project for a couple of hours the other day.  I'm hoping to get more involved at NoVa labs, wish I lived a little closer though.

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 05/19/2015 at 10:47 point

I've seen Ben Heck NOT using this. You should sell this to him - he was soldering a board seesaw style :)  I'll definitely order one next time I'm in America! 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/19/2015 at 13:08 point

Thanks Dave, I am putting together sample packs to send out to hopefully get reviewed by a few people here and there.  I will see if I can send him something.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martijn wrote 05/09/2015 at 01:02 point

Very nice product, It has 'why didn't I think of this' written all over it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/09/2015 at 01:07 point

Thanks!  I hope it takes off, I am having so much fun with this.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/08/2015 at 23:29 point

@tmuel1123 @Fidel salinas Stickvise is available if still interested, if you do get one let me know how it works for you.  http://store.hackaday.com/products/stickvise

  Are you sure? yes | no

tmuel1123 wrote 05/09/2015 at 09:50 point

Its on it's way. :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/09/2015 at 11:56 point

thanks for your support!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/18/2015 at 21:10 point

Did the Stickvise make it to you?  Interested to hear how it is working for you.

  Are you sure? yes | no

tmuel1123 wrote 05/18/2015 at 21:28 point

No, not until now. It's still on its way. The tracking of the parcel says that it has left Frankfurt Airport on Friday (which is just a hour away from me). I assume that it will arrive during this week after it has (hopefully) passed the customs office unattended. Otherwise I will have to pick it up at the customs office and pay the tax to pick it up. 

I will definitely give you a response after I have played with it. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

tmuel1123 wrote 05/28/2015 at 20:25 point

Hi Alex,

Today I have picked up my Stickvise from the customs office. I have played a little with it and I can say you that I already added it to the list of my favorite tools. It is very practical and easy to use. I also love the simplicity, there is not a single piece to much its just exactly what is needed.

Thank you very much for that great idea!

I've added some M3 plastic screws to the M3 threads on the bottom if the vise to avoid scratching the table.

  Are you sure? yes | no

tmuel1123 wrote 05/28/2015 at 20:29 point

P.S.: Just forgot to use one word: AWESOME

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 05/28/2015 at 20:53 point

Awesome, thanks for the kind words, so glad it made it to you and you like it!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Fidel salinas wrote 01/18/2015 at 16:00 point

i'd love to add this to my work bench as well. Hope you do crowd fund.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 01/18/2015 at 19:50 point

Thanks @Fidel salinas. I am not crowd funding but the product is in production now, should be available in March if manufacturing goes smoothly. Follow the page, I will update as soon as it becomes available.

  Are you sure? yes | no

tmuel1123 wrote 01/02/2015 at 22:52 point

Hi Alex, do you have any idea when and where I can by one of these?

  Are you sure? yes | no

technolomaniac wrote 11/19/2014 at 10:09 point
Cool project but how do you prevent the plastic from heating up when using hot air? Hot air soldering would melt any plastic I know of and the frame (aluminum) seems to me to be the sort of thing that would conduct the heat right into the plastic (as well as the board which can get 300+ degrees). I've seen folks use a plastic folding table for soldering and the hot air literally melted the table rendering it warped.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 11/19/2014 at 12:45 point
Yes you're right even PTFE melts when doing heavy hot air rework. One time we were doing something similar and actually had the laminate on the table top blister and suddenly rupture.

A steel jaw option is definitely something to consider to expand the uses of the vise. The nylon jaws are good because they won't short anything if you want to power something up and probe around. Thanks for your thoughts, I think that definitely makes sense.

  Are you sure? yes | no

syntroniks wrote 11/24/2014 at 20:36 point
Ceramics :D I have precicely the same problem

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 11/26/2014 at 20:07 point
Good call, a brief google search shows you can actually machine ceramic. Maybe that would be a cool jaw option.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 06/03/2015 at 21:32 point

@technolomaniac - Hey Matt, did some hot air tests today, check out my project log.  The nylon held up reasonably well.  Will try to see what it takes to test it to failure tomorrow maybe.

  Are you sure? yes | no

highland wrote 11/12/2014 at 18:07 point
This appears very nice. In the past I've used http://www.irwin.com/tools/brands/quick-grip to do something similar. This appears slight more useful for this specific purpose.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Rich wrote 11/12/2014 at 18:26 point
Thanks! Yes, those style clamps are part of the inspiration for my design. I feel like everyone I have ever talked to about this has been using some random tool that isn't quite right for the job. I'm hoping I can put an end to that with this product.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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