PC Board Vise

I’d heard that PC board vises were the cat’s meow for stuffing and soldering boards, and I’ve seen them used in a couple of “how to solder” videos. So when my friend Cort was putting together a big parts order recently, I had him add on a vise for me. Here it is.

PCB vise

It came in pieces: the base, the spindle, the bar, the clamps, and all the knobs. Pretty easy to put together, but I had one little problem:

PCB vise with misaligned jaws

The jaws didn’t line up. Like, so bad there’s no way I could make a decent PCB stay put.

The square holes to fit over the bar had casting flash left in them; and the bar itself is rhomboid instead of square, so it doesn’t fit snugly into the jaws’ (allegedly-)square corners. It was even possible to wiggle the jaws and make them misalign in the other direction, but not to get them to stay aligned.

PCB vise with realigned jaws

So earlier this weekend, I sat down with a square file and got all the flash out. I also found which way the clamps fit best on the bar and reoriented them to that position. Now they’re stable and pretty well aligned.

PCB vise holding my stepper control board

I got to use it for soldering some of the last components of my stepper control board. The vise’s spindle has a joint that folds 90° forward or back, so I assembled it to have the jaws pointing straight up when the spindle is straight. I fold it forward to do top-side work, and then fold it back up and over backward to do bottom-side working. Verra nice!

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