Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

Temporarily holding things in place while soldering

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Is there something like Blu Tack or plasticine, but doesn't leave an oily residue behind?

Today I had to solder a tiny wire to the side of a surface mount component which was no fun at all. In hindsight what I needed was some kind of moldable third hand tool which I could just stick on the board so it moved with the board rather then being anchored to the table.

I just use masking tape for that.

I tend to use Blu Tack because it's quick and easy, but it's not always very robust. Anything similar is going to have plasticers in it, either oil-based or something like glycerin. A spot of silicone sealant might be an alternative, though it could be harder to remove without damaging your delicate work. (Maybe gently heating with hot air would help.)

I sometime use tape as well, and find good quality paper masking tape works better than PVC tapes as it contours more easily.

For a firmer support you could try polycaprolactone, which is widely available on ebay as a modeling material. (Try searching for "morphplast", "plastimorph", "polymorph" etc.) It melts in hot water or with hot air and can be easily moulded into complex shapes, then it sets hard in a couple of minutes. (Also easy to file for finishing touches, and fully reusable.) It's not sticky so needs to be taped down, but you can quickly form custom jigs with it for holding awkward items.

Depending on how far it is from the board edge, you could use a C clamp.  Or a tiny spot of acrylic cement.


--- Quote from: e100 on September 20, 2021, 10:04:08 am ---Is there something like Blu Tack or plasticine, but doesn't leave an oily residue behind?

--- End quote ---
Rodico. Used by watchmakers for the specific purpose of absorbing oily residue, not leaving it behind.



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