Solder Board

I created what I am calling a “Solder Board” which is like a breadboard but with no internal connectors. The solder board is used for… soldering! Specifically, for soldering pins onto PCBs, and in this case, onto microcontrollers. But first, some history…

For years I’ve soldered pins onto PCBs by jamming header pins into whatever breadboard was lying around and then slapping the PCB onto the pins, soldering the pins on, and then prying the board off. It works… mostly.

A year or two ago I had to solder a lot of Teensy boards, and finally found a use for those tiny breadboard. I taped off the edges to mark the size of the board and then taped it onto a chuck of Aluminum I had lying around for some extra weight and height.

And it worked pretty well. I would stick the pins in the outer columns (which I sized using my Header Pin Snapper tool) and be ready to go.

Drop the board on top, get to soldering, and then pry it off. Was it the best thing? No. Was it better than other methods? Yes. Could it be improved? Probably.

Since I now solder a lot more Raspberry Pi Pico boards, the little Teensy jig was too small, so I started using a larger breadboard, which presented a few problems. The first is that unless you have an old and somewhat “worn out” breadboard, inserting the pins can be a bit difficult. Often it took a lot of pressure to get them inserted. Sometimes one or more would pop up and be uneven with the rest. After that you need to solder them and remove the board, which can take quite a bit of prying if it’s in there tight. None of this is super difficult, but it’s a pain point, and we don’t need to deal with it.

Also, the Raspberry Pi Pico boards are 20 pins long instead of 14 like the Teensy, so more pins makes it just a bit more difficult to put the pins in and remove the board after soldering.

So above you’ll see the solution. A 3D printed “Solder Board” which was specifically designed for soldering header pins in place. (Unlike a typical breadboard.)

Put the header pins in place… no hard pressing required! The holes are sized such that they just drop right in.

Solder those pins and the board lifts right out. No prying! No pulling. Heck, you can probably flip it over and the board will fall right out.

Here’s the 3D model. Pretty simple. It’s a block with some holes. This one is sized specifically for the Raspberry Pi Pico board. You can’t really put the pins in the wrong place, which means you can work faster with less guesswork and chance of screwing up.

But maybe you want more holes… Just set the “useMoreHoles” option to get all the holes. This might be handy if you just want a general purpose Solder Board, and not one specific to one board size.

Wait, you want even more holes!? You can make one any size, thanks to the magic of parametric design in OpenSCAD.

I’ve tried to add just a few parameters to the OpenSCAD file to allow for customizing it without going overboard. The number of rows and columns, the padding (part without holes) on the sides and top/bottom, the height, and even hole diameter, to adjust for (ahem) printers that are not quite dialed in very well. You’ve also got the useMoreHoles option if you want more holes. Overall it’s not very complex code, so you should be able to muck about with it fairly easily. I will say that if you want a large board with a lot of holes, it may take a bit of time to render the output. (At least it does on my 2019 iMac.)

If you do a lot of soldering this may be a useful thing to speed up the process. I’m constantly looking for ways to speed things up, whether it’s single-purpose jigs or specific-use tools. Having to not think about getting it right because there’s only one way to do it is often quite helpful.

Oh, I do recommend not printing this in black. Even though I’ve got a small lamp on my workbench pointed directly at what I am soldering, the holes just don’t stand out as well as they do on a contrasting color. (Then again, I’m old and my eyesight isn’t great. Still, keep that whole “speed things up” feature in mind.)

You can get the STL and .scad file from – Solder Board. Print it if you need it!


The Ultimate CR2032 Battery Holder!

Apologies for the (mostly) joke title. I’m sure this is not the “Ultimate” CR2032 Battery Holder (as there are many) but I do think it’s a good one. Read on for my defense of this statement…

I came into the office one day and Josh said “Hey, I found this CR2032 and printed it, what do you think?” Which was… interesting, because I had been working on a design for a CR2032 battery holder. I didn’t finish it, for whatever reason (I probably started designing something else.) Anyway, I looked at the print and thought… I can do better!

Above is the one Josh printed (in front) and the one I designed (in the back). The one he printed had the batteries a bit too close together, so you couldn’t grab one to get it out using your fingers. For my version, I spaced the batteries a bit so you could grab one. (Note the batteries sort of “snap” in place, they aren’t just held in by gravity.)

My design was still not great… but after about a dozen revisions I had something good.

The design is parametric, and with the OpenSCAD file you can choose how many batteries you want to hold, and (slightly) adjust the space between them.

But the real beauty of this design is that you don’t have to space the batteries enough to grab one with your fingers… With this version you pop them out from the bottom! The batteries snap into place to hold securely, and you press them to get them out. (Check out the video below.)

There’s one more bonus feature… If you print two the same size you can use one as a cover.

Add a rubber band (or a piece of tape) and you’ve got a secure battery holder you could toss into a bag with little worry of any batteries shorting out. Neat!

But wait! There’s more to this story… At some point I asked Josh about the file he found, and he pointed me to the Thingiverse page, at which point I said, “Oh, I know the guy who designed this.” and he said “Of course you do.” to which I replied “Yeah, I hired him years ago for some exhibit work, and I’ve worked with his wife to produce Maker Faire Orlando.” and yeah, sometimes the Maker World seems a little small. But wait… also, I grabbed the files Adam posted and realized he did post a parametric OpenSCAD file! It still didn’t have the pop-out feature I added, but it did allow for changing the spacing of the batteries. (Josh just printed the STL example file that was there.)

So to wrap up, you can see the guide on these at, grab the files from Printables or from GitHub, and do whatever you want with them! We now use these at all the events we do when we have supplies out on the table, and they’ve been a huge improvement to just spill out batteries on the table or keeping them in the (difficult to open) packaging.


Hex Driver Handle

I’ve seen a few handles that convert a hex key into a “screwdriver” style tool, so I figured I would make one. (I’m sure there are better ones, but this one is mine!)

This one is two pieces. The main handle has a slot so you can insert the hex key, and then a piece to put into the slot. (Which I call the “Slot Filler” of course.)

When I printed this on the Prusa (not pictured) it came out perfect, and the slot filler filled the slot… perfectly.

When I printed it on the Maker Select Plus (the red version in the photos) it… well, fits, mostly… sort of. Hmmm. I had to X-ACTO knife away the blobs on the end. (Sorry, but the Prusa just prints better!)

You could always glue the slot filler into place I guess. It’s a wedge so it should “wedge” in place. In theory…

The first version had no slot filler, and no hole for the short end. I just smashed it into the slot. I figured making it removable might be a better option though…

Maybe it’s not a god idea? I don’t know. I did widen the slot a bit and added the slot filler. I just like designing these things and testing them out.

You can get the STL and .scad file from – Hex Driver Handle (2mm). Print it if you need it!


Wire Spool Holder

I use these spools of silicone wire and they come in a cardboard box with a hole to feel the wire through and every damn time the wire goes back into the box and I have to open the box and feed it through again and wow it’s a pain! This is an attempt to solve that…

Like some of my other designs I wanted a modular thing. The wire comes in six spools/colors but rather than one huge print each spool has its own holder. This makes sense to me. I thought about ways to interlock them, but eventually decided to just add screw holes and mount them all to a piece of scrap 1/4″ plywood that was near the laser cutter.

The hole the wire feeds through is just right for this wire. YWMV (Your Wire May Vary!) The OpenSCAD file allows for adjusting the hole. An X-ACTO knife or drill bit could also be used to fine tune things.

Advantages of this design? It is stackable. I can put stuff on top of it. (Maybe more wire spools?) I can pick up the whole thing easily. There is not one rod holding all spools, and you can easily remove/replace a single spool.

So far I’m liking this thing. It’s similar to my Chonky Solder Spool Holder. It took about four revision to this before I had the final version.

Here’s the first attempt. It was too difficult to feed the wire through the hole, so the hole got moved up and the half-circle notch was added to allow getting a finger in there to feed the wire through. The bottom lip was also added to allow for mounting to the board with screws.

You can get the STL and .scad file from – Wire Spool Holder. Print ’em if you need ’em!


Headphone Hanger (in OpenSCAD)

I wanted a simple headphone hanger for my office at work and I found a few really nice ones on but I wanted one I could easily change the mounting holes on, so I whipped this one up in OpenSCAD.

Does it sort of look like a dollhouse bed? Yes, it does…

Can of some weird seltzer my wife drinks for scale… Also, I made it parametric so you can make it longer or shorter if needed.

Here’s a really long one…

And here’s a really short one…

And here’s one that’s juuuuuust right!

If you change the length remember to take into account the full depth of your headphones, not just the band that goes on your head, otherwise they’ll hang at an angle against the wall. That long one could probably hold all of my headphones! (I have four pairs. All of the other ones are Sennheiser but the ones I have at work are some Audio-Technica I got from the dumpster.)

You can get the STL and .scad file from – Headphone Hanger. Print it if you need it!