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2a. Finding Components: The Base

posted Feb 2, 2010, 2:48 AM by Bill Bai   [ updated Feb 11, 2010, 8:02 PM ]
The base for this helping hands set up is extremely important.  The base provides the stability for the arms.  Without a strong base, the arms will be useless.

rstraugh at Instructables used a 1/2" thick aluminum base for his helping hands.  He recommends for getting the materials.  However, after browsing the aluminum selection, it was obvious that aluminum was way too expensive.  Instead, I bought a sheet of 1/2" thick, 12"x12" Polypropylene sheet.  I also bought a 1 foot 1/2" diameter plastic rod to make into a PCB holder.  As you can see, the materials were pretty cheap, but the cost of shipping more than doubled the total cost.

My plan is to drill a grid of holes into the polypropylene sheet so that I can reposition the arms around on the sheet.  I expect that the polypropylene will not be as dense as aluminum, but it should be offset by the sheer size of the sheet.  I think it should be heavy enough to provide a stable base for the arms.