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  • Needle Nose Pliers??

    I don't know exactly where to ask this but I'm sure I can get a solid answer here. I have managed through the years to wear out my best hand tools. Today I was having a real hard time getting a broken lead out of it's hole while changing an Op Amp. I couldn't get a hold of the fraction of an inch long lead for anything. I want to find some real good quality long needle nose pliers and maybe some new wire cutters. Any opinions as to who makes the best?? I do allot of work under a microscope so they need to be precision.

  • #2
    I have always had good results from Craftsman small pliers as well as Xcelite. I use a small pair of duckbills - flat jaws maybe 1/8" wide at the tip rather than pointed - ALL the time. Those are Craftsman, and they wound up shoving aside the little Xcelites I used for years. I have always had great results from Xcelites in general. If you have $50 instead of $25 to spend, you could get a pair of Erem. I know there are other good brands.

    Needlenose covers a lot of ground, some are small, like 5 inch overall, others are more fullsize like 7 inch. They come in petite slender fine tips, and also in squatty robust hunky tips. They also come in smooth jaw and serrated jaw. I have applications where this matters so I tend to keep smooth jawed pliers. Serrated grips better but when squeezed they also leave marks or grooves in the work.

    Early on I saw some long nose pliers and just HAD to have them. Nice enough Xcelites with like 3 inch long jaws. Great for reaching into a small place to pick up some dropped nut or screw, but mostly not as useful as I had hoped. AT that length, you cannot put much torque on it before it starts to splay the jaws.

    CUtters come in many types too. I have a pair of small dikes I use a lot for trimming off leads and stuff. They are Craftsman. I din't like them a lot at first, but they have grown on me. Dikes - diagonal cutters for those unware - have jaws with sharpened edges, ground down from both sides of each blade. But you can also get flush cutters, where the bevel is all on one side, so the actual cuttting edge is right flush with the side of the jaw. You can cut flush against a surface. I have a pair of Xcelite angled flush cutters I adore. Flush cutters can look like dikes, or they can have an angled head. Then there are end nippers where the cutting edge is perpendicular to the axis of the tool rather than parallel. Has its place.

    When I have little bits of lead left in a hole, I usually reach for my cutters rather than the needlenose. The thin sharp edge grips the bit of wire better than the needlenose.

    But really, when I have a little bit of IC leg that wants to stay in the hole, I usually refill the hole with fresh solder, heat it up to melt, than I poke through the hole with a piece of small solid wire to poke the blockage out the other side. Mainly I use a piece of stiff piano wire I keep on th bench for clearing the hole in my desolder sucker station, but evn a resistor lead will work. I always have loose resistors handy.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by redneckgeek View Post
      Today I was having a real hard time getting a broken lead out of it's hole while changing an Op Amp. I couldn't get a hold of the fraction of an inch long lead for anything.
      For that I would use a curved type hemostat- often used as a roach clip in some circles- and as Enzo suggested heat the copper pad when pulling it out. Radio Shack used to sell ones that were as good as the ones in the electronics parts houses but that is no longer the case.

      I try not to replace unsocketed op amps unless I really have to. But when I do I use something to pry up one side at a time while heating the copper pads with my soldering iron. Stainless steel dental picks work great! I forget where I found this but I have a set of 3 really strong picks- one at 90 degrees, one at a double bent angle and one that is a 180 hook. Cheaper ones work too but I really like that set... (These picks are great for removing string remnants from tuning keys!)

      For wire cutters do NOT use them to cut guitar strings. I have ruined at least a dozen high quality wire cutters by doing that. I'd write "guitar strings" on the handle of one of them I had already ruinged but I could never find that one when I needed it so I'd grab another one. Now when I hold them up to the light I can see indentations where strings were cut. They do still work for most things but I hate to abuse tools... Planet Waves makes a great combination tuning key winder and string cutter for about $10- less than I paid for a good pair of small cutters. They came out with a new version which has an improved cutter and the string winders have slots to handle many bass tuning keys.

      There is another type of wire cutter that will hold the cut piece of wire rather than shooting it across the room (or into your guitar amp!) Getting back to needle nose pliers I use the small Vise Grip ones for all sorts of things not necessarily related to electronics- very handy tool to have around (even better to have two of them!) I also have needle nose pliers with a curved tip which comes in really handy for prying things up.

      As you might have guessed I am a recovering tool-aholic. When I see really cool tools for sale I just say no, I just say No, I just say NO! I was an HVAC service tech for 20 years so I had an excuse to buy tools. "But I need it for my job!"

      HTH

      Steve Ahola

      P.S. I just got a really LED desk lamp with a magnifying lens. (I've had the monstrous swing arms ones with round fluorescent bulbs but they really take over the space and aren't as bright.) I found it at Office Max- it was the floor sample with a broken lens hood. We tried special ordering it but it had been discontinued so they gave me a $10 discount on the floor sample bringing it down to $30 which happened to be the amount of my Office Max Rewards. Hooray!
      The Blue Guitar
      www.blueguitar.org
      Some recordings:
      https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
      .

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      • #4
        Hi all I've been using a pair of these surgical forceps, they are perfect for removing just about anything.
        Just grip the component in such a way that it doesn't touch the legs you are desoldering and because it locks you can actually
        feel it when the leg starts coming loose as you wiggle (the tool, that is). Also the length gives you some mechanical advantage.
        http://img.medicalexpo.com/images_me...888-165795.jpg

        I have a straight and curved one, got them at a fishing tackle shop, they are also used as disgorgers.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by malukaluis View Post
          Hi all I've been using a pair of these surgical forceps, they are perfect for removing just about anything... I have a straight and curved one, got them at a fishing tackle shop, they are also used as disgorgers.
          The hemostats I recommended are also known as the surgical forceps you recommended. I guess that proves that great mimes do think alike...

          With two curved and one straight hemostat I hardly ever use my needle nose pliers working on guitars and amps. Although I have all sorts of tools for electronic and electrical work there are really just a few that I use all of the time. I like having 2 pair of 7" needle nose vise grips which are very handy for all sorts of things. I like to have 2 good pair of wire strippers- one big enough to strip shielded cable without tearing the shield and one small enough to strip fine pickup wires. 8" Crescent wrench plus a set of nutdrivers- I have the SAE/metric Craftsman set which works really well. Although I don't run into a lot of metric nuts the metric drivers have a larger hole inside and will often work when the exact SAE nut driver doesn't.

          Two pair of wire cutters- one small enough for fine wires and one big enough to cut shielded cable and 16GA power cords. Plus a good set of stainless steel dental picks. For screwdrivers I usually use the 6-in-1 ones because they are so handy but I also use a driver with tiny interchangeable bits and one with larger ones. I also use a few long shaft screwdrivers for when you don't have clearance for the 6-in-1 driver. A magnetic picker upper. I glued one the small neo hobby magnets to the end of a plastic rod and that works better than any of the ones that I have bought.

          For soldering I have two different desolder tools- one with the rubber bulb and one with a metal barrel that is about 8 inches long. Like hemostats there are a lot of crappy import models out there so if you can't try them out first you want to stick with a brand that you know is good.



          Getting back to the hemostats you want to get the good ones (the tips bend too easily on the cheaper ones.) While I order a lot of tools over the internet I would want to actually try out hemostats before I buy them- see how well they grip small screws.

          Steve Ahola

          Click image for larger version

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          The Blue Guitar
          www.blueguitar.org
          Some recordings:
          https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
          .

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          • #6
            They are expensive, but for real quality I like the Lindstrom tools.

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            • #7
              I was going to Radio Shack for an 1/8" audio extension cord anyway so I thought I better check out their tools. Yes, they still have their 6" Curved Forceps(#64-065)- $10.99 these days but the best thing about them was that you could slip them out of the package to test them out. First pair did not open and close very smoothly but it was able to clamp onto the hang peg without bending or breaking. I would have brought along something smaller to test them out but you use what you got. Second pair worked very smoothly and gripped the peg just fine.

              There are a lot of crappy 6" curved forceps out there so I would not recommend that you buy them online from Amazon, et al. I've been buying the Radio Shack ones for over 20 years now and they were just as good as the premium ones at the electronics parts house that sold for twice as much. Probably the only tool that I would ever recommend getting from Radio Shack- although they have had some cool items from time to time.

              RadioShack 6 Curved Forceps : Forceps | RadioShack.com

              Be sure to check it out in the store.

              Steve Ahola

              P.S. Enzo recommended the flat duck bill pliers and I've found that they are really great for straightening out or forming component leads. BTW I had recommended wire cutters that hold the cut piece of wire and sure enough I didn't feel like digging them up the other night and when I clipped a lead inside an amp it went flying somewhere inside. I wasn't going to leave that piece inside the amp so after shaking it every which way I finally found the piece. Whew! Murphey's Law says that if that piece was left inside the amp it would have caused problems at the worse possible moment (probably at a gig after getting shaken around in transport.)
              Last edited by Steve A.; 04-14-2013, 05:48 AM.
              The Blue Guitar
              www.blueguitar.org
              Some recordings:
              https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
              .

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know if this will help the OP but others may benefit so I thought I'd mention the Hakko AKA Merry tools made in Japan. Much harder steel than you'd expect. Small wire cutter (dike) very handy for . . small wires, also sharply pointed and could be used for grabbing & prying out small bits like IC pins stuck in PCBs. The star performer IMO is the sharply serrated needle nose, which is an excellent tool when yanking bits of wire out of old fashioned eyelet board, tube sockets & pots. They may look like toys, and have a funny name, but I have a lot of respect for them. No point in going all the way to Akahibara, they're no cheaper in Tokyo than they are from Mouser.

                FWIW I must have 5 types of needle nose, & similar in wire cutters on my tool rack. Somethin' for every purpose.
                Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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                • #9
                  I have some Hakko wire cutters and as you say they are top-notch. And when I bought them they were a lot less expensive than Xcelite but every bit as good.

                  HAKKO | Soldering related equipment and materials | HAKKO CUTTING TOOL

                  I could find no Hakko at all at Mouser (closest they had was Plato tips for Hakko soldering stations.)

                  Steve
                  The Blue Guitar
                  www.blueguitar.org
                  Some recordings:
                  https://soundcloud.com/sssteeve/sets...e-blue-guitar/
                  .

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steve A.
                    I could find no Hakko at all at Mouser
                    RATS! Must have stopped carrying them. I have a Mouser order I'm putting in next week. I'll ask. Someone must have'em. I'll have to load up next time at Akahibara... seriously though, Fry's maybe? If you're in SF might snoop around Japan-town. Lots of good hardware to be found there. I like the carpenter's tools.
                    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Steve A. View Post
                      I could find no Hakko at all at Mouser
                      Found! I poked around in my Mouser paper catalog today and the tools I mentioned are now marketed as Eagle "Palm Grip Series" for instance Mouser part # 382-1018 "Flat-nosed Pliers Serrated" $19.97. Page 2128 of catalog 641, 2012.
                      Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Steve A. View Post
                        I have some Hakko wire cutters and as you say they are top-notch. And when I bought them they were a lot less expensive than Xcelite but every bit as good.
                        Assuming I'm looking at the right tools, Xcelite cutters are currently pretty inexpensive at Mouser.
                        e.g., PN 578-170M Xcelite 5" Shear Cutters @ $5.80
                        DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

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