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Old 21st Jun 2019, 9:53 pm   #1
ajgriff
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Default The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Inspired by the acquisition of an excessively large number of Lidl alligator clips and the exhaustion of another jar of Marmite I’ve added a second fun product to what is now known as The Marmite XX range.

Some years ago I borrowed one of those cheap ‘helping hands’ devices to see if it would prove to be a useful aid when soldering and tinning small components. Unfortunately, I found it fiddly to set up and rather unstable into the bargain. The magnifier just got in the way and the soldering iron stand was surplus to my needs. At the time I felt that it should be possible to construct something more practical and, after an overly long gestation period, The Marmite HH has finally arrived.

This is a simple little device consisting of not much more than the jar, a couple of lengths of single core ring main wire, four alligator clips and some ballast. Hopefully the photos illustrate the construction method adequately. The ballast is Fuller’s earth cat litter but dry sand would be equally effective. I used Gimp for the label artwork although using the term ‘art’ may be stretching things a little.

The fourth photo shows The Marmite HH assisting with soldering a resistor string for an HV probe (another little project that has endured a long gestation period) and the fifth photo represents the current extent of The Marmite XX product range. Like its predecessor the HH is proving to be a useful addition to the bench and I’m hoping that the arms will last reasonably well without premature breakage due to stress fractures.

I’m sure that other forum members will at some point have constructed their own soldering aid. However, I’d be surprised if there are many out there with the sleek lines of the classic Marmite jar. Love it or hate it, I hope that the Marmite HH brings a smile to the faces of a few fellow eccentrics.

Alan

PS, The Marmite VR companion product is described in this thread:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=153159


STOP PRESS: Each Marmite XX product is now supplied with a self-adhesive non-slip pad for the base.
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Last edited by ajgriff; 21st Jun 2019 at 9:59 pm.
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Old 21st Jun 2019, 10:04 pm   #2
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

I'm rather liking that. Nice job!

I can't stand the stuff but the kids get through a ton of it. Never thought of it as an enclosure! QRP transmitter time!
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Old 21st Jun 2019, 10:47 pm   #3
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Hi Alan,
That fourth picture looks slightly sinister- it's like some multi headed monster has been formed in the dark recesses of your kitchen cupboard!

I love your attention to detail though- the tiny grommets in the lid and the heatshrink over the clips are nice touches!

As this is a vintage forum I do think you should have used red & black rather than blue & brown

I like it!

All the best
Nick
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 10:13 am   #4
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Funnily enough Nick I would have preferred to use black and/or red sheathed solid core wire as that would have suited the Marmite theme better. Just didn't have a suitable gauge off-cut to hand.

Alan
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 12:22 pm   #5
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

That looks like a good idea. If like mine, your reel of solder tends to slip into the fifth dimension from time to time, a handy coil of solder could be kept inside the jar with a hole drilled in the lid to pull it through as required.

Eddie
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 12:31 pm   #6
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

That's a good idea. It beats my attempts to grow a third arm!
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 2:21 pm   #7
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

A great excuse to consume even more Marmite than I already do!

Regards,
Paul
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 3:59 pm   #8
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Having a hollow base makes sense, if the C of G is ever marginal you could always change the ballast for old fishing weights.
Dave
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 4:57 pm   #9
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Or pennies. Probably cheaper now!
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Old 22nd Jun 2019, 7:55 pm   #10
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Without going as far as trying to calculate moments of force, the centre of gravity issue was considered during both the design and testing phases of this little project. Fuller's earth is a reasonably dense medium and the centre of gravity of the filled jar is quite low relative to the position of the clips when in a working position. The Marmite HH weighs just over one pound (around 0.5kg). Furthermore, the provision of four helping hands means that one of the spare clips can be bent over and fitted with a suitable counterweight if needs be. The photo shows the device comfortably holding a functional (not dried out) component without loss of stability.

Alan
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 2:50 am   #11
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

I see a series of Marmite miniature test equipment growing out of this. Need a power supply reference? We have that flavor. Decade resistor/capacitor tool? We have that flavor. Pocket signal generator? We got it...
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 11:16 am   #12
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Vegemite eat yer heart out .... the original and best [it is a nice and unique jar - to good to discard] !
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 11:22 am   #13
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

The photo does look like the capacitor is being charged from Marmite.

Versatile stuff.

Earlier it was mentioned that the thing looked like a sinister dark monster. Time for a Cthul'hu themed one?

David
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 12:00 pm   #14
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

If any forum members are considering making this project l have an unlimited supply of used cat litter which, as it is from an entirely fish-based menu, is considerably heavier than the fresh variety!
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 12:34 pm   #15
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

I'm really impressed with this. As a Marmite hater (one has to love or hate, right?) I'm casting my eyes around for some other kind of jar to try.

I did buy a "helping hands" from Maplin (remember them?) that was total pants. The parts had to be held in place by tightening fiddly little plastic knobs which of course stripped in my attempts to get them tight enough to stop moving. Waste of money, except for the magnifying glass bit which I kept for general use.
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 2:35 pm   #16
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Quote:
I'm casting my eyes around for some other kind of jar to try.
Mmmm.........Bovril?
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 2:54 pm   #17
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

You could use a jar with a metal lid simply by soldering the copper wire to the lid. It wouldn't look as neat as Alan's effort but would be equally functional.
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 3:16 pm   #18
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBland View Post

I did buy a "helping hands" from Maplin (remember them?) that was total pants. The parts had to be held in place by tightening fiddly little plastic knobs which of course stripped in my attempts to get them tight enough to stop moving. Waste of money, except for the magnifying glass bit which I kept for general use.
I bought one from a guy who has several tables of tools at our local flea market.
It has real wing nuts as opposed to the pressed tin ones.
It works well and has a solid metal base for stability.
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 4:45 pm   #19
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

First photo - frivolous -

Second photo - serious -

Alan
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Old 23rd Jun 2019, 8:50 pm   #20
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Default Re: The Marmite HH - Helping Hands

You need really hot toast to spread crock clips evenly, worth the effort, more iron per serving than Marmite.
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