One of the things I love about 3D printing is how it’s empowering makers and inventors to come up with new devices that would have been prohibitively expensive to prototype and develop otherwise. Many of these new products would not have seen the light of day, and in fact sometimes the production models are 3D printed, as well. At NY Maker Faire, I saw a pretty cool little device, invented by Niall Barrett, CEO/Founder of Protosonic Ltd. It takes pin art boards, those fun little novelty gadgets from the ’80s that are so much fun to make impressions of your hands or face, and gives them a useful purpose.
“PinJig is a time saving tool for rapidly assembling electronics that makes soldering easy,” says Barrett. “It’s the only solution for makers that can clamp every single thru-hole component in one easy sequence.”
Barrett says he came up with the idea for this nifty little device in 2014, when he discovered first hand just how painful soldering a thru-hole circuit board could be. The process is massively time consuming and the board must be rotated to solder. When you do that part regularly fall out, the problem is that simple. Barrett couldn’t find an existing solution to the problem, so he invented his own, thus PinJig was born.
PinJig is a modular system for securing PCBs or other small workpieces for soldering or other detail work. The body of the device is 3D printed and it uses a rail system that works with open source Makerbeam and Openbeam mini t-slot aluminum framing systems and Makeblock. It also supports traditional ball and socket jig systems, as well as carbon fiber and stainless steel rod. PinJig is lightweight and small, so it won’t take up much room on your desktop and is easily transportable.
Using PinJig with a PCB is simple and only takes four easy steps. The first step is to put all the thru-hole component parts in your board and clamp the board onto the t-slot rails. Step 2, push the PCB tray into the device. Next, flip the PinJog over and activate the release mechanism on the side of the device to lower the pins, repeat to lock the pins into position. The last step is to flip the device back over, now you’re ready to solder. The pins conform to the shape of the thru-hole component parts, cradling the board. It’s pretty ingenious.
PinJig has received a lot of attention and it seems I’m not the only one to think this is a forward thinking product. Raymond Kurzweil, acclaimed futurist and inventor, called PinJig “Da Vinci level genius,” after seeing it at NY Maker Faire 2015. He wasn’t the only one to notice and PinJig received the Make: Magazine Editor’s Choice Award at Maker Faire.
Protosonic is launching PinJig through an Indiegogo campaign. PinJig starts at $129 for early backers and their 3D Printed OctoJigat $79. The fully loaded PinJig Premium goes all the way up to $319, including everything a maker will need to level up their setup. I have a feeling that this is going to be a popular product for anyone that does PCB prototyping, makers and anyone else who could use a helping hand in the workshop.
Below is the PinJig Indiegogo campaign video: