Using diagonal clippers

A handy tool tip from Ladyada on using diagonal flush clippers to cut headers (m4v).

Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.

Join 7,500+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython in 2018 – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

Maker Business — Fewer startups, and other collateral damage from the 2018 tariffs

Wearables — Light as a Worbla feather

Electronics — How to make your own magnetic field probe!

Biohacking — The State of DNA Analysis in Three Mindmaps

Python for Microcontrollers — One year of CircuitPython weeklies!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  1. Thanks for the quick tips.
    I can’t tell you how many female headers I have destroyed by not using this simple technique.

    BTW, I saw you wandering around Maker Faire RI. I wanted to introduce myself and say “Hi”, but when I later looked for you I couldn’t find you. Maybe next time…

  2. After cutting, you can clean up the female headers with an exacto — I find it makes for a prettier edge. When I’m being really tweaky I use a sanding block, too.

  3. Just a couple tips on cutting female header.

    * Save your diagonal cutters and pull the male pin out of the female header first. Use a pair of needle nose pliers for that. Why cut into metal if you don’t need to? Also easier to figure out where to cut, where the missing male pin is.

    * After nibling down the edge a bit, sand it smooths with a couple swipes on some gritty sandpaper. Always keep some at the left side of your desk for such things.

    Great video, thanks for this!

  4. @dataman: agreed.
    I’m a fan of removing the metal pin before cutting into the header. Doesn’t take much more time and it saves your cutters from getting notched / going blunt prematurely.

    Thankyou Ladyada, it’s a great tutorial about one of the many uses for a versatile tool.

  5. Ladyada, have you ever tried laser cutting the female headers to see if you can save both pins?

    I don’t know if it’d work, but it would be fun to try.

  6. abs plastic doesn’t laser well

    also, not sure why taking out the pin is that beneficial. the cutters are specifically made for cutting the kind of metal that headers are made of. after using them to cut thousands of leads i am not convinced they will notch when cutting through a header pin. 😉

  7. Nice tip – I’ve been doing the same thing for quite some time.

    I would add one thing though from the other comments. Skip the sanding paper altogether. No one wants to buy sandpaper when they can have a permanent tool for the job: a diamond fingernail manicuring board works wonders and cuts through most materials really quickly. I’m a guy and I have at least two of these in the house because they’re just so useful for small sanding/cleaning jobs.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.