I’m soldering a bunch of LED matrices for an upcoming project, using the excellent Trellis driver boards and UV LEDs which I’ll be controlling with Trinket Pro boards. To keep all 80 LEDs straight while soldering, I decided it would be worth the effort to make a jig to hold the LEDs in place, rather than use the usual method of bending LED legs. (Sometimes the bent leg method leads to slightly tilted components, and for my final application I want the LEDs to be very uniformly oriented.)
I drafted the jig in Rhino, and then cut it on the laser cutter from 1/4″ acrylic. Here’s a video loop of the cutter in action, making me slightly nervous with those flare-ups as the beam hit the vector grid, but it turned out just fine. (If you look closely you’ll see the ghost of my Chewbacca mask watching over me in the reflection of the lid.)
Here are a set of LEDs awaiting their solder-y fate.
Building jigs isn’t always worth the effort, but in this case I think the investment was worthwhile.