From Steven Dufresne on the Hackaday blog:
In one hand you hold the soldering iron, in the other the solder, and in two more hands the parts you’re trying to solder together. Clearly this is a case where helping hands could be useful.
Luckily helping hands are easy to make, coolant hoses will do the job at under $10. Attach alligator clips to one end, mount them on some sort of base, and you’re done. Alternatively, you can steal the legs from an “octopus” tripod normally used for cell phones. So why would you 3D print them?
One reason is to take advantage of standardized, open source creativity. Anyone can share a model of their design for all to use as is, or to modify for their needs. A case in point is the ball and socket model which I downloaded for a helping hand. I then drew up and printed a magnifying glass holder with a matching socket, made a variation of the ball and socket joint, and came up with a magnetic holder with matching ball. Let’s take look at what worked well and what didn’t.