When you are wielding the Pololu Crimping Tool, this little beauty gives the impression of being crafted with the precision of a Swiss watch.
One of the problems you experience when you've been around as long as yours truly is that you get to see a lot of things. Actually, that isn’t the problem per se; the real issue is that you tend to assume that everyone else is au fait with the same things as you are.
As a case in point, I was just helping a young lad from the manufacturing bay downstairs to whip up a quick test rig using a standard 0.1" pitch breadboard (his boss had sent him upstairs to my bay to ask for help). As part of this, we needed a couple of flying leads with male connectors on one end and female on the other -- all he had was male-to-male.
"No worries," I said as I reached into one of the large plastic containers under the workbench and pulled out my trusty Pololu Crimper. "What's that?" asked my young companion. "The answer to all your flying lead problems," I replied.
It took only a few minutes to build the required custom leads, and the young lad was duly impressed, as well he should be. The point of all this is that it had never struck me that he wouldn’t have seen one of these tools before. This led me to realize that quite a few people may be unfamiliar with this device, so I decided to expound, explicate, and elucidate (don’t worry, I'm a professional, it doesn't hurt at all).
The first thing you'll need is some wire. The Pololu Crimping tool can handle 16 to 28 AWG (American Wire Gauge). I typically use 22 AWG stranded wire for this sort of thing.
The next thing you'll need is some 0.1" male and/or female metal crimp pins along with some 0.1" crimp connector housings as illustrated below.
The male and female crimp pins come in packs of 100, all presented on a metal strip. All you have to do is wriggle them back and forth a couple of times to separate them from the strip. It has to be said that the folks at Pololu have a lot of great products. It also has to be acknowledged that tracking down what you’re looking for on the pololu.com website can be inordinately time-consuming and frustrating, so use this link to take you to the male crimp pin page and this link to take you to the female crimp pin page.
In the case of the crimp connector housings (the same housings are used for both male and female crimp pins), the ones shown in the image above each hold a single crimp pin and are referred to as being of type 1x1. You can use this link to take you to the 1x1 housing page. From that page, you can use the "Select Options" field to take you to a wide variety of housings, like 1x2, 1x3... 1x10 and 2x2, 2x3... 2x20.
But the pièce de résistance is the Pololu Crimping Tool itself. When you are wielding it in your hands, this little beauty gives the impression of being crafted with the precision of a Swiss watch.
The best way to see this in action is to look at one or more of the videos that abound on YouTube, such as this offering by a guy called Ewan.
It's obviously impossible to say, "this is my best tool," because you need different tools for different occasions. I certainly wouldn’t use my Pololu Crimper as a hammer or a screwdriver, for example, and I cannot imagine what life would be like without my temperature-controlled soldering iron (I really need to get out more).
Still and all, at the end of the day, my Pololu Crimping tool -- along with its associated crimp pins and housings -- is a mainstay when it comes to creating my capriciously cunning contraptions.
Have you used one of these, or similar, tools? If so, do you agree with me as to their efficaciousness? If not, do you think you might be tempted to invest in one of these little beauties? Do you have any other items that you regard as being key members of your own tool collection?