A hand tool has been developed for crimping leads in flexible tails that are parts of some electronic circuits — especially some sensor circuits. The tool is used to cut the tails to desired lengths and attach solder tabs to the leads. For tailoring small numbers of circuits for special applications, this hand tool is a less expensive alternative to a commercially available automated crimping tool. The crimping tool consists of an off-the-shelf hand crimping tool plus a specialized crimping insert designed specifically for the intended application.

The components of the insert and their roles include the following:

  • A pin guide aligns pins on the solder tabs with the leads in a tail that is part of the flexible circuit.
  • A punch pushes the pins through the pin guide and crimps them onto the tail.
  • A forming plate aligns the tail over grooves that form the pins from the solder tabs.
  • A spaceplate includes a surface that serves as a stop for positioning the tail when the tail is inserted in the forming plate.
  • A dowel pin enables semi-permanent assembly and alignment of the punch, pin guide, and springs.
  • A pin holder holds and helps to align the solder tabs before crimping.

This work was done by Aaron Hulse and Myron A. Diftler of Lockheed Martin Corp. MSC-23461-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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