How to Make an Anti-Static Wrist Band
Anti-static wrist bands are an important part of any electronics technician's tool kit. Static discharge from fingertips can enter sensitive electronic components when handling, leading to permanent damage of the component. Since some components cost hundreds of dollars, it is wise to take steps to protect them. To eliminate the threat of static damage, an anti-static wrist band is a simple way of providing continuous hands-free protection from static buildup in the skin while working on a device.
Things You'll Need
- Elastic or rubber wrist band (sized to fit your wrist)
- Sewing needle (any size)
- Brass thumb tack
- 6 - 8 feet of single-conductor solid-core wire (24 AWG size)
- Alligator clip (electronics supply store)
- Soldering iron
- Solder (high percentage of tin in solder best for this project)
Poke a small hole through the wrist band using a sewing needle. Only one small hole is necessary.
Strip off 1/2 inch of insulation from each end of the wire. One end will be used for the alligator clip and the other end will be soldered to the post of the thumb tack.
Heat up the soldering iron to full operating temperature, then hold the soldering iron tip against the post of the thumb tack for about 20 to 30 seconds. Touch the tip of solder wire against the hot thumb tack post periodically to see if it melts and runs onto the post of the thumb tack. Heat only until solder melts well enough to cover the post of the tack with solder.
Press the sharp post of a thumb tack through the hole punched through the wrist band, orienting the thumb tack so that the flat surface (head) of the tack is on the inside of the wrist band and with the sharp point facing outward. When wearing the wrist band, the flat head of the tack must be making contact with skin on the wrist.
Touch one end of the wire to the thumb tack post and heat both the wire and the tack just enough that the solder binds the wire to the post solidly, then apply just a small additional amount of solder to both for a strong bond. If desired, wrap the soldered pair with black electrical tape for a more aesthetic appearance, though this isn't necessary for functionality.
Solder an alligator clip to the other end of the wire and allow to cool for several minutes. Once cool, put on the wrist strap and connect the alligator clip to a screw or edge of any metal surface. All static electricity in your skin will now be channeled to the metal screw or ledge, preventing the static from making it to your fingertips. Wear any time when working on sensitive electronic components.