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Q&A

Is there a tool or trick for bending TO220 leads

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Small-shop question here. Is there a convenient tool for making the bend shown below, other than a pair of pliers that happens to be just the right size, and is it worth it for qty low 100's?

to220-bent

Not a huge deal, it is an in-house operation so that the offset dimension vs the parallel pcb surface comes out correctly in the assembly. (The transistors are doing double-duty as heaters to prevent a solvent condensation issue, so it's a slightly goofy assembly).

Thanks!

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3 comments

Yes, there are specialized hand tools for bending leads. Run some web searches for TO-220 lead forming pliers. Nick Alexeev‭ 13 days ago

Why would you bend them in the direction of that picture though? Are you using heatsink? Lundin‭ 13 days ago

Thanks! // Yes the surface under the PCB (parallel to it) is functioning as the heat sink. (with clearance hole in pcb for screw) Pete W‭ 13 days ago

1 answer

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There's lots of specialized tools for various through-hole components overall, all of them generally called "lead benders". For TO-220 it appears that the term is lead bending/forming pliers. And there exist lots of different versions, depending on how you want the legs to go.

This site (I'm not affiliated) has some nice illustrations of different examples: https://www.piergiacomi.com/piergiacomi/en/products/hand-tools/379-preformatori-to-dettaglio.html

That's for professional assembly lines. Otherwise, the general flat nose pliers that you use for most through-hole work will suffice for low volumes and prototype work.

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