Have you ever bent some components to trim their position but then you got your PCB’s track and soldering pad broken? I’m sure many of you have ever done it, since there would be many reason to do. Some of them just do that for aligning to get better visual appearance, and some others might do it for more serious purpose, such as allocating space for other component, or trimming some LEDs to fit the hole of the enclosure.
Take a look at Figure 1, a normal through hole PCB assembly for LED is done by soldering its leads directly to the PCB with its straight leads (Figure 1 A). This common assembly of two-lead components (such as LED, electrolytic capacitor, etc.) often accidentally break up the soldering pad and the connector track if we trying to adjust the component position by pushing the component body to bend its leads (Figure 1 B). Many people forget the fact that this component with this kind of wiring/assembly can be moved only in one axis (Figure 1 C).
When I was thinking about how to adjust many LEDs to fit the holes in its casing while maintaining its simplicity by directly solder them in the PCB to avoid messy cables, I got stuck in some ideas around how to bend its lead in a certain shape first before soldering to the PCB, that enable easy adjustment without breaking the PCB tracks/pads. Fortunately, after some hours of brainstorming, suddenly I got a simple trick: by soldering as a normal wiring/assembly (directly with its straight leads), but then twisting the LED’s body exactly 90 degrees after get soldered (before fitting into its enclosure). The picture in Figure 1 D is a top view of an assembled LED on a PCB: the two right-left dots are the PCB holes , the two top-bottom dots are the points where the leads are attached in the LED body, and the connecting lines between two dots are the twisted leads. Now you can trim the LED/component body in all direction without breaking the printed circuit board and have a good day 🙂