|Project by stefang||posted 05-09-2009 04:13 PM||44502 views||114 times favorited||44 comments|
This is my first posted project, I hope you like it!
I couldn’t find commercially available toggle clamps here in Norway, and I didn’t want to order them from the States because with postage and customs duty the cost would be at least doubled. The solution was to make my own. I wanted to share this with the LJ members, who might appreciate saving some money on a very useful shop item, especially folks with a limited hobby budget. These clamps are almost free, being made from plywood scraps, cheap threaded rod and nails. They are also very easy and quick to make. They are not very pretty, but are very effective, and I haven’t worn any out after using them for about four years.
The first picture shows two sizes . They can be scaled to any size by enlarging or reducing the patterns in a copying machine . The next picture shows the clamps in a locked position. The third picture shows them attached to a stave cutting jig, and the last one is composed of the patterns for both sizes. Be aware that the sides and the connectors (smallest part) will require two pieces each.
There are basically 6 plywood parts in various thicknesses in each clamp, plus a bottom (optional) which I only use on the larger clamps. In addition, there 4 axles which I cut to appropriate lengths from 1/8” high tensile strength nails with my Dremel cutting disk. A length of threaded rod with an epoxied foot on the end, a nut under the clamp arm and wing nut on top provides adjustability for the foot height. The reach of the clamp is regulated by inserting the the rod through one of two holes drilled vertically through the clamp arm, one towards the end and the other closer towards the rear. The approximate thicknesses for the plywood parts are noted on the patterns below. Please note that it is important that the highest hole on the clamp side points towards the clamp foot end (front).
To make the clamps, I just trace the patterns onto plywood in the proper thickness including the location of the axle holes and cut the parts out with the bandsaw or scrollsaw and drill the axle holes. I cut a lot of parts at the same time and then assemble them when needed. The patterns (as shown above) cover two different sizes. I made them out of thin hardboard The idea is to just print them out, re-size them in a copying machine if necessary and then pasted onto a thin piece of hardboard for cutting and drilling to be used as templates for tracing. Save them for future use!
The re-sizing might not it be necessary, but I’m still not sure how the uploads work with printing (I’m a computer challenged person). Regardless of the size, the scaling will be correct and the clamps will work. The approximate thickness is marked on each pattern piece. Please disregard the large hole in the center of the handle on the large clamp as it has no function.
I think the pictures pretty well describe how they go together, but you can contact me if you find anything unclear in my description of the process or sizing. After assembly it’s a good idea to cover the axle holes with epoxy or a thin piece of wood to prevent them working their way out with repeated use. I also glue a piece of sandpaper to the bottom of the foot to prevent slippage. Feel free to make any changes or improvements you want. Good luck!
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.