|Project by curliejones||posted 06-07-2012 09:38 PM||2181 views||4 times favorited||6 comments|
Clamp cart – before the horse
I’m restricted from heavy work right now so I’m busying myself with tasks that I intended to do after the shop was built. I’ve put my stationary power tools on mobile bases and most recently, built a clamp cart. I originally did not think I’d want a cart, but I‘ve realized how handy it will be to have clamps that can all be moved to an assembly table. Additionally, I believe wall space will be limited in the new shop as I intend to have lots of operable windows for light and ventilation.
After reviewing many of the varied ideas others have used, I tried to design a cart for spatial efficiency and utility. After a few hours of design diddling, I realized this was one that I just needed to go ahead and build and then fit things in as you go along. A good inventory of what you have is necessary and keep in mind that ever-present “you can’t have too many clamps” so leave some room for expansion. Measure and count the clamps you have and handle them to find their balance points. Bar clamps, C-clamps, f-clamps, pipe clamps and others all have a best way to lean, hang or clamp them. I’m not sure that I discovered the absolute best way, but I did find ways to keep clamps from trying to escape their assigned spots while moving the cart around.
Some design considerations (for my personal taste) was to have just enough room to remove and return clamps to the rack without having to hold or move something else. This includes not clamping to the rack which would require unclamping before use. Easy on-easy off and no tangling or falling clamps. Sounds simple, huh?
I carefully measured pipe clamps and knew that I could lean them into slots in my A-frame design and most of the weight would be at the bottom of the pipe sitting on the base. I also measured my largest handscrews and knew that there would be room opposite the pipe clamps and between the A-frame towers for 12” clamps that require almost 24” in width considering the opposing handles on threaded rods. I settled on a 24” X 27” X ¾” plywood base with a 1.5” wide rim sitting atop to help contain clamps. I glued an extra thickness of ¾” plywood measuring 4’ X6” in each of the four corners where casters will be mounted from underneath the cart. I decided to make the two A-frame ends 48” high and crossed 1X4 members at a 12-degree angle, fastening those members at the top to each other and at the bottom to the 1.5” rim. The two A-sides were then connected across the top with a 1X4 that was dadoed 1-1/2” to accept the two thicknesses where the A-frame members crossed.
For the leaning pipe and bar clamps, I provided a 1X6 sitting in the cart bottom with holes drilled for the pipe bottom ends and slots for the flat orientation of the bar clamps. I fabricated a support channel with 8” deep slots and installed it 26” up from the bottom to keep pipe and bar clamps in place. There is little weight supported here with clamps resting on the cart bottom. These long clamps are leaning into their assigned slots and secured by a bungee cord to keep things in place while moving the cart. The back side of the cart has heavy 12” handscrews located on 2X hangers off the vertical 2X3 in an attempt to keep the center of gravity low and transfer the majority of clamp weight to the bottom platform. You’ll notice that where these handscrews are hung, as well as the small 7” handscrews, there’s a detent cut into the hanger near the outer edge. This gives the threaded rod a place to drop into, preventing the clamps behind it from easily escaping from their horizontal hangers. The shorter f-style bar clamps are placed into deep slots while C-clamps wrap around the same bar without the deep slots. This bar is supported at half the width of the cart by the upright 2X3 since the total weight of the clamps is bearing on this bar. Again, this came from “feeling” how the clamps want to hang. The top bar makes a great place to store 6” quick clamps; I felt it OK to clamp these on since they are easily removed with one hand regardless of being clamped in place. I seem to use these constantly as my extra hands to hold things until I further clamp, screw, sand, etc.
My method was that the “tree” should be well built using glue and screws and well attached to the base. All of the bars with slots meant to guide or hang clamps should fit well, but only be screwed in place. You may want to change the configuration at a later time. As you can see, there’s a variety of clamp types involved here and there is still the outside surface of the A-frame members where clamps may be hung.
I hope a couple of ideas help the next clamp cart builder; I know the many postings I read before building this one helped to guide me! Did I mention be sure to build in extra capacity for the clamps you know you will buy in the near future?
-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"