"It's gonna be clamp this, clamp that. Bada-climp, bada-clamp!"
May 7, 2010 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Hardware question: is there a common sort of clamp for holding a round/tubular object?

I want to build my own bike repair stand. Most of the materials are straightforward pipes and couplers, except for one crucial part: the clamp. On commercial stands, the clamp is a nice wide, padded set of jaws adjustable with a big ol' knob. If I have to, I'll just buy that part, but I can't find it by itself (at least not for less than the cost of a whole repair stand).

I need something like a burette clamp (I remembered that from chemistry class!), but more heavy-duty, and preferably with quick release.

Does such a thing exist in woodworking or plumbing? Someone must need to clamp stuff to pipes/clamp pipes to stuff, right?
posted by supercres to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have found the electrical conduit aisle at the home depot to be marvelous for such random needs for these. I found one thing that i used to clamp a pinwheel to a tricycle, if you let me know what your email address is i can send you a closeup of the bracket in question.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:23 PM on May 7, 2010

Best answer: Years ago when I was researching ways to make a DIY bike stand (I never ended up building it) the best clamp I saw was a short woodworking pipe type clamp (a pipe with two padded clamp faces extending from and normal two the pipe, one of them being slidable along the pipe) and a wooden block which had a one inch diameter hole bored through it and then sawn in half across the diameter of the hole. Each block of wood was affixed to one of the clamp faces of the pipe clamp and soft rubber was glued into the channel created by the bore. It was not perhaps as pretty as a commercial clamp but it matched the shape of the seatpost and these clamps are dead easy to open and close without applying too much force.
posted by caddis at 1:32 PM on May 7, 2010

"normal to"

posted by caddis at 1:33 PM on May 7, 2010

Best answer: Hit up a Menards or Home Depot or well-stocked Sears Hardware, and check out the clamp isle. Usually near the hammers and t-squares and what not. I'll bet there is a suitable clamp there. I'd bet that a pipe-clamp or bar-clamp would do the job. Maybe even buy two of them and install them onto one pipe or bar for some articulation. I've seen clamps in this style that are mostly quick release- very much like a caulk gun- where you squeeze a handle a few times to put tension onto it, and then there is a release tab to release the tension.

If I were going to make one homemade, I'd probably not try to brute-force it like a custom built one. (Meaning, one really strong clamp in just the right spot.) Rather, I'd probably make something strong that you hang the bike on, and then a clamp of some kind to steady it.
posted by gjc at 1:35 PM on May 7, 2010

Wikipedia on hose clamps might help you figure out what kind of clamp to ask for.
posted by clavicle at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2010

I'd probably try something like caddis describes. I thin I'd try joining the blocks with a sturdy hinge at one end so you only need to clamp one side (or use a nut and bolt to tighten the clamp).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2010

The problem with hose clamps is that they're not really designed to be repeatedly undone and redone. Eventually you end up overtightening them and the screw pops loose, or you end up wrecking the screw. And they take time to put on and remove. You'd probably need several spares.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:48 PM on May 7, 2010

Three come-at-it-from-a-different-angle ideas:
one, two and three.
posted by chazlarson at 1:49 PM on May 7, 2010

Here's another design alternative. I haven't used one, but they're sold by Rivendell and REI and that strikes me as a reasonable vote of confidence.
posted by JohnFredra at 2:24 PM on May 7, 2010

Here is an example of what I was talking about. Pictures are easier than words.
posted by caddis at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2010

(Note that there's still a clamp, but it seems much simpler.)
posted by JohnFredra at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for the input. I was hoping for a response, "Oh yeah, you need a Petersen plumbing clamp, type C. Five bucks." Ah well.

8dot3 and gjc: I had the same thought about going to Lowes and browsing the aisles. Haven't gotten a chance to do so, and figured I'd come armed with some info first.

caddis: Yeah, I've seen that DIY job, or one like it. It's definitely one of the better options I've seen.

Actually, after posting this Q, I found this-- someone on etsy selling a stand with a machined a piece of plastic to take the place of the bored-out 2x4s in the pure DIY job. If I get impatient/lazy/frustrated, I might just buy the clamp part from him and build the stand (steel pipes and couplers and a sheet of 1/2" plywood).

John: I love that design, with the two rubberized bolts/rods. If it were just for display, I would go with that in an instant. I just anticipant rapid failure the second I try to put any counterclockwise rotation on a bottom bracket or crank :-) (I'm doing drivetrain upgrades, which renewed my interest in DIY stands.)

I'm starting to think that gjc has the right idea-- have part that supports the weight, and another part that steadies the frame and prevents rotation. A trough-like padded split piece of PVC for the top tube to sit in should support the weight on the balance point. A couple spring clamps on semi-articulated arms that attach to seat tube, top tube, and maybe seatpost might be enough to accomplish the second part.

Or would a few spring clamps be enough for the whole shebang? Hmm... Might be a sacrifice in across-bike flexibility if I tailor it to one frame.
posted by supercres at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2010

Response by poster: Do'h. Anticipant: when you can't wait to get into that new pair of trousers.

Anticipate, of course.

Will post photos/results when I figure out a course of action.
posted by supercres at 5:20 PM on May 7, 2010

Best answer: I'm thinking maybe a mafer on top of a c-stand or similar - something that the mafer would fit on, anyway.
Add a knuckle so you can rotate things about.
Or this guy, which combines the mafer and knuckle, maybe...?
Definitely take a look here. The cardellini may be of interest.
posted by zoinks at 7:02 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Zoinks: those are excellent! A little expensive, and I'm not sure how they'd interface with the rest of the floor stand I have in mind, but I'm definitely bookmarking that page.
posted by supercres at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2010

Response by poster: Okay. I got version 1.0 done recently, and just posted photos.

The clamp is a studio clamp + grip head from Calumet (this one), as zoinks recommended. It's incredibly study, though the joint between the two is still probably the weak point of the whole thing.

From there, in order: 5/8 galvanized nipple, 5/8 -> 3/4 bell reducer, 3/4 street elbow, 3/4 x 12 galvanized nipple, 3/4 x 1 reducing elbow, 1 x 60 pipe, 1-inch flange. Bolted that to a base of 2' x 2' + 2' x 4' particleboard, lag screwed together.

Works pretty awesomely, though next time I will get rid of the grip head (allows it to rotate, but not necessary and adds unsturdiness) and bolt a flange to a piece of aluminum plate and bolt that directly to the bottom of the studio clamp. I would also upgrade the vertical bar to 2" diameter and decrease the length of the horizontal to 6-8".

Thanks, all, for the help. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bike to work on.
posted by supercres at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2010

« Older How do I get this off of my concrete floor?   |   A Design for Life (with apologies to the Manics) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.