Erector Set-like metal bars?!
January 23, 2012 9:12 PM   Subscribe

What do you call the metal bars that have two flat parts with a 90 degree angle with screw holes on both sides? I'm thinking of getting some and cutting them to the lengths I need but I have no idea what they're called, any other information on Erector Set like prefabricated elements would also be appreciated.

For a little more information: I'm wanting to build a rack to hold two synthesizers inside of a music case, such that I can raise them to a 45-60 degree angle once the case is open, by having extra bars that can be locked into place.. but the whole thing folding flat for transport.
posted by TheKM to Shopping (14 answers total)
Best answer: Angle iron?
posted by restless_nomad at 9:13 PM on January 23, 2012

posted by danceswithlight at 9:18 PM on January 23, 2012

Best answer: I'm pretty sure the angle iron is what you need, but a corner brace, a flat corner brace or a mending plate may also be handy. (various sizes)
posted by aimedwander at 9:20 PM on January 23, 2012

Response by poster: That's it exactly! Thanks.

Bonus questions: Is it a good idea to make hinges directly out of it and would washers help them turn?
Also, is there a non-angled.. iron..?
posted by TheKM at 9:25 PM on January 23, 2012

The term for a non-angled piece would be "strap" and you might find this list of Simpson Strong-Tie products mentally stimulating. You can buy most of their stuff at Home Depot or Lowes - ask where to find the "joist hangers" and such. It'll typically be near the framing lumber, because these products are intended to improve the strength and efficiency of framed (i.e., 2x4) construction.
posted by richyoung at 9:32 PM on January 23, 2012

I'm not totally following what you mean by a hinge, but if you want something like a "hinged angle iron" you're looking for a Piano hinge also known as a continuous hinge. I'm probably misinterpreting your question though.

You can also look at Stays, here's another locking version,

Non-angled iron without holes (i.e. a flat piece of metal) would generically be called "flat stock".
posted by true at 9:34 PM on January 23, 2012

I can't quite tell from your explanation what you are trying to do, but I think it may be helpful for you to go to a site like McMaster-Carr or Grainger and just look through all the various off-the-shelf metal shapes and stock you can get.

For example, check out:

- Structural framing.

- Brackets

- Struts & channels

- Various metal shapes

- And hinges (and it sounds like you may be looking for "piano hinges"
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:35 PM on January 23, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, this is all very mentally stimulating..
By "hinge" I guess I just mean a joint between two pieces such that they can rotate relative to one another.
posted by TheKM at 10:00 PM on January 23, 2012

Best answer: Sounds like you're trying to do something like this pop-up mixer case. I'd suggest getting two of these racheting cabinet stays and mounting them so that rack is tilted upwards when the stays are racheted out, and the rack closes flat when the stays are racheted fully closed.
posted by suedehead at 10:02 PM on January 23, 2012

Whoops - my first link should be to this pop-up mixer case.
posted by suedehead at 10:02 PM on January 23, 2012

Angle iron can be expensive. If you're on a budget, you can scrounge up an plain old metal bed frame and cut that up for angle iron.
posted by Ostara at 10:03 PM on January 23, 2012

Making serviceable pin joints out of perforated iron members and bolts is certainly possible.

My old Meccano set instruction book had two ways to achieve this. In Basic Construction 1 (BC1), you bolt the two members together loosely, then add a second nut (the locknut) and tighten the two nuts against each other. If you want to smooth out the action, add three washers (one under the bolt head, one between the swinging members, and one between the second swinging member and the first nut).

For BC2, you clamp one of the members between the nut and the locknut. That saves you a washer (because now you only need one either side of the non-clamped member) and makes the joint less sloppy (because the whole bolt and nut assembly is now firmly attached to one member) but it puts the thickness of a nut and a washer between the two members, which might make your joint susceptible to unwanted twisting forces.

Both of these constructions can work just as well with adult-sized angle iron as they did with Meccano. But both of them are fairly lumpy things, and it's hard to make them look neat, and because the friction region is quite small and not very smooth, they tend not to wear as well as purpose-built hinges.
posted by flabdablet at 11:06 PM on January 23, 2012

If you are mounting rack mount equipment, you'll probably need your angle iron to have holes drilled in the rackmount pattern. Something like this.
posted by gjc at 4:43 AM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: Aah, thank you all, you've given me a lot to consider.
The equipment isn't exactly rack mount, they're more desktop synth modules. But they have screw holes in them(you can get rack ears also but since it's nothing like a true rack I'm making I'm just going to jury rig something.)

The pop up mixer case is a really good example.
posted by TheKM at 11:46 PM on January 24, 2012

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