Another New Tool !

Well, maybe not a tool but at least a new tool cart…

For all you toolies out there, here is my latest invention I have to show you.

In my efforts to streamline the operations in the studio I have realized that I do not need ten of every tool. There is no need to have ten sets of wire cutters when two will do the job.

So I NEEDED to make a tool cart that I could move around the studio and hold all the tools that would be needed in the normal course of fanciful creation!

So off I went to make it happen… just one problem; I didn’t know what tools were needed in the normal course of fanciful creation.

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I did know the size and shape of the cart and set about making it. The rest of the details, like where each tool would be held and how they were to be held had to develop as the project progressed.

Well it took about 2 weeks but I got it done… for now. It holds all the smaller metalworking tools… like vise grips (yes I have a lot of vise grips), chisels, hammers, measuring tools, screwdrivers, and what not.

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Check it out and let me know if you think there is something that needs to be added.

 

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Making a Tool… Oh Yeah!

This past year I was asked to create some Art Nouveau window screens. (check them out here)  There were about a dozen units to make, with about 10 curves each.

So I needed to make a special use tool!  Why, you ask? Because I am a metalworker and making tools is part of the game!  And everyone needs more tools.

Plus, remember those 10 curves per unit? While they were not identical, they had matching parts. I needed a tool that would let me create these curves with some uniformity.

Bending ½ inch solid steel square stock is not an impossible thing to do by hand, but making them match all the others would be almost impossible.

So here is where the tool comes in.

I needed to make something with a lot of leverage and a uniform bend. No problem.

But now I hade to make it more complicated. It needed to re-bend each piece in the opposite direction.

The metal is placed in the bender and held in place by pressure. I then pull the long handle and make the bend.

bend 1

bend 2

The bent section is inserted back into the unit with a different radius and a pull of the handle makes the smaller curve.

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Now they still needed to be tweaked to match each other, and cut to the correct length. But that is part of the game.

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The tool now sits in the corner of the studio… waiting.

You never know when I will need to make a bunch of 7 inch radius curves in a piece of ½ inch stock.

Let me know what you think of this design…

or just what color I should paint it.

You can reach me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

Or use the form below.

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What Does It Take?

Here is the question for the day.

What does it take to attach a flat plate to the bottom of a post on a handrail?

That may sound like an easy question…and an easier event to make happen.

But for some reason it is not.

The plate needs to be:

Square to the vertical post

Square to the sides of the post so the base is not rotated off center

And centered on the post so the cover will fit over it correctly.

Let me step back and add an explanation.

two pieces

I cover all the anchor bolts on all my handrails as a way of making it look more finished.  And this plate has the holes through which the lag bolts go to screw into the anchor point.

Well, I have delt with it in a number of ways, each with varied success.

So I decided to make a tool!

                 (My regular readers will not be surprised with that statement.)

So here is what I have been using for about 3 years now.  And it works great!photo 4

I started with one of those $3 Chinese knock offs of “vise grips”.  They are perfect for making tools like this job.  I took some pieces of angle iron and mounted them so the tool would grab the end of the post.

Then I determined what was level and square and added wings to steady the punched plate.

I then learned, there needed to be some way to hold the plate in place… so I added small lips to two sides.photo 3

That’s it.  Sounded easy as I typed it out… but nothing is as easy as it sounds.

But I have done all the figuring out.  All you have to do is copy it , and you are there.

tool side

In use, it is very simple:

Clamp it on the end of the post.

Hold the plate in position, and tack it on.

Remove the clamp and weld it up.photo 2

Trust me…it makes the job much easier.

Weld one up and let me know what you think of the design.

 

I would love to hear your feedback.

You can contact me using the comment form below,  or email me at steve@stephenzmetaldesigns.com

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Another Homemade Tool

 

I am always trying to create tools that make my job easier. 

I do a lot of welding of threaded rods to the back of the metal layers of my military pieces. Well to get those threaded rod pieces I have to cut them from larger pieces.

I was cutting them by holding the rod in the band saw and cutting the lengths as I needed.  That makes for a lot of pieces all over the floor and some mean cuts on the hand and fingers. 

So I decided to “make a tool” to make it easier.  I quickly found, making the tool was not going to be a easy as I thought.   I made several attempts at something I could clamp in the saw and hold the rods for me…nothing worked right.

Then I came on the idea of a small space to hold the rod still and a shoot to catch it the pieces as they were cut.  It seemed to work OK but it was not perfect. 

One day I showed it to Ross, a friend and fellow designer, he simply said “you have it backwards”. And he was right.  I redesigned it to work from the other side and it has worked wonderfully for the longest time, and I hope for a long time more.

Here is the tool as designed:

 

here is the tool in the grips of the bank saw

Feel free to make one yourself…if you change it, and it works great, send me a photo.  I am always looking for a good tool.

The Fire Screen photos (part II)

Back on March 10th I showed you a photo of a fire screen I was working on at the time.

It was finished and delivered to the client at our Business Networking International Meeting.  We get together each week to help support each other’s businesses.  That is what BNI is all about, referring business to each other through qualified referrals.  (If you have not been to a BNI meeting you should give it a try.  You will be sold on the group.  Find a group at  www.bni.com)

 Anyway…

The screen started as a drawing the client gave me…

 

I then turned it into a computer drawing and cut it on the plasma cutter.  The pieces were bent up to give it a 3D effect.  The highlights were made with a gas torch.  It was then powder coated clear and was ready to go.

 

 

 

The fire screen turned out great.

So I thought I would post some photos for you to see. 

Let me know what you think…

 

Here is the Answer

Here are the 8 table mounted tools from the photo a few days ago.

                                                            How many did you locate?

 

 

 

Can You Find Them All?

Another “question blog” for you….

My studio often gets cluttered while I am working on a project…

But come on now… 

                                       I took this photo to illistrate another point, 

but just for fun, 

         how many table based tools can you see in the photo?

Hint: 

         There are eight (is that a good enought hint)

count all the tools in sight.