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Picture of Giant Steel Skeleton Hand (and coat rack)
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Bulid your own giant steel anatomic skeleton hand out of junky nuts and bolts! It makes a nice coat & towel rack too.

This is a perfect first welding project because you can make lots of mistakes and it will still come out fine.
 
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Step 1: Find some scrap nuts and bults

Picture of Find some scrap nuts and bults
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This project was inspired by finding a couple buckets of large nuts and bolts at a junk yard, and then deciding that i wanted to learn to weld. This project is great for your first welding project because if the welds are a mess it won't ruin the piece. There is not much measuring to do and if you make mistakes they are easy to fix or else they don't matter. You have a lot of flexibility on your choice of parts and you can easily build the hand at whatever size you want.

note: do not use galvanized nuts and bolts because they give off poisonous fumes when you weld them.

all the parts you need are shown below:

Step 2: Make the fingers and thumb

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Start by making the individual fingers and thumb. If you mess one up badly you can just make more! Use a vise or a locking plier to hold the fingertip, and hold the middle joint with the ground clamp. Choose the curve angle of your finger joint and then weld the two bolts together. Repeat to add the third finger joint. I made each finger with a different curve because I think it makes the hand look more alive.

The photos show the fingers already attached to the hand, but that's just because i forgot to take a photo before I attached them. At the end of this step you just have 5 loose fingers.

The carriage bolts are nice because you can choose the curve of the finger joint more easily and they look a little better. You can still choose your finger curve with a normal bolt but it is not quite as nice looking.

Step 3: Make the palm of the hand

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I made the palm slightly curved for looks. This was a little trickier than a totally flat palm. First line up the hex nuts in rows as shown. Weld together each row flat. Then weld one row to the next while holding at a slight angle to get a curved palm.

Step 4: Attach the arm to the palm

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First attach the head of the large bolt as shown. Then position the small bolt next to it and attach as shown.

Step 5: Attach the fingers and thumb to the palm

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Hold each finger at an angle you like and then weld to the palm. I used this size of hex nut in the palm because it made a good spacing and recessed attachment point for the fingers which makes the knuckles look more realistic.

Look at the various photos throughout the project to see the angle and spacing for the fingers and thumb. Of course you can choose your own finger layout!

Step 6: Welding completed!

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Some of your welds might be a bit sharp and pokey. you can use an angle-grinder or grinding wheel to grind them down a bit. I did this just on the palm a bit. use a wire brush wheel to clean up the surface of the metal so it will look better if you leave it as is, or so the paint will stick if you decide to paint it.

Enterprising medical students will notice that my anatomy is not entirely accurate. Real fingers have 4 segments, the first of which is inside the palm. Isn't it funny when fake reality looks more real than the real thing?

Step 7: Mount on wall

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If you want to hang coats or hats or towels, you can use the free end of the arm bolt to attach this to a wall. Here i just used a 3/4" pipe hanger to screw this to a wood post.
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ebend123 years ago
As a experience welder myself I would suggest you get a nice thick slab of steel to weld on and various steel bars, especially if you plan to move up to a welding process that takes both hands (i.e. oxy-acetylene or TIG). Ground to the slab and use the heavy bars to hold your pieces in place. Yes I know htat there are situations where this is very inconvenient but knowing what to use when is how to do anything properly
chicopluma3 years ago
haha cool
GeArGuY3 years ago
Really cool, I wish my welder would come sooner!
CaptPikel3 years ago
Nice project. I made a hand a few years ago and this reminded me of it. Probably right around the same time you first published this lol. I used steel wire for tendons. It was all scrap metal I had. Made it for the garden.
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http://garant-stroy.com.ua/
My latest completed welding project Not exactly an entire skeleton, more of a cat.
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dan (author)  T3h_Muffinator8 years ago
wow! nice kitty!
Now hand pets kitty!
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Love your kitty,so I made one too. Along with a few boltbugs. Welding in the "eyes" was difficult, so I attached them with a nut and washers on the back. The eyes would shift during the weld. By the way, I got one of those $50 Harbor Freight A/D helmets and it works great.
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Harbor Freight :)
I love harbor freight
Thanks =)
looks like the cat from Coraline what with the flat head
I just finished the cat today.
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Jynx. botronics4 years ago
This reminds me a lot of the cat from the movie "Coraline".
AWESOME! Great job, it looks sweet! What'd you use for the tail? I had problems with burnthrough on that one.
I should have arched the back a bit to make the cat look more natural. that back is pretty flat! Funny, one doesn't notice this until after it is done.
Its the iron wire they use to bundle up steel when it comes into the shop. About 1/8 " thick. I had to do it three times because I burned off the tail too!
I've been wanting to make a junk rat. (im an ametuer welder who has pet rats) and so I'm wondering where to start.
Hmmmm....... Well... I'd start with nuts and bolts, since they're easy to find and not expensive at all.

In terms of making the actual rat, make the body first, then come up with a creative way to make the head. Determine how 3-D you want it to come out, and just think out the whole process in your head; that's how I do mine =)
that homework sheet looks familiar.....what is it?
I think it's a rubric for one of my English papers..... I don't remember exactly, though... it's been a long while!
wow thats really gd!
rkelly103 years ago
whats the size of the nuts and bolts?
killerke4 years ago
hay, i made one myself , your tutorial was verry helpfull, i wouldnt think of something like this in the first place.
I'm verry thankfull maybe i can send u a picture of my completed hand,
It took about 1,5 to 2 hours to finish it, my dad won't be pleased when he sees i took all of is big bolts and nuts xD

btw thank you for this

grtz killerke
gaara0sama17 years ago
Can you sodder them?
no the solder connection would be to weak to hold very much weight
my grandfather works at a small welding company. and this is such a bl00dy good idea i may have to borrow some equipment from him ...
Tupulov4 years ago
Very cool! A friend made one of these for me. I use it in my Cave to hang my different work aprons.
NutandBolt5 years ago
Great instructable, Your creations are great. I made the skeleton hand and it works great as hook behind the door in my work shed.
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 here is mine. i plan to get started on a life size human skeleton  
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:D i am totally going to do this! great idea!
Seems to be a popular first project for up-and-coming welders like me. I'm using a plain old manual arc welder. Thanks for the instructable, Dan.
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hammer98766 years ago
As previously noted by other people, this project makes me wish I had a welder. I really like the idea of starting with nuts and bolts and ending up with a great coat holder. Great imagination.
mspark4007 years ago
Pretty awesome!! I have wanted to learn how to weld for a long time and you may have just convinced me it's time! Project 1 this ,Project 2 Skeleton!!! ps +1
as promised i finally got my arc welder today! first project, This! After that, armor for my iron man exo-suit!
Esmagamus7 years ago
Great idea, not new though. A friend of mine made a hand out of soft steel nails SMAW-welded together. Your welds do need some practice, but don't be discouraged. SMAW welding is tricky, a lot more than MIG.
R4Man187 years ago
The welds make me cry... Jeeze. Cool Idea very Terminator toy like.
EnigmaMax7 years ago
you could use brass knuckles instead for the
palm
that would look awesome if you used blades for fingers.
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