Introduction: Giant Steel Skeleton Hand (and Coat Rack)

Picture of Giant Steel Skeleton Hand (and Coat Rack)

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.

Step 1: Find Some Scrap Nuts and Bults

Picture of Find Some Scrap Nuts and Bults

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

Picture of Make the Fingers and Thumb

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

Picture of Make the Palm of the Hand

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

Picture of Attach the Arm to the Palm

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

Picture of Attach the Fingers and Thumb to the Palm

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!

Picture of Welding Completed!

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

Picture of Mount on Wall

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.


RyanS439 (author)2017-11-08

I made it and it looks beautiful great for halloween

Databanks (author)2016-10-04

Reo-rod works well, too - I'll post photos when I finish welding

Databanks made it! (author)Databanks2016-10-04

Not quite finished

new0002 (author)2016-07-21

would this be good for a school project??

amlee16v (author)2016-01-22

you can strip the galvanize off with apple cider vinegar or 50/50 muriatic acid, following precautions on bottle.

amlee16v made it! (author)2016-01-22

Altered it a bit, I like regular bolts instead of carriage bolts. I thought it looked too rheumatoid arthritis.

JordanD12 (author)2015-09-21

What was the size of the nuts you used on yours?

ebend12 (author)2012-05-22

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

chicopluma (author)2012-02-05

haha cool

GeArGuY (author)2012-01-15

Really cool, I wish my welder would come sooner!

CaptPikel (author)2011-12-08

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.

аткаченко (author)2011-08-30

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-05-06

My latest completed welding project Not exactly an entire skeleton, more of a cat.

dan (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-05-06

wow! nice kitty!

T3h_Muffinator (author)dan2007-05-06

Now hand pets kitty!

botronics (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-08-02

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.

zigzagchris (author)botronics2011-08-27

Harbor Freight :)

theghillieman (author)botronics2009-08-01

I love harbor freight

T3h_Muffinator (author)dan2007-05-06

Thanks =)

looks like the cat from Coraline what with the flat head

botronics (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-08-03

I just finished the cat today.

Jynx. (author)botronics2010-08-31

This reminds me a lot of the cat from the movie "Coraline".

T3h_Muffinator (author)botronics2008-08-03

AWESOME! Great job, it looks sweet! What'd you use for the tail? I had problems with burnthrough on that one.

botronics (author)T3h_Muffinator2009-08-01

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.

botronics (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-08-04

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 =)

pmac93 (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-10-21

that homework sheet looks familiar.....what is it?

T3h_Muffinator (author)pmac932007-10-21

I think it's a rubric for one of my English papers..... I don't remember exactly, though... it's been a long while!

andy60 (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-09-19

wow thats really gd!

rkelly10 (author)2011-08-11

whats the size of the nuts and bolts?

killerke (author)2010-09-10

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

gaara0sama1 (author)2008-01-25

Can you sodder them?

pgd5000 (author)gaara0sama12010-09-03

no the solder connection would be to weak to hold very much weight

That Inventor Dude (author)2010-09-01

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 ...

Tupulov (author)2010-09-01

Very cool! A friend made one of these for me. I use it in my Cave to hang my different work aprons.

NutandBolt (author)2010-04-23

Great instructable, Your creations are great. I made the skeleton hand and it works great as hook behind the door in my work shed.

golddigger1559 (author)2009-12-19

 here is mine. i plan to get started on a life size human skeleton  

captaincoolness55 (author)2009-03-21

:D i am totally going to do this! great idea!

boneymaloney (author)2009-02-23

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.

hammer9876 (author)2009-01-03

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.

mspark400 (author)2008-02-07

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

mspark400 (author)mspark4002008-06-25

as promised i finally got my arc welder today! first project, This! After that, armor for my iron man exo-suit!

Esmagamus (author)2008-06-02

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.

R4Man18 (author)2008-05-16

The welds make me cry... Jeeze. Cool Idea very Terminator toy like.

rocksalt2342 (author)2008-01-19

you could use brass knuckles instead for the

that would look awesome if you used blades for fingers.

$ NAB $ (author)2008-04-20

It would have been better if the joints could move but anyway nice project

duck-lemon (author)$ NAB $2008-04-20

one of them was made by alexthegreat

$ NAB $ (author)duck-lemon2008-04-25

Thanx a lot.I'll make that one too.

About This Instructable




Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
More by dan:Giant Xylophone made from Bed SlatsEasy Mothers Day Fudge (with small child)Mosaic Tile Pixel Art Car
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