Glueless PVC joints that stay stuck together but can be taken apart in seconds!

Picture of Glueless PVC joints that stay stuck together but can be taken apart in seconds!
I love PVC pipe and tubing.  You can build awesome projects with it like Trebuchets, Steady cam systems, Light stands, Green houses, and tons more. Its a grownups (and kids) big erector set. But some things are too big to glue together so you want to disassemble them. Problem is sometimes your project just wont stay together without some glue. Using PVC glue is messy and smelly.

Now some have asked why I did not just buy some metal spring pins or clevis pins. There are a few reasons. Metal on plastic tends to wear down the plastic and make sloppy joints. The metal spring pins are too tough to push into a tight fitting hole and hard to drill to add a key ring. Plus you can make hundreds of these for pennies where as hardware can end up costing you a lot more money.

Here is my quick, easy, cheap and light solution to this problem:

(the next steps show you what I show you in the video below)
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Step 1: First gather your supplies

Picture of First gather your supplies

You will need:
  • Key rings, you can get 50 for a couple bucks at a stationary store
  • 1/4" poly tubing. You can get 25' of this at a hardware store for less than 5 bucks
  • Drill
  • 1/16" drill bit
  • 3/32" drill bit
  • Utility or hobby knife
  • Pencil sharpener

Step 2: The less than 30 second build

Picture of The less than 30 second build

  • First cut about a 1" section of tubing off
  • next drill a 1/16" hole in one end of the tubing to put a keyring on
  • taper the other end of the tubing
  • cut a slot along the length of the tube starting from 1/8" from the edge of the keychain hole to the end of the taper
  • pinch the tubing so that it curls under itself

Voila little plastic spring pin! 
Ogredude2 years ago
This is fantastic! This technique will surely see some use in the fan-run convention I help out with. We build lots of stuff out of PVC.
jtong772 years ago
This is brilliant. Thanks for sharing!
That's nice. The key ring doesn't seem to add much tho. Make the circle of wire bigger, then fold it in half like a taco, with the one end of the fold right through the end of the plug. Then, after you push the pin through the two pipes you can hook the loose end of the wire taco over the other end of the pin and kinda lock it in place, like the metal "grenade" pins they sell at the hardware store.
Love this idea! I'd like to see some projects that use this system.
MechanicalMashup (author)  Dream Dragon2 years ago
The projects using these are coming soon :) thanks for the pat on the back!
momm2 years ago
great idea, love the idea of functional easy erecter-ible objects. thank you.
Interesting alternative to using screws to fasten PVC pipe and fittings together.
MechanicalMashup (author)  technovative2 years ago
Ya I tried screws and wanted something for a faster tear down, that did not take any power tools and did not slowly make for lose joints. You can also carry these in your pocket and not worry about being stabbed in the leg from a screw :)