Picture of Hose Clamp Magic
Pocket Wonder

Hose clamps are ubiquitous in plumbing, and clamping a hose to a fitting tightly is critical in any plumbing system. Traditional hose clamps work great, but they can be bulky, and they don't work well around irregular shapes. Using stainless steel lockwire (also called safety wire) and a tool called a Clamp Tite, a custom clamp can be fabricated quickly and easily. 

Using this pocket-sized tool with lockwire, lots of types of connections can be fabricated, not just pipe clamps. This instructable will illustrate a simple example for fabricating an easy pipe clamp for a rain barrel. 
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Step 1: Problem?

Picture of Problem?
When collecting parts for a rain barrel, I neglected to test the fit of the outflow hose on the fitting. The hose barb end of the fitting was 1" but the hose was 1-1/4" inch. The fitting is not under pressure, so some sealant could have served to attach the hose to the fitting, but I wanted something more positive. 
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ajoyraman made it!10 months ago

Thanks for this great idea. I made a version of this tool and used it for wire-clamping a coconut-broom-stick. This avoids the individual sticks from falling out even under rough usage.

GeeDeeKay (author)  ajoyraman10 months ago
You made the tool in the picture? Impressive! I've found this tool and SS wire to be one of my most common go-to fixes. Longer lasting than plastic zip ties, especially in outdoor use. It works great in the veggie garden for bamboo trellis construction.

I would love to know more about that coconut broom. Do you have an Instructable for it? Could I use split bamboo instead? That's a much more common resource in the northeast US than coconut.

Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for your instructable which put me on the right track in building this versatile tool! Yes, split bamboo should be fine but you need to work on it. You need approx 100-120 split-bamboo pieces varying 1 meter - 0.75 meter long, 3mm one end tapering to 0.5 mm at the other end.
heathbar642 years ago
I didn't know they were selling this tool. I made one very similar many years ago based on a suggestion in an old popular science magazine for a homemade toole exactly like this. I guess I'll have to dig it out and use it again.
If you can dig out the article, (an perhaps a picture of the tool you made) I'd tell everyone that you are awesome--deal?
AHA!! I found it. April 1956 Popular Science page 238.
Here is the same page but scanned.
Aw jeez, I've got at least a hundred vintage popular sciences, and I have no idea which one it's in. But I do know where my version of the tool is. perhaps I'll take a picture later today.
Ok, here is the tool that I made. looks a bit different but works the same. As I recall, the one shown in the old magazine all those years ago looked exactly like the one shown in this ible.
Dear awesome64,
I think I just crashed my brain trying to figure out how to use this.
(Don't even wanna go near figuring out how to build this without buying a welder)

If you ever find the time, could you post a short ible or a usage manual?
pretty simple to use, just put the notch into the loop of wire and twist the loose ends around the hook and crank it down.
heathbar64 is all sorts of awesomeness!
I thought that this was going to be a homemade tool also. I have a similar tool sitting out in my shop that I made by looking at pictures of a clamp tite tool, mine doesn't look as nice but will do the job very well.
This is a nice instructable all the same though.
Good work
GeeDeeKay (author)  Topcat20212 years ago
Thanks. Since I've discovered this tool, I have been finding all sorts of new uses for stainless steel wire. It's relatively rust resistant and holds together really well in these clamp configurations. It's also really easy to remove a clamp by snipping the wires with diagonal cutters. I had no idea about the concept of lock wire until I started looking for new sources for wire. Cool idea, and one I could have put to use in the past and will remember for the future. -- Geoff
spiderham2 years ago
I made this one after seeing it in the Garrett Wade catalog.
Is there any chance you could write an instructible on the build of your tensioning tool?
Yours looks better than mine, I made one from a piece of pipe.
GeeDeeKay (author)  spiderham2 years ago
Sure wish I had such fabrication skills! Looks great.
I decided to just pay the nice folks to build one for me.
grt572 years ago
Nice Job... Well Done!
mayej2 years ago
I still use my safety wire pliers I used in the Navy when I worked on helos back in '91. Here is a page you can get the pliers I'm talking about and directly under them is this clamptite tool as well.
But don't buy them on this site, you can find them MUCH cheaper elsewhere.
erothman22 years ago
So elegant and functional: the perfect combination! Thank you SO much for introducing me to this technology. I love it and think it will help me turn bicycle wheels into wind-art whirlagigs with a little more style, and many other uses come to mind already!
dpiercy2 years ago
Another one quite like this - smaller and cheaper: Just google Haywire Klamper Tool - seems to use less wire, shows how you could make a double loop with the wire.
I bought a set of these some years ago at a farm show for about $18 The larger one can work clothesline wire .
Naugas2 years ago
How does it work on a hard, metal surface? It looks like the main wire loop (the one in middle when you start) would slip under stress and be squeezed together so the clamp loosens.
GeeDeeKay (author)  Naugas2 years ago
One of the fixes I have used it for is to re-secure the smooth metal but slowly rusting heat shields on the catalytic converters on my truck. The wire has enough stiffness that the corners formed on either side of the tip of the tool remain after removing the tool. The wire is bent over at that junction, and it seems to hold up quite well. Temperature changes don't seem to affect performance, either.

Your mileage may vary, but I've had great success with these clamps on all sorts of surfaces (plastic, rubber, metal, bamboo, etc.). I have not experienced loosening on any clamp I've created with this tool. Please let me know if you have any experiences different from mine!
I will definitely try this, I've never seen something similar. I've used clamps made of a thin stainless strip that you tighten with a special pair of pliers and a tiny buckle, but I like the simplicity of this method. Thanks!
farna2 years ago
The main reason I use one of these is that the "clamp" is nice and flat. I've used regular steel wire but you've got to be real careful not to get regular steel wire too tight or it snaps when you try to bend it over. The flat repairs are great for things like garden water hose repairs. I buy the brass repair ends and use these wire clamps -- real flat, wind up on my hose reel a lot nicer than the hose clamp that comes with the ends.
ezagent2 years ago
Nice instructable but I found Safety Wire Twisting Pliers at Harbor Freight for $12 to go with an $8 lifetime supply of locking wire. A quick hop over to youtube to see how wire twisting pliers work and I feel like I owe you a thank you for moving me forward. On the piece that you illustrate in your instructable, I wonder why you didn't just use a hose clamp. I presume the answer is aesthetic.
ezagent ezagent2 years ago
Apparently the clamp tite tensions way beyond the capability of the safety wire twisting pliers. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention.
GeeDeeKay (author)  ezagent2 years ago
In addition to fabricating clamps like this, lock wire is also used to secure components to keep them from loosening due to vibration, and to provide a quick visual check that a component is in place and has been fastened properly. In safety applications such as aerospace or auto racing, a glance at a fastener that has been lock wired will tell you it's been properly fastened. That's where twisting pliers work really well. The twist isn't under any significant stress, it's merely a way to keep the wire ends secure.

The right tool for the job, I always say. The trick is figuring out what that tool should be sometimes!
That is an amazingly useful tool, but I wish it wasn't $70!
GeeDeeKay (author)  mightywombat2 years ago
The model I used in the 'able was less than $30...
DieCastoms2 years ago
Your Ible is well written and your pictures illustrate your instruction well. Thank you for posting it!

My only negative comment to this Ible has more to do with the use of the tool and less to do with the Ible itself, and could simply be a misunderstanding: According to your instruction, you are using nearly 20 inches of wire to clamp your 1.25 inch hose, and only about 8 inches of it is used for the clamp. The other 12 is wasted?

Mike, at "DC"
GeeDeeKay (author)  DieCastoms2 years ago
Mike, I agree that there is some waste with every clamp, but at 2 grams per foot of wire and about $8 per pound of wire, my calculations work out to about 1.5 cents worth of wire left over after the clamp is complete. That's a cost I can live with. Those short 6-inch wire ends could be useful for some other purpose, I just haven't found it yet... ;^)

Whether it's a small clamp or a very large one, it's still just 2 6-inch pieces cut off, enough to hold fast the ends of the wire to the tool while tightening.
Greg Pless2 years ago
I had to have one of these when I saw it demonstrated at a boat show in Oakland, CA. It was $25 for the aluminum barreled version and more for the full stainless model. I bought the cheaper one and a spool of 316 SS wire, then went home to the shop and made a full stainless version to keep on my boat. It does waste a lot of wire, as mentioned by the previous commenter, but you can be sparing if you wrap it tightly around the tensioner pin. It's a bit of an art to use it and you need a good 120 degrees of movement room so you can't use it in a tight space for an emergency hose fix. Frankly, a standard hose clamp is much better and more economical if you need it for a small job, but... it's fun to find uses for it. My favorite use so far is binding a loop of larger sized rope without having to make a knot. For scenarios where you DON'T need a strong/life critical connection it's fine and a great compliment to any tool collection.
This is a great tool,I carry one on my motorbike and camper.
bluemoon62 years ago
Love to hear about new tools....
QSDR2 years ago
great product thanks for the info, another uncommon off the shelf item i recently discovered is a fastener, sometimes referred to as a 'threaded insert'.
GeeDeeKay (author)  QSDR2 years ago
Are you referring to the wood-threaded outside, machine-threaded inside fastener that is screwed into a hole drilled in wood, allowing a machine screw to be used for fastening? These are great for wood projects designed to disassemble and reassemble, because there is no wear & tear on the wood fastener holes. The metal insert stays in place in the wood hole leaving the machine threads to handle the repeated use. These inserts can be glued in place for even more holding power, too.

Or, are you referring to threaded rivets? These are also way cool because it permits a threaded fastener to be inserted in a thin surface that simply doesn't have enough surface area to provide much purchase for screw threads. Threaded rivets can be put into a surface "blind," meaning there is no need to have access the back side of the surface. This is great for attachments in sheet metal or other thin material already installed.

Both are frequent solutions of mine when the situation calls for it.

Thanks for the comment!
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