I was thinking about titling this a tale of three pipes. Because once I had these three lengths of scrap pipe kicking around, I had flanges for them and everything and often I'd think if I only had another pipe I could make a bench and use those pipes as legs. Well time passed and the fourth pipe never materialized.
That fourth pipe never showing up might just have been the luckiest break I had though. Because everyone knows a tripod only has three legs!
Step 1: Yeah But ...
Why make one of these? I already have a vise mounted on my bench. Bench vises are great for shoulder work. Work where you push off from your shoulder like filing. Not so great for say grinding. Then the sparks are flying just about at face level! That's not even the worst part about working up higher grinding. Man doing that would kick my touche in for me after just a little while. I'm no shrinking violet type either.
It was so bad I'd do silly things like stand on a step stool and work. In short I just put up with the limitations and worked around them. Yeah well there is a better way, just have a vise mounted lower. Duh! Why didn't I think of this years ago? You see it all has to do with ergonomics and the lower something is the more leverage and mechanical advantage you can wield over it.
Also people have seen my vise and said it is nice and all but I'm so pressed for space now so ah ... Ah no. If you don't have something like this in your workshop then you're wasting space with some of the other junk that you do have. Trust me this thing is so awesome it more than pays for the little space that it takes up.
I intentionally included pictures of my cluttered garage workshop just so you can see how this item fits in seamlessly even in the worst working environment. It moves around easily but stays put and is solid working on it too. It's all that and a bag of chips kids I'm not kidding you.
Step 2: But Whats It Take?
Not much really. This is an easy build. Like I said I couldn't even manage to get four pieces of scrap pipe together but I still managed to put this together. Lets look at some pictures then I'll describe what I did to make it all happen. Here is one with the vise removed. Yeah I thought this was so important I pulled my vise off my stand just for you. I cleaned it up some before its photo shoot too, but what is there is spark burnt on so it didn't clean up so good. Oh well.
Step 3: Peek Under the Hood
That last picture doesn't tell much more than the vise mounted on it did. These photos will tell the rest of the story. I said this thing is portable but it is a lot easier to pick up with the heavy vise off of it. It drags around a bit here and there OK though in place. I do that often to get a better angle of attack on whatever it is I happen to be working on in it.
I'm a junk collector, being such I have a lot of junk hanging around. Rarely do I have the exact piece of junk I want though. In this case I had a lot of 90 degree pipe fittings for this particular size of pipe, but no 45s. So I took two 90s I did have and cut them in half in my chop saw. This got me four 45s!
I'm going to be welding one side of these to the bottom of my plate anyways so no great loss losing the threads like I did. Yes, I was somewhat concerned about the overall strength of the weld here. But in use it hasn't been an issue at all, and I didn't do the greatest welds either. If one breaks someday I'll just weld it better I guess. So far it hasn't happened. I've beat the snot out of some stuff in this rig too.
In the heat of the moment I am not one to hold back. I treat my vise tripod like the rented mule that it is.
Step 4: If I Were to Do It Again
Oh I'd definitely do it again! But if I did I'd cut my legs after I'd welded up the base plate. Seems the geometry there is a bit more complex than it looks and all of the pipes being the same length the plate doesn't come out completely level. I did something silly with my left over 45 coupler to straighten my tripod out.
It wasn't a game ender but it doesn't thrill me that I had to do it either. If I'd have marked my legs with a level after the plate was made and they were in it I could have put fancy angled cuts on them too maybe. But maybe it is better I did it how I did it? because square cut the legs are somewhat adjustable in their threaded couplers.
If you're a beat it into submission kind of guy like I am then this Vise Tripod will be a valuable weapon in your arsenal. I really can't over sell how handy it has been for me since I've made mine.
The pipes I used are 2 inch water pipes. They're pretty rotten, one even has a hole clean through it. Still seems to be "the right size" to use for this application to me.