Introduction: Multi Directional Ratchet Bar Clamp System

Picture of Multi Directional Ratchet Bar Clamp System

Most of the time I work alone, so clamps are my imaginary helper.

Sometimes my rachet clamps break. Not being a person to throw things away, I keep them in a scrap box.
Well I was in the need of clamping some oddly shaped items and I remembered my box full of broken clamps.

Well, I came up with a simple solution. I bent some S-hooks onto a welded ring and mated them with the broken ratchet clamps.

This will allow me to clamp in many directions; for the oddly shape item.
In this instructable configuration; I am using three clamps, but I could add more if I wanted to.

In the past I have made several holding fixtures and most of them take up valuable space when not in use.
This assembly allows me to break it down for easy storage and create other configurations.

Step 1: Components and Tools Used

Picture of Components and Tools Used

2-inch diameter welded steel ring- ¼-inch diameter wall

S-hooks 1 ¾-inch length 1/8-inch diameter wall (used three) – not all s hooks are made equally. I purchased a few sets and in the bending process, they broke. Therefore, I went with s hooks from rubber tie-down straps.

Ratchet bar clamp (used 2) 6-inch ---- (used 1) 24-inch – I used broken clamps and removed the damaged/broken finger end.
 Note: clamps that can take the one finger off - can work.

5-inch bench vise – really almost any vise will work

15-inch adjustable wrench

Large channel lock pliers

Step 2: Get Started by Bending S-Hooks

Picture of Get Started by Bending S-Hooks

I placed half of the S-hook into the vise. Using the 15-inch adjustable wrench, I put a 90-degree bend into it - by pulling the wrench towards me. I did this for all three S-hooks.

I then put the same part of the S-hook that was in the vice onto the welded ring. Using my large channel lock pliers I closed the end-permanently to the ring. I did this for all three S-hooks.

I choose to keep them mounted all in the same manner or direction.

Step 3: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

I choose to make a three clamp Multi directional ratchet bar clamp system. (wow that is a mouthful)

Since I made this to take apart, assembly is a loose term.

The clamps have holes in the end of the bars; the bent S-hooks are mounted into these holes.

S-hooks on the ring are all facing in the same direction, so all the clamps are position correctly to close around an oddly shaped item.

Side note: If I permanently squeezed the S-hooks to the ratchet clamps, set up for clamping might be easier- not sure, since I did not try this.I do know that if they were kept permanently all together, it would collapse nicely to hang on the wall.

Step 4: Some Clamping Options

Picture of Some Clamping Options

Keeping in mind that these ratchet clamps were in the scrap box.
I am pleased to have a new use for them.

Step 5: More Clamp Options

Picture of More Clamp Options

Different lengths of bars and different size clamps; along with different rubber pads can be use for specific applications.


MadScienceHacks (author)2015-09-17

nice! who would've thought!?

Brilliant idea!

110_Design (author)2014-01-27

Great project!

I have a few of those exact clamps in my shop and want to use this idea to make a more "removable" version of this, so I can easily switch between multi-clamping and the standard configuration of the clamps.

It's funny, one of my clamps have also snapped at the same trigger mechanism and drilled a hole through for a bolt exactly as yours and that clamps tighter than any of the other clamps... I am waiting for the day those break as well so I can also "upgrade" them.

Fikjast Scott (author)110_Design2014-01-27

I am glad you like the idea. I have a box of broken tools, mostly from garage sales, just waiting for an idea. I like the way you think, I have my eye on a few of my unbroken tools for upgrades.
Contact me, when you finish your clamping system.
Thanks for the comment and viewing my instructables.

foobear (author)2014-01-27

this is so clever

Fikjast Scott (author)foobear2014-01-27

Thank you
I really enjoy Instructables.
I look forward to your next one.


horseman woodshop (author)2014-01-01

Great idea! always looking for innovative ideas like this to help weird clamping situations. wish I would have seen this before I repaired an oak poker table the other day. Will remember this next time!

Thank you for the kind words and viewing my instructables

Chris-K (author)2013-12-29


Fikjast Scott (author)Chris-K2013-12-29

thank you for viewing my instructables and the nice comment.

twoherbs (author)2013-12-12

A few years ago, Lie Valley, as an April fools thing put this together. As I understand, that got so many requests they took it off their website.

Fikjast Scott (author)twoherbs2013-12-18

I took a look at lee valley thingabob. But it is not like mine. It has a large foot print, which I was trying to avoid. I like the idea that so many people made requests. Thank you for looking at my instructable and expressing concepts of other clamping solutions.

mario123 (author)2013-12-15

simple and brillant!! (Wilson from Argentina)

Fikjast Scott (author)mario1232013-12-17

thank you for the kind words and viewing my instructables.

no1speshal (author)2013-12-06

You should/could patent this! This has to be one of the smartest things I have seen in a long time. What an excellent Instructable!

Fikjast Scott (author)no1speshal2013-12-07

I have been creating things for so many years and never had such a large audience as instructables. Truth be told, I really do not know where to go from here. I have to start learning. Thank you for your nice comment.

vincent7520 (author)2013-12-04

nice ! … I'll save this page !

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-12-02

Excellent Idea! Thank you for posting this.... I too, have a few broken clamps like these!

Lorddrake (author)SlickSqueegie2013-12-03

while the keychains would give added flexibility to the clamping system, be careful how you use the clamps with those included in the configuration.

For light pressure clamping I am sure they will be fine, but the ultimate tensile strength of the keychains will be far less than half that of the S hooks since they are made of plated copper and not steel.

Fikjast Scott (author)Lorddrake2013-12-04

Thank you for the feedback. I thought of a split key ring or a large binder ring at first; but I did not want to trust their strength. Those rings would have eliminated the S-hooks. My second thought was to assemble a cut steel ring and then weld; but I ended up using off the shelf items so most people could make it. I have not tested this exact ring for total strength, but I always want people to use caution. I really wanted to find a steel ring with a threaded closure. I was taught when doing glue ups, you what to use just enough clamp pressure to just close up the gap. Too much pressure can press out most of the glue and create a poor joint. I also, tend to drill and use screws. Therefore, if this fixture can hold things together long enough to complete my task, I am happy. When I was a kid, my dad used me as a human clamp. This is why I like instructables.

look to climbing gear for stronger swivels and rings, and yes, I agree with you. You can squeeze out the glue and effectively make a poor joint with too much pressure.
In my experience, those spring clamps don't really apply all that much pressure as is.
Check out this article. In the video, he makes sever of the same joints with different glues and clamp pressures. Then tests their load. The joints with the least amount of pressure seem to be the strongest.

Wow - thank you for taking the time and providing this information.

Great suggestion, I will add some to my clamping system. Thank you
This is why I like Instructables.

bricobart (author)2013-12-03

You just made my day!!!

Fikjast Scott (author)bricobart2013-12-04

Thank you for the nice comment.

chuckyd (author)2013-12-03

Great idea, and you could always add more clamps for more sides.

bricabracwizard (author)2013-12-02

What a great idea! Now where did I put those broken clamps........

criggie (author)bricabracwizard2013-12-03

Bother - I fixed a broken clamp last week. It happened to be the other side which was broken though.

...wait a minute.... you don't have to have broken clamps... most of those F clamps support removable ends, so just take the end off and use them.

Fikjast Scott (author)criggie2013-12-03

Some have pressed pins, which are not a big deal to remove. I am going to find more clamps with the large rubber caps that reach down to the bar. Thanks

Thank you for your comments and viewing my instructables. it takes me longer to find things, then it does to make something. I just cleared out my barn of 5 truckloads of steel and 15 yard dumpster of other stuff. it is still full of Opportunities.

1inspirit (author)2013-12-03


Fikjast Scott (author)1inspirit2013-12-03

Thank you for your comments and viewing my instructables.

BleuParrot (author)2013-12-03

This is a fantastic idea. If it were me I would see if there is a patent for one like it. IF NOT GET ONE QUICK. This is one of those ideas like the "Post-it" note. Everyone right now is saying, as I am, "Now why didn't I think of that". You may have the next great "As seen on TV" product. Good luck. Don't let this one get away.

Fikjast Scott (author)BleuParrot2013-12-03

Thank you for your comments, not really sure where to go from here. I do hope this will help people.

Crazysaint222 (author)2013-12-03

Super simple, but very effective. Pure genius. Could easily be "beefed up" for G-cramps too, but would require removing the non-threaded arm of the clamp, and drilling a hole through the remaining portion.

Not sure what a g-cramps are, but thank you for the information

klarck (author)2013-12-03

Simple, elegant. There may be some interesting, non-coplanar applications also.

Fikjast Scott (author)klarck2013-12-03

wow, thank you for your feedback.

Bettybstt (author)2013-12-03

Very nice idea - now all I have to do is break some clamps! I, too, work alone in my shop and ideas like this are really helpful. Thanks.

Fikjast Scott (author)Bettybstt2013-12-03

Thank you for your nice comments

Ericc815 (author)2013-12-03

This is a wonderful 'ible which stirs the imagination for many problem solving clamping configurations using the scrap clamps - heavy tie down rubber w/hooks - and expands the range of use.
Thanks for the wake up call...

Fikjast Scott (author)Ericc8152013-12-03

Thank you for your comments, and viewing

Lorddrake (author)2013-12-03

Fikjast E. Coyote .. suuuuuper genius .. lol .. love it. I have those same bar clamps (gotta love those harbor freight sales)

Fikjast Scott (author)Lorddrake2013-12-03

Thank you for your comments

buskrat (author)2013-12-02

Question step 4 object being clamped is it a Chinese marble game? If so instructable on how to lay out the holes for the marbles please

Fikjast Scott (author)buskrat2013-12-03

The object is a holding fixture. I do like Chinese marble games, I have several. There is an instructables already done and it has a nice layout pattern included.

Thanks for looking and the question

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