Here's my version of a Wire Clamp Maker. This tool is used to form a wire clamp by simply using a piece of wire. Such a tool is great for securing rubber hoses, bundling objects, emergency repairs, etc. I looked at the commercially available options, and they are certainly nice, but the price tag to buy one was a real turn off. $25-40 dollars for a few chunks of steel? No thanks. I knew I could come up with something simple that would work just as well. So of course I came to the Instructables website to see if other makers had tackled building one. I found a few examples, some of them quite awesome, but the one thing I didn't like was the fact that most all of them required drilling into round stock. I've done that before, it's no fun without a jig and usually ends up in broken or bent drill bits. Since I don't have a jig to drill into round stock I wanted to avoid this step. I also didn't want to spend a lot of time making a slot. I did like the turnbuckle style clamp tool, but I wanted the tip to be narrower to reach into those tight areas. Okay, enough design talk for now... let's get to work!
Step 1: Gather the Materials and Start Cutting
Here I've gathered the materials used to build the Wire Clamp Maker. As you can see, it's very basic in construction.
- Scrap 1" wide 1/8" flat stock steel (approximately 16" total length)
- One 7/16 Universal (aka- adjustable) clevis pin, 2" long
- One 14mm nut
- Angle grinder with cut-off wheel (or hack saw)
- Drill and drill bits
The key to making this Instructable simple is the universal clevis pin. This is a hardened steel pin that already has holes drilled in it! Wow, super easy! They can be found at any hardware store or ordered online. Do shop around, some places want to charge $7-10 for a single clevis pin. They can be had for far less. I wouldn't pay more than $2-3 dollars for one at the most.
In the second picture you can see my layout for the tip. I marked the 1" steel in the middle and then marked 1/8" on either side of that. Then I measured 1-1/4" down the length and made a line from that point to the point that sits 3/8" and 5/8" respectively. This makes a blunt triangle. The mark at 1/2" of course is where a groove is cut that holds the wire. If this doesn't make sense, it will when you see the cuts in the third picture.
In the third picture I have two marks, one slightly behind the front triangle piece and one towards the rear of the handle. These mark the holes that will be drilled for the clevis pin. I did this in case I'm working on something where space was limited and the forward clevis pin position could not be used.
Step 2: Here Are the Cut and Drilled Pieces
Here you can see I've finished the cuts. Also this is the basic orientation for how the lamination will come together. Why did I use multiple pieces of steel and not just one flat bar with a hole drilled in it? Well, with only one bar the pin would have the tendency to wobble more. Spreading the load across a greater width and having two points of contact makes the pin extremely stable while adding tension to the wire.
This laminated version could also be made by drilling extra holes and bolting or riveting the plates together. The clevis pin could be ground down square on one end to provide a drive for an adjustable wrench. But since I have a welder at my disposal it was simply easier for me to weld the assembly together.
Step 3: Cleaned Up and Ready for Welding
Here I have the steel all cleaned up and ready for welding. Notice the slightly dog-eared corners on the small pieces. This is so I can weld into the piece (between the layers) vs just welding on top of the pieces.
Step 4: Weld It Up
Here you can see the welds are complete. I used the pin to align one hole and used a bolt in the other hole, then clamped and welded it up. On the end of the clevis pin I've welded the 14mm nut on top, using two tacks on the side and then plug welding through the hole of the nut onto the clevis pin.
Step 5: Overhead View
Here's the overhead view of the completed tool. Note the two welds on top where the dog eared corners of the smaller piece lay slightly below the surface of the other two pieces. This creates a very strong weld and clean exterior which is flush with the outer pieces of the lamination. On the butt end of the tool I also inset this piece before welding across the end. Same idea as the dog eared corners, creating a nice strong weld and flush finished surface.
Step 6: Let's Give It a Shot
Here I've gathered a test piece to try out the new tool. This is a 5/8" heater fitting and a chunk of rubber hose.
Step 7: Set Up the Tool and Wire
Here you can see the tool set up and ready to use. The wire gets formed into a simple loop. The loop end gets caught in the groove on the front of the triangular piece on the front of the Wire Clamp Maker. The loose ends of the wire get run through the holes of the clevis pin and wrapped around. To tighten, simply take a 14mm wrench or socket/ratchet and turn the clevis pin. The loose ends tighten around the pin and the wire will become snug on the hose. After you've got the wire nice and snug, simply flip the handle of the tool over to lock the wire in place. Cut the wire ends and flatten flush.
Step 8: Success!
Here's one last shot of the Wire Clamp Maker and the finished product. I'm happy to say the tool works beautifully and creates nice strong wire clamps. Thanks for viewing this Instructable!