Picture of homemade bessey clamp
At home during a holiday, I found myself in need of a clamp larger than what I already had. With most stores closed I decided to make my own based of the Bessey clamp design. Total cost was $0 using scraps of metal I had laying around. compared to store bought ones which easily run for $50.

Parts list:
1x nut  (mine is 2" long)
1x bolt that fits the nut
2x washers
1x 20" of 1/4" thick x 1" flat bar
1x 5" of 1/4" thick x 1.5" flat bar
1x 6" of 1/4" thick x 1.5" flat bar
1x 2" round bar

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1:

Picture of
first step is to weld the end of the 20" long 1" flat bar onto the center line of the 1.5", 5" long flat bar.
Obviously your going to want everything as close to 90 degrees and parallel as possible so everything lines up nicely when complete.

 On the end of the 1.5" bar I welded a washer for a nice clamping surface.

Step 2:

Picture of
Next is the sliding arm.
Draw a center line down the middle of the 1.5, 6" long bar and make a mark about 1/2" from the bottom and another 1/4" about that mark.
Sorry no picture of this step so i drew one :)
I used a drill slightly larger than the bolt and made a hole 1/4" from the top for the tightening bolt
I used a plasma cutter to make the slot for the long flat bar. Make the opening slightly to small to fit the flat bar and use a file to take it down by hand so the bar just fits in but also slides smoothly.
You don't want it to be tight but if its too loose then there will be too much play and it will operate sloppy.
This is the probably the most important part of the whole build, explained why on the last step

deanz2 years ago
So simple and useful, brilliant ! After watching too many "rich ?" woodworkers on youtube I begin to think I need that new fan-dangled tool, thanks for reminding me I just need to think a bit more.
eldohormone2 years ago
Super simple instructable
What kind of welder do you use to get those tight beads?
jepho (author)  eldohormone2 years ago
I used a Tig welder and a crappy 120v Flux core welder
bobelon2 years ago
Krokkenoster is wrong. The modulus of elasticity of high tensile and mild steel is the same.
danzo3212 years ago
I think you made it right but described it wrong: the steel beneath the rectangular slot is more than 1/4" as it should be, as that area is where great stress/moment occurs.
jepho (author)  danzo3212 years ago
you're right it's about 1/2"

Thank you
dj_nme2 years ago
An even easier version would use round-bar for the main shaft, that way you don't need to make a rectangular hole: just drill using the next size up from your bar (eg: 12.5mm hole for 12mm bar) and there's enough slop to move the jaw and also get the locking action.
The jaws would be better if made from heavier materials and the _threaded_ rod you've used is called "brooker rod", that's what you'd ask for at the shop.
jepho (author)  dj_nme2 years ago
if you use a round bar, the sliding jaw would be able to spin around the bar. already thought of that route :)
Also the "threaded rod" I used was just a 3" bolt
stoobers2 years ago
This is the most brilliant, simple and functional homemade clamp I've seen yet.
I tried something similar a number of years ago and the steel must be tensile steel as ordinary mild steel bends
danzo3212 years ago
I think you made it right but described it wrong: the steel beneath the rectangular slot is more than 1/4" as it should be, as that area is where great stress/moment occurs.
T_om2 years ago
The "bit of play" is what makes this type clamp work. The square hole should be fairly close to the bar size but there should indeed be some play. When pressure is applied to the clamp, the sliding bar "tilts" backward a bit, locking itself in.

That s why the sliding part has no gripper for the main bar.
carpespasm2 years ago
It looks like there's a bit of play still in the mobile side that lets it tilt off-square. If you tried clamping things too tightly this might bend the bolt. You could weld another block of steel with a hole sized for the arm and that would help reduce this off-square shape. Perhaps even just a piece of tubing with the same inner diameter as the bar stock's width would do.
srilyk2 years ago
If you've got scrap metal just hanging around, this totally awesome. Great job!
Jaycub2 years ago
Thank you for this! I need more clamps but don't want to pay $15.
james123cb2 years ago
Great project, Not too complicated , yet provides a very effective and sometimes expensive tool!
rimar20002 years ago
Good work, these clamps are very useful.