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I just got some cheap lipos off of ebay. It might be less expensive to get four 11.1V batteries, this application isn't super intense so you won't need the best LiPos for this.
Nice build, it looks great! The surface your hammer sits on is super important, if there's any rust or dirt it really affects performance, and the metal has to be pretty thick. My hammer's probably about as strong as yours on certain manhole covers. The best shots you see in the original video are when the hammer was sitting on a giant smooth steel sheet in the road, and it gripped with at least a couple hundred lbs. I've since upgraded to LiPo batteries and it makes a ton of difference! Those poor lead acid batteries really weren't meant for this kind of power output, and the LiPos perform much better and are lighter :)
I tried off the shelf door locks first, but they don't fit in the hammer as nicely and only get their rated "grip" on the metal bars they come with. They're really low powered otherwise and won't hold onto manhole covers very well at all. It could work if you designed a stand for the hammer for demonstration purposes.
Thanks for the tip, wish I had thought of that sooner :)
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