Introduction: DIY/Homemade Slip Clutch Chuck for Fishing Rod Building

About: I enjoy fishing, kayaking, woodworking and making a wide variety of things.

This is my test version for making a slip clutch chuck used for building fishing rods. I already have thought of improvements, but this one actually works quite well so it may be a while before I get around to trying something different. I do realize that there is a manufacturer who makes similar chucks for about $60 and I am sure they are fantastic. I was able to make mine for about $4 (the only items I had to buy were the PVC pipe cap, nylon washers and the bolt and lock nut). It probably isn't as nice but it is very functional.

If you like this project, please take a look at My YouTube Channel or Subscribe To My YouTube Channel for other similar content.

I would also like to encourage you to comment if you have any thoughts about improvements to the design. I would love to hear ideas from others!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

To build this chuck I used the following tools:

Metalworking Lathe

Drill Bits

X-Acto Knife


Here are the materials I used:

Wine Bottle Cork

2" PVC Pipe Cap

1/2" Bolt

1/2" Nylon Locking Nut

1/2" Nylon Washers

Tie Wraps

Foam Packing Material

Step 2: Making the Chuck Body

I didn't take pictures of the process for making the chuck body but there is some video of it in my YouTube video that I embedded in this Instructable.

I made the chuck using a 2" diameter PVC pipe cap fitting. I did not use any measurements for the shape of it, I just eyeballed it. All of the shaping was done on a metalworking lathe. To start out, I faced off the end of the cap to remove the raised text so that the end would be smooth. Next, I turned the octagonal shape on the end of the cap off and then removed some material from the pipe cap to create a raised end on the open end. The raised end is about 1/16" higher than the rest of the chuck body. This gives you a lip to help secure the foam to the end of chuck later on in the project. Next, I center drilled the pipe cap and then I drilled it out to 1/2".

That completes the chuck body, now on to the slip clutch!

Step 3: Making the Slip Clutch

To make the slip clutch, I started by facing off the end of the bolt to remove the raised test. Next, I center drilled the threaded end and then used a live center in the lathe tailstock and turned down the threads that I didn't want to keep on the end of the bolt. This is where the clutch will eventually slide onto the motor shaft. After turning the bolt down, I then drilled the end of the bolt to the size I needed to fit the shaft of my motor. I bored and cut some friction disks out of wine bottle cork using techniques similar to the ones used in my Instructable for building wine cork fishing rod grips which can be seen here.

To assemble the slip clutch to the chuck body, I put a nylon washer on the bolt first followed by a cork friction disk. I then inserted the bolt into the chuck body and installed a cork disk and nylon washer followed by a lock nut on the back side of the chuck body. The amount of friction you have to overcome to turn the chuck body on the clutch can be increased or decreased by tightening or loosening the lock nut.

That completes the slip clutch part of the project.

Step 4: Making the Rod Holder for the Chuck

I tried a few different materials I had on hand to make the rod holder but what worked the best out of what I tried was some foam packing material. It actually works pretty well. It can stretch a little, cuts easily and has a little bit of tackiness/grip to it that holds well on a cork grip. To install the foam packing material on the chuck, I used scissors to cut out a disk about 2' larger in diameter than the opening of the chuck. I pulled it down tightly over the end of the raised lip of the chuck and attached it using tie wraps pulled down tightly and trimmed off. A better method for attaching would be a hose clamp because it would be easily reusable when you want to change out the foam.

All that is left to do is install the clutch on your motor. Mine is just a friction fit. I had originally intended to add a set screw on the slip clutch, but I just don't need it.

Step 5: Final Thoughts...

This slip clutch rod chuck project was intended to just be an experiment before making a final version, but it works so well I am not in a hurry to build it differently. I would love to hear from anyone else who may have some different ideas about materials that could be used or how it could be done differently.

I hope you found this interesting and thanks for checking out my Instructable!

Build a Tool Contest 2017

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017