Introduction: 60-Second Soft Jaws for Clamping Pipe
I recently found myself needing to file a slot in a copper pipe for a sonic screwdriver (that'll be another Instructable). If you ever have to hold copper, aluminum, or other soft pipe as you work with it, you need to be careful not to squish it. These take only a minute to make, plus overnight for Sugru drying time, so you might want to make a range of sizes so they're ready to go when needed.
I did this as part of the Halifax Makerspace's Sugru build night.
Step 1: Forming the Sugru
- Sugru , a putty-like product that dries to a rubber latex (1-2 packages, depending on the size of pipe and clamp you're working with)
- 2 pieces of scrap wood with at least one flat side and one 90 degree edge
- A flat, slippery work surface
- A utility knife or razor blade
Take two balls of sugru and shape each into a thick rectangle using the flat side of your scrap wood. Estimate the size of the rectangles based on the size of your clamp's surfaces. Use the 90 degree edge on your scrap wood to make a "V" along the length of the Sugru. Keep the point of the "V" at least 1/4 of an inch from the bottom of the rectangle (or more, if you anticipate clamping with a lot of force). Use the utility knife to carefully free the Sugru from the work surface. This is easier to do before it cures. Set it aside to cure overnight.
Step 2: Step 2: Using Your Soft Jaws
To use your soft jaws, simply put one on either side of a pipe you want to clamp (using many different kinds of clamps or vises). The "V" shape will keep the pipe from sliding, and the rubbery Sugru will not mar your pipe. When tightening, keep in mind the thickness of your jaws at the point of the "V". Thicker jaws will withstand firmer clamping.
Make a range of sizes so they'll be good to go when needed, and store them with your clamps.