Helping Hands- Life Sized!

About: I teach Blender 3d and Woodshop Safety at the local Makerspace and run the BIG3 Facebook group and BIG3 YouTube channel (the one that talks about Blender, Inkscape, and Gimp not the one that talks about bask...

Sometimes two hands are just not enough. In electronics, we have helping hands to hold the circuit board we are soldering or whatever needs holding. It stands to reason a larger version might come in.. er handy!

I designed mine to mount onto a tripod because if you're like me and everyone is, then you have several tripods lying around- because you think they are neato. It should also be said that a tripod automatically adds 2 to 6 feet of height for my would-be life-sized helper.

See how he is wearing my favorite shirt and enthusiastically getting ready to measure something!

Step 1: Decide to Make It and Gather the Elements

Materials used:

1 inch plywood Strip about 2 inches wide(a 2x3 will work too. It just needs to be thick enough to accommodate a 5/8 inch hole)

a length of 1/2 inch copper pipe (mine I found out in the garage was about 52 inches long)

2 3/8 inch bolts about 3 or 4 inches long with nuts and washers

1 1/4 inch bolt and nut set about 2 to 3 inches

2 small bar clamps

Camera tripod

Some 1/4 inch MDF scrap

Some 1/8 inch MDF scrap

Tools used:

Drill press

Chop saw

Table saw

5/8 inch paddle pit

1/8 inch drill bit

pipe cutter

Step 2: Drill, Cut, Drill Again

Essentially you are going to make the green thing in the picture 5 times and the pink thing 2 times. The big holes are the hardest part of this project and it helps to have a drill press. I took a long strip of wood about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick and drilled the big holes and then cut off the piece at about 2 inches. When all of those were done, I went back and drilled 3/8 inch holes on 4 of them and 1/8 inch holes on 2 of them.

*In hindsight, I think it would have been better to drill all the holes first before cutting the pieces off of the strip of wood.

This project could be done several different ways and other than the 5/8 inch hole precision is not all that necessary. This isn't rocket surgery.

Step 3: Slice Down the Middle

That center cut allows the bolt to squeeze the wood to tighten the kung-fu grip on the pipe thereby locking it in place until the end of time- or until you loosen it.

I foolishly cut the groove with my fingers dangerously close to the blade because I'm indestructible but for this Instructable, I have devised a safer method.

Screw the piece to a stick to hold it against the rip fence and you will come away with 100% of the fingers you started with. Aren't I clever.

Step 4: Put the Elbow Together

Just make two of the blocks and on bolt set look like the picture!

Step 5: Prep the Tripod

My tripod has a removable head that makes mounting and unmounting cameras quicker and easier.

The screw that comes with a tripod is too short to go through my wood block so I took that screw out and replaced it with a longer one of the same thread type so I didn't feel like I betrayed the tripod. The thread type on that tripod was and still is 1/4 inch by 20 threads per inch. The bolt I used is about 1 1/2 inches long. The old screw, I threw over the fence into the neighbor's yard.

You will ignore the fact that the image depicts a metric bolt set. I dunno what came over me.

Step 6: Cut the Pipe

With some experimental math, I cut my 52-inch piece of pipe into two arms of equal length with a bit left over for "shoulders."

In my case, the arms were each 21 inches and the leftover piece was 10 inches. I then sanded the cuts to remove burs and sharp edges but I'm not going to tell anyone that.

Step 7: Assemble the Shoulders and Mount to the Tripod

Once again, merely make your thingy look somewhat like the pictures. In step 4, I called those things elbows and now I'm calling them shoulders. I hope no one noticed.

Step 8: Make the Wrist Pieces and Assemble

Really, you could forgo the wood piece if you so desire but I included it so as to increase the friction on the pivot point. It's just a scrap square of 1/4 inch MDF with two strips of 1/8 inch MDF glued to make a channel for the bar clamp to live

Put them together with a drywall screw. Use a screwdriver to drive said screw.

Step 9: Put the Pipes in the Wrists and Shoulders and Tighten

It should look like this.. ish. Here you can see it helping me to change a light bulb. How many helping hands does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Step 10: Use It to Hold Instructions and a Flashlight

Step 11: Use It to Hold Things at Arbitrary Angles for Welding

Step 12: Use It to Hang Christmas Lights

Step 13: Use It to Help You Change a Light Switch in the Dark

It's holding the new switch and the flashlight and for that, it will receive a cookie.. which I will eat.

Step 14: Use It to Hold Your Lunch and a Calculator

Step 15: Use It to Decide If That Picture Looks Good There

To the left a little!

Step 16: Your Homework

Design a head for it that is a flashlight..

I would do it myself but I gotta move on to the next project!

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