Intro: PVC "Mouse Ear" Tool Clips
Organize your garage or closet with these cheap and easy custom clips. The "mouse-ear" design is adjustable and can hold multiple tools at the same time. Stagger the clips to maximize your storage potential.
Step 1: Materials and Tools Aka "What You Need"
- 3" schedule 40 PVC pipe
- wood screws
- Heat G un
- Drill Bit
- Counter Sink
Step 2: Cut 3" PVC Into 5/8" Slices
A compound miter saw is really good for cutting consistent rings. Other saws including hand saws could also be used.
Approximate Dimensions for a NOMINAL 3" PVC pipe:
- outside diameter of 3.50 inches
- internal diameter of 3.25 inches
- thickness of 1/4"
Step 3: Heat Cut and Shape the PVC Rings
WORK WITH GOOD VENTILATION - fumes can be toxic!
WEAR GLOVES! It can be done, but I do not recommend going sans-gloves.
Work with one ring at a time. Heat up the ring with a heat gun until ring is easily bendable - almost limp. But be careful not to burn the plastic. Also avoid "toasting" the plastic. Once warmed up, use scissors to snip open the ring.
Periodically re-warm as working if needed. Platic will cool and harden fairly quickly More like seconds vs minutes.
While the ring is warm, lay on flat surface and re-shape the plastic into a "C" with curls on each end. See photos and illustrations. You can hold a bend it will stiffen as it cools. If the shape is not quite right, re-warm and bend again.
See video in next step for sample footage of "working" the PVC.
Step 4: Pictures of "Working" the PVC
Here are pictures and a video of "working" the PVC rings into the desired "mouse ear" shape. Video in next step is really helpful in giving a feel for the process. This is the first video I have included in an Instructable. Unfortunately, our spokesmodel was unavailable at shooting time - so you are stuck with me... :)
Step 5: Video - "Working" the PVC Into Shape
Step 6: Drill Mounting Holes and Attach With Screws
I did not take pictures or video of the drilling and mounting - but this illustration should be clear enough... Note the drawing shows the PVC thinner than it really is. Usually I would do a hand sketch - but I've been wanting to try out Sketchup.
Step 7: VIdeo - Finished PVC Clips in Action
Step 8: NOTES
fdfdfdsTTThe thicknes and width of the ring slices directly affect the amount of "spring" in the final clip. The 3" pipe seems to be a very good selection for making the clips. It is approximately 1/4" thick. The strips were 5/8" wide. Using strips wider than 5/8" became quickly too stiff for optimal function.
If wanting to use wider strips, consider cutting some partial "Vents" in the rings. This could weaken the spring enough to still be functional. This might even be a useful design as a larger width could add stability to the hanging tool. For example, less sway. Although I don't see sway as any issue with the current 5/8" width.
Brittleness is something I have been watching. I have used the clips through one winter season and experienced no problems so far. However, our winter is fairly mild as average lows are in the mid 20s. I did proactively test the clips ability to load/unload handles during colder periods (not just monitoring their ability to passively hold alone). Small sampling of active cold tests we good. Extreme cold and UV exposure may cause deterioration. If some clips crack, they are cheap (and easy) enough to just replace when needed.