Super Strong Bar Clamp

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About: Hi, I am crazy about creating things with my crazy mind. I love making unique things that can entertain, inspire and educate you .checkout my youtube channel for more awesome builds & be sure to subscribe.

So in this instructable, I am going to show you how I made these super strong bar clamp. I think for everyone who does woodworking and metalworking uses clamps a lot but they are quite costly to purchase. Same thing happened to me as well that's why instead of buying some clamp I decided to build my own. These are completely made out of scratch material and if you are new to welding then I think this might be a good project for you because the material thickness is more enough which can bear rough welding work as well and you have no need to worry about that because you can grind it to make it looked clean. Although I highly recommend to go with cold rolled Steel bars because they are dead straight and you have no need to worry about any wiggling in your material. Unfortunately, I didn't get that material that's why I go with the hot rolled steel flat bars.

So if you like this instructable then make sure to vote and if you have any suggestion then make sure to leave it in the comment section down below.

Step 1: Material and Tools Used

Tools Used:-

So for this build, you don't need to have a bunch of tools in your shop, the whole build is possible to make with just an angle grinder and Welding set. For this project, I use the chop saw as well. Since I have that so I think its good to get an advantage. Although an angle grinder have the capability to do this job entirely. But make sure to follow the safety rules before doing these work. Following are the list of tools and their attachments I used for this build.

  1. Welding Set
  2. Welding Electrode
  3. Chop saw
  4. Angle Grinder
  5. Cut-off wheel
  6. Flap disk
  7. Paint Brush
  8. C Clamp

Material Used:-

As the law of choice also applies to material as well. For this build, I go with Mild steel flat bar. Although I wanted to go with cold rolled steel but I didn't get that at my local metal supply dealer, so that's why I go with hot-rolled steel and you can see in my builds too. The material has a slight deformation in it. Since I have enough material I can avoid that. Following is the list of material I used for this build.

  1. 6 X 30 mm Mild steel Bars
  2. M12 Thread road
  3. 25mm round pipe
  4. M12 Coupling Nut
  5. 4 mm thick round coin
  6. File handles
  7. Paint
  8. Two part Epoxy

Step 2: Material Cutting

So starting of this build by cutting down this long bars into more manageable size. Since I have an advantage of the chop saw that's why I go with it but you can do it entirely with the angle grinder as well. For my own use, I decided to make 18 bar clamps and each of them has a different length. For the length, I choose 3 dimensions 14 inches 26 inches and 38 inches. Once the main bar has been cut down I cut down the top portion off the jaws. Here one thing is to be no down that you don't have to cut both the top and bottom jaws of the same length because in the bottom jaw, you have to weld the coupling nut and you need to calculate this length. In my build, I made this mistake. Once the bigger pieces of top and bottom jaw has been cut down I cut some small pieces from the same material which are going to be welded in those jaws. Although it is not necessary to cut it down in smaller size but if you want to decrease the weight of your clamps then I think going for smaller pieces is a smart move. You can cut down both the smaller section of same dimensions as well it is not necessary to make one slightly bigger than the other.

Cutting of clamping Pieces

For the clamping action, I used the piece of thread rod. The part which is acting pressure on to the job is made out of one-inch diameter pipe having round coin welded at its one end and onto the another and a washer is being welded. The pipe has been cut down to the length of 3⁄4”. The inside diameter of the pipe is around 7⁄8” of an inch. The length of the threaded rod is around 7 inches which I also cut on to the chop saw.

Step 3: Deburring

Since I am using the chop saw that's why during the cutting there are burrs created at the end of each piece that's why I have to deburr everything. For that, I used my angle grinder and a grinding disc. The grinding disc is quite aggressive so it will remove the burrs quite faster rate and some time a lot more than required. I think 60 grit flap disk works well in this step. For the grinding disc I am using this special soft grinding disc and I found that this is very effective onto the mild steel. I also deburr the edge of thread rod as well.

Step 4: Chamfering and Tapering

To get the better welding joints I decided to chamfer the edges before welding so that it creates a good joint because, in the end, it has to bear all the clamping force when the clamp is in action. I also chamfer the main bar at its one end as well so that the smaller pieces make a better joint with the main bar.

To make the lower jaw movable and lockable I grind one side of both the pieces which are going to face the main bar at the slight taper, I think angle around 4 to 5 degree is sufficient for the clamping action. The main thing to note down is that do not taper the species to a too much angle as it makes your Jaw more wobbly. Although that works as well but didn't look that well.

Step 5: Welding of All Components

So after cutting all the parts we actually create some components which are ready to group up into one body. For that, I first welded the small pieces which are not tapered one welded to the main bar where I made the chamfer. I place it on a flat metal plate so that during the welding it will not warp. One thing has to be noticed that do not make a continuous weld in the first step. I first tack weld from the ends and then flip the piece and start the welding onto the back side. So those tack welds prevent the movement of Pieces during the continuous weld. I do this to create the fix Jaw of my clamp. Then I welded the longer pieces for the fixed jaw. So after doing that we completed 40% of our work. Movable jaw. Welding the movable jaw is quite tricky and you have to make sure that the position of the tapered pieces align to the correct direction so that the job will freely move to one side but locked in another side. I place a Scrap piece of the bar whose dimensions are exactly same as the main bar I am using for my clamps placed in between those tapered species and then tack weld onto the bigger piece of bottom jaw. Then I test the movement and it worked quite well. Before welding the second bigger plate of the movable jaw I place. 8 mm thick piece of metal shim on to those tapered pieces and then welded permanently. If you don't place those shim the jaw will move quite tightly onto that bar and creates trouble. After that, I insert the movable jaw into that bar and tested which is working very well but there I noticed one major flaw of my design and that is I made both top and bottom jaw of the same length. Since I am going to weld coupling nut to the bottom movable jaw and if I weld that the clamping action slightly shifts away from its centre line. But then I cut that access portion by calculating the exact length of my bottom jaw so that they lie in the same line during the clamping action. Once I get the required length of the bottom jaw welded the coupling nut and complete the bottom jaw assembly. To provide a bearing surface to the fixed jaw I welded 4mm thick 40 mm diameter coin so that it provides a good holding pressure onto the job.

Step 6: Pressure Assembly

To exert pressure on to the workpiece I need something which can hold the workpiece between those jaws. For that first of all, I welded M12 not onto the threaded rod and weld it. Then I hold the rod into the drill machine and hold the grinder facing upward into the vice. Then I start grinding the nut into slightly spherical shape so that it will swivel inside that cylindrical pieces. For the cylindrical piece, I welded the same coin at the cylinder edge. Then I inserted that rod into that cylinder with some grease and cover it up with the help of washer and just tack weld at some places. Now the pressure assembly is completed.

Step 7: Slight Improvement in Look and Feel

For the aesthetic purpose, I cut down top jaw slightly tapered angle so that it would look like a factory product. I think it definitely increases the beauty of the clamp and also reduces the weight to some extent without harming the strength of the jaw too much.

Step 8: Painting

Now, most of the work has been finished for the clamps and they are ready for the paint job. I choose orange and black theme for the clamps. To paint the fixed jaw I decided to dip the whole portion into the paint can so that it will be painted as fast as possible. By doing this paint layer has been everywhere onto the job and this layer is quite thick as well than the normal way when we apply with the paint brush. Onto the bar, only one coat of paint is done because jaw has to move back a forth so eventually after some usage it's going to be scraped off. But I think in one coat the paint covers the bars completely and there is no room left for the rust to enter into the metal bar. I think those shim also helps here to prevent the paint surface from scraping off.

Step 9: Final Assembly

For final assembly, I entered the lower jaw into the bar but here one thing has to be noticed that the lower jaw move up and down by tilting it slightly upward direction so that whenever clamps are in action the downward pressure force locked it into place because of that tapered sections in the lower jaw. Once I get the right orientation I screwed that pressure assembly to it because if you do it wrong its very time consuming to correct this. For the handle of the clamps to bring them into action I used files to handle. These are quite cheap around 15₹ and made out of polyethene. They have a slight disadvantage and that is the slippery surface but it didn't bother anymore unless you have oily hands. I drilled 12 mm holes for the thread road into those handles and then fix it to its place with the help of two-part epoxy. It stands to its position very nicely but I think if it slips I am definitely going to insert pin so that the handle will not slip during tightening.

Step 10: Finally

Now the clamps are ready to use. Currently, I don't have anything to show how much force they generate because I don't have that thing. Even a place where I can clamp it and then hang onto it. But as the quality, they have they are working very well. I used them in my workshop cabinet build video you can check them on my youtube channel. So if you like this make sure to subscribe like and comment down below. I am extremely happy to read your comments.

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    22 Discussions

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    Ag800Hans

    2 months ago

    First off, thank you for sharing your knowledge & experiences w/making these clamps, and documenting it in videos - they are very inspiring, which i believe is a HUGE aspect of this site altogether. I'm going to make a suggestion about the videos. The volume of the music is about the same as your voice, & seemingly louder at other moments, loud enough to drown out what you were "INSTRUCTabling" for us to do. So IF you plan on adding music in the future, PLEASE turn the volume down so it becomes BACKGROUND sound, as opposed to upfront sound. It can be distracting at the least, if not inhibiting your own self-made opportunities to teach and instruct. Otherwise, I enjoyed this instructable very much. & yes - "A woodworker can never have 'too many clamps' ", & apparantly, the same often goes for metalworkers too! Aloha...

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    AMbros CustomAg800Hans

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thankyou brother I really appreciate your words. And yeah there is a problem in this video with voice over and the credit goes to my headphones. During final editting I uses my headphones and at that time I didn't get any problem in that but after upload to the channel and watch it next day I listen to the audio and its definitely a nightmare. This is second time happened to me, first one with the mosaic pins. Thanks again for your feedback.

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    Cyborg Eagles

    2 months ago

    In the store bought clamps the bar has serrations on the edge to keep the adjustable head from slipping when you put a load on it. I don't see how yours stay in place. Is it just the pressure cocking the head out of square?

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    AMbros CustomCyborg Eagles

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yes dear it pressure locking. You may noticed that in the lower jaw I tapered the inner pieces slightly, when pressure applied due to that tapering pieces it lock down to its place. Just like the principal of clutches used in bar clamps. The only difference is remain hidden in the lower jaw.

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    PieterZwarts

    2 months ago on Step 10

    This is a grand way of whiling away a few hours. But hey, SAFETY is certainly not your strong point. Rubber shoes? Why no safety shoes - what about an apron to protect your best friend?

    Debur on the side of an angel cut off disk - no sir these videos will not be passed on

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    AMbros CustomPieterZwarts

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yeah dear safety is not my strong point and this is due to the weather conditions around my area. I think working in 45 °c temp makes these conditions more worst but as far as safety is concerned I follow them to some extent, leather apron is used, thick leather hand gloves used during this build, and welding helmet as well. As far as rubber shoes, they are plenty enough to prevent any misshapening to the toe. The leather gloves are 3 mm thick with 1 mm of inner liner in that. I think that is plenty enough to tell me before any cut happen to the fingers. Thanks for being here:)

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    Yonatan24

    2 months ago

    $45 For 18 clamps, wow! I spent $25 on 3 of my store bought ones, and these are probably better.

    I think I can make these without a welder or at least something similar!

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    AMbros CustomYonatan24

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yup buddy but I think workmanship also need to be included in this. It would be great if you made them without welding. Then I think fastener play important role in that build. But at that time I also think that if time is compared then there is not that much difference between them. Thanks for the kind words......:)

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    Matthew283

    2 months ago

    You can never have enough clamps, great idea to practice metal working. Someday product from China will be too expensive to purchase.

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    AMbros CustomMatthew283

    Reply 2 months ago

    Hahahaha......I agree with your thoughts dear clamps never be enough even by making 18 clamps sometimes I need my old c clamps as well. Thanks:)

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    SevaV

    2 months ago

    Great job friend, but to the next proyect use protection and tool correct. I see you have too hours the work and that is perfect but an accident may happen in any moment.

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    AMbros CustomSevaV

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks and mate and yeah definitely take care of that.

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    yrralguthrie

    2 months ago

    When I see builds like these I wonder how things get priced in various parts of the world. This type of clamps is quite cheap in the US. Bought from Harbor Freight they are $2 to $5 each, which is less than what it would cost for the metal and welding supplies in the US. Then I think, wait, they are made in China! Why do they cost less here than in other countries in that same part of the world! Or do the metal and welding supplies cost much less in other countries.

    Never the less a good instructable.

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    AMbros Customyrralguthrie

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yeah dear agree with your statement, if I go and find for the bar clamp I get an answer that is no, some companies who build these clamps sold at very high price and material cost me quite less than purchasing bar clamp, so I go with making them by my own. But now I am confused that if price of raw material is less than why those companies around me charges more than it needs to be. Btw I spent around 45$ onto them plus some hardwork and built 18 clamps. I think it's definitely worth it. Thanks

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    AndrewA167AMbros Custom

    Reply 2 months ago

    This is a nice instructable showing how to make these, and it seems like you got your total costs down to something comparable to what we pay here in the USA at places like Harbor Freight (they are a low-cost tool importer, mainly from China).

    I think in part it has to do with "supply and demand" - here in the US we have a ton of people doing DIY and commercial stuff (particularly wood - but metal fabrication has a lot of people in it too), that importers and suppliers can sell these tools constantly. Due to heavy and constant use, they always need replacing, too. So the demand is very high, and even with all the costs associated with materials, fabrication, and shipping - the sheer number being purchased and resold still results in the tools being sold for a few US dollars each.

    Even the more expensive "name brands" we have (outside of discounters like Harbor Freight, they are usually sold at larger retailers) - such clamps aren't very expensive - maybe 2-3 times what something from Harbor Freight would cost (although you generally get something of better quality too).

    I think ultimately that has to play a part, that the demand (maybe simply due to a smaller population?) is much lower, and so the price thru quantity sold can't be lowered, even though such tools may be built "locally" to your country?

    Just a thought I guess. Your clamps you show do have a great look to them - they show good craftsmanship and care; you'd probably do well to sell them on Etsy or something as "hand-forged clamps" - though I'm not sure if shipping costs would get in the way!

    Thanks for great instructable!

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    AMbros CustomAndrewA167

    Reply 2 months ago

    Hahaha thanks for that compliment brother. I agree with you. American people do alot of diy build, I think more than any country thats why the price is quite competitive there. But I have to admit that as you express your feelings you seems to be write very effective instructables. You always described your thoughts in brief and I respect that. Again thanks I really appreciate your kind words.

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    Fan2Tech

    2 months ago

    Very impressive job ! Thank you for sharing.

    take care of yourself by protecting your arms and legs when welding !

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    AMbros CustomFan2Tech

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank-you brother.yeah I took care during welding. I kept getting messages about safety on my metal project. The temperature around my area around 42-45°celcius in day time and wearing full body cloths increases the difficulty rather then protection. The amount of sweat makes every wet that's why I don't wear safety shoes as well instead of that I wear crocs . The sweat is soo much amount that my last welding helmet gets damaged by that because sweat enters into the glass and it's stopped working but thanks for commenting brother I really appreciate your words.

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    techicreate

    2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing each step by step process through instructables.
    I shall try at my home,but unfortunately I don't have all these machineries.:-(
    So, I can't do it.:-(
    But keep sharing this type of project.:-)

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    AMbros Customtechicreate

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks brother glad you like it. Yes, definitely never stop making instructables.