DIY Right angle helper tool
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Roatan island
    Posts
    137

    DIY Right angle helper tool

    I needed something to pull or push a piece of steel relative to another piece of steel to form a 90 degree intersection.

    I was building a 9' tall fence with 4-1/2' wide double gates and needed to get certain pieces aligned as square as possible. Clamping, checking, manually adjusting, rinse and repeat wasn't working with large heavy pieces so I stopped and build a pair of right angle helper tools out of scrap, nuts, bolts and all thread.

    One end has a home made universal joint and the other end just swings in one plane.

    Universal end:
    Name:  RightAngleHelperToolUniversalEnd.jpg
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    Single Plane end:
    Name:  RightAngleHelperToolSinglePlaneEnd.jpg
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    Tool in use while building 7' x 4' x 2' racks:
    Name:  RightAngleHelperToolInUse.jpg
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Size:  123.0 KB

    Bases are 1/4" flat stock scrap. Drilled them to accept what remained of a 3/8" bolt after I cut the head off; welded in place on the back side. The Universal end swings left & right plus up & down on 2 bolts. The Single Plane end just swings left and right on a single bolt. The Universal end has 3/8" all thread welded in place. The Single Plane end has two nuts, one to pull and one to push as the need dictates.

    I can now micro adjust one piece relative to another piece by just turning a wrench. Worked great on the fence and on 3 of these racks. Thought I'd share.
    To my knowledge, I own:
    50% of all the plasma cutters,
    33% of all the TIG welders and
    20% of all the MIG welders on the island.

    I own 1 of each.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Not there
    Posts
    2,490

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    Fireball squares and an aszload of clamps. You're working too hard for such a straight forward build. Tack more. Weld slower and move around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    309

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    While I second the motion and recommend some Fireball squares, you did a great job of improvising on the job. I can see me making a similar contraption for those rare cases where I need to support something like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    62

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    I agree with the previous comments for heavier work, but for large lite work such as your project, thats an excellent solution for accurate work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Roatan island
    Posts
    137

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    I liked the idea of the Fireball squares but balked at the price and the 3 weeks it would take to get them to me by ship. So, I built my own "CheapBall" squares out of scrap cold rolled 3" x 1/8" plate.Name:  CheapBallSquares.jpg
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    Name:  CheapBallBuild.jpg
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Size:  226.4 KB
    I used 2 StrongHand 2 axis vice fixture to square up the critical end and then used simple trigonometry to get the length of the hypotenuse and tig welded them up in no time. However, I hardly ever use them for the same reason I would hardly ever use the Fireball squares. It's the metal I have access to - it's usually bent. I also own the StrongHand 3 axis vice fixture and rarely use it. I do use the four 2 axis fixtures often to build frames and use a pipe clamp to squeeze the assembly on the appropriate diagonal if diagonal measurements show it needs a bit of tweaking before welding. If the metal were straight, I wouldn't have to take these additional steps.

    If I take two 20' pieces of 1" square tubing, for example, and clamp them together at one end, the other ends may be 6 to 8 inches apart. Many times the tubing also has a corkscrew twist in it that becomes obvious when one end is tacked in place and the other end is now skewed a few degrees. Angle iron is ALWAYS bowed into a banana shape and the webs are NEVER at 90 degrees.

    Here's why I needed the right angle helper.Name:  SquaringPostForConcrete.jpg
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Size:  182.5 KB
    Neither the Fireball or CheapBall squares would help much since one end would just have access to 2" of tubing I know isn't square. I also built a modified 3-4-5 triangle that I used as a good enough square for the job.Name:  3-4-5InUse.jpg
Views: 371
Size:  186.7 KB
    I also use it as a quick and dirty square when plasma cutting on 4x8 plate.
    To my knowledge, I own:
    50% of all the plasma cutters,
    33% of all the TIG welders and
    20% of all the MIG welders on the island.

    I own 1 of each.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    309

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    Beautiful adaptation to you're environment. I have a friend here that's from Roatan Island and has a bunch of family still there. She's good people.

    There are plenty of times I wish I could have something like you created, big enough to support the lengths I'm dealing with. I made a 90º much like yours when I had to do up the frames on some doors. While the doors weren't large, it was nice to have a structure that reached out far and allowed plenty of clamping space. I keep saying I'll make a slightly smaller 90º for those projects that are in between the big and small.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Roatan island
    Posts
    137

    Re: DIY Right angle helper tool

    VaughnT: The lack of available materials, the length of shipping times and the import costs (add 50%) cause me to do things I wouldn't have dreamed of back in Texas. Around here, if you don't adapt and improvise, you don't get much accomplished.

    Even though professionally I'm a Software Developer / Electrical Engineer, I'm forever grateful to my father for teaching me how to use tools and to be as self reliant as possible. There's almost no job I can't handle around a house or business. I can honestly say that my self taught welding has been instrumental in our ability to do business on the island.
    To my knowledge, I own:
    50% of all the plasma cutters,
    33% of all the TIG welders and
    20% of all the MIG welders on the island.

    I own 1 of each.

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