collector_vise_standSo, I’m getting ready to build up my own tool stands. I’m thinking a three or four legged thing, strong enough to hold a grinder, or a vise or a small portable band saw with fixed base. My intent is to create it engine exhaust manifold style (with an open interior), close of the feet with caps, then fill the bottom half of the stand up with playground sand, to make it more stable. I thought, hey it sure would be nice to have a handy calculator so I know how much steel to buy. So I wrote a calculator, see below. What’s cool is I can try different things. I can try different angles, I can try different number of legs. For a given inscribed circle diameter (a measure of stability) , a three legged stand takes the same amount of steel as a four legged stand. Go figure. With reasonable numbers, I am able to build a stand with a single 10 foot piece of tubing.

Here’s the stand I had designed in my head. It’s this stand that convinced me to re-write the Tube Notcher program and add a “Collector” tab to the mix. Click here for the Tube Notcher Paper Template Generator software.

Bill of Materials (BOM) for Tubing Collector Style Work Stand Notes:

  • Each leg has a centerline to centerline measurement, in addition to a Bill of Material rough cut length. Note: centerline dimension is pretty important.
  • HINT, HINT: If it were me, I’d make the leg centerline to centerline measurement a nice round number (without fraction), much easier to measure later. How do you do that? Make slight adjustments to either the bottom leg angle or with the Inscribed Circle Diameter.
  • You can see that a BOM leg length is longer than the centerline length. The BOM length includes safety factors for angled cuts and other factors.
  • The upright common tube is calculated centerline intersection to centerline intersection.
  • Total BOM tubing length includes appropriate extra material safety factors.
  • Again, BOM calculations assume each piece is rough cut to length before pattern layout.
  • If you do rough pattern layout before cutting out the legs, you can easily save some tubing length.
  • With reasonable numbers and some care you should be able to make a stand out of a single 10 foot piece of tubing.

And because it drives me crazy trying to figure this out every time, here are some notes on choosing a hacksaw blade:

  • 14 teeth/inch (TPI) for cutting large sections of mild material
  • 18 TPI for cutting large sections of tough steel
  • 24 TPI for cutting angle iron, heavy pipe, brass or copper
  • 32 TPI for cutting thin tubing