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Homemade C-Clamp
Chad Travis, Drasco, Ark.: "I used scrap metal to make a safety cap for the oxygen cylinder I use with my acetylene welding torch. Safety caps are used when storing or transporting the cylinder. Commercial stem caps sell for about $50, but my only cost was time. The top ring is made from a length of 1/2-in. dia. rod rolled into a circle, and the base plate from 10-ga. metal. The ring and base plate are connected by a pair of welded-on metal plates. The cap's threaded collar, which screws onto the oxygen cylinder, is off a commercial storage cap - I simply cut the bottom off. The safety cap is designed so I still have full access to the cylinder's shutoff valve at the center top, and to a pair of gauges on one side.
  "I made a C-clamp so I could replace a U-joint on the driveshaft on my 1995 Chevy 2500 pickup. The driveshaft and yoke on older pickups like mine are made from aluminum so I didn't want to risk beating on it with a hammer. Commercial clamps sell for $130, but I used scrap metal for mine.
  "To make the clamp I first measured, then made a pattern, traced it and cut it out of 1-in. thick plate steel. I welded one nut on top of the clamp and another nut at the bottom that serves as a spacer. To press the yoke out, I place it inside the clamp and then use a socket wrench to turn a threaded bolt that goes through the top nut."

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4