Friday, April 17, 2009

Tube Clamping Components vs. Tinker Toys

Diane here, digging in our industrial toy box of parts for machine designers, and coming up with a handful of tube clamp components. Ooh, what can we build with these?

Just like with Tinker Toys, the possibilities are endless. You see, tube clamping components are nifty devices that enable you to easily build jigs, fixtures, and operating systems using standard metric round and square tubing.

You have your two-way connector clamps, which connect pairs of tubes at right angles. And there’s your flanged two-way connector clamps, which connect those pairing of tubes to other surfaces. Then there’s your flanged connector clamps, which join a single tube to another surface. You can also connect two tubes in a T-formation, or end to end, or to a swiveling connector, and so on, and so on.

Our line of tube clamping components gives you other options, like connecting a large diameter tube to a small one, round to square, and all those permutations. As I recall, with Tinker Toys the holes were either small enough to hold the sticks tightly, or big enough so they could spin freely. It’s not like they’d work for a square stick!

Meanwhile, there’s the material issues. Unlike Tinker Toys, where your material choice was wood, wood, or wood, these tube clamps come in shot-blasted aluminum, plastic coated aluminum, or stainless steel. Fun!

I know you’re already envisioning the great race car, steam shovel, or windmill you could build with these, but wait, there’s more. Depending upon the requirements of your application, you can control the clamping function on these clamps with a socket head cap screw, a hex head cap screw, or an adjustable lever.

Okay, now for the final awesome element. (And Tinker Toys can’t touch this.) You can incorporate linear actuators in your design. A linear actuator is a guide tube that mounts to other surfaces or tubing and has an internal system that allows you to use a handwheel to move the tube in a linear direction.

Check out this illustration to see how some of these components work. Here you see two linear actuators, each with a handwheel (one has a nifty counter) mounted to each other by a connector with an adjustable lever. The entire contraption has a flanged base.

Way better than Tinker Toys--I know, right? All you need is tubing and tube end plugs (oh, and we have those too) and you have endless possibilities. And seriously, I’m not really talking about race cars, steam shovels and windmills…well, maybe windmills, come to think of it.

So check out our Section 16--Tube Clamping Components, where you can purchase the most popular of these components right online via our estore. We also just added a digital 83 page catalog you can view right on the website to see every possible permutation of tube clamp components and linear actuators we have to offer you, and believe me, it’s cool.

Well, that was fun! Of course, now I’ve got these parts strewn all over the J.W. Winco rumpus room and I have to put them all back in the industrial toy box....but it was worth it to share them with you!

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