Low profile seat post clamp
Hockey puck feet & more
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Like me, my bike is getting old and in need of constant maintenance with an occasional upgrade thrown in for good measure. To facilitate this ongoing need for attention, I began my quest for a “do it yourself” bike repair stand.
There were a number of “must haves” I wanted to incorporate into my bike stand; the first being a rotating head that would allow me to work on my bike at virtually any angle. Secondly, I wanted a large footprint for stability while working on my bike in different positions; this also means that I need to keep the center of bike’s gravity as close to the 60″ vertical post as possible. Thirdly, I wanted to be able to walk into my local big box store and purchase most, if not all of the necessary parts to put this bike repair stand together. And last but not least, I wanted to keep the need for the tools required for this build down to a minimum…………….I think I nail it.
PARTS AND MATERIALS:
The materials that went into the construction of this bike repair stand were purchased from my local big box store as “off the shelf” items including the 3/4″ black steel pipe and the black malleable iron fittings. The other materials I used was a piece of 24″ x 24″ x 3/4″ plywood, 2 pieces of 7″ long 2×4, and 4 hockey pucks………….more about them later. Some 3/8″ nuts and bolts and 4 – 1/4″ carriage bolts and nuts and a few more pieces of hardware, round out the list.
With my shopping list in hand, I picked up the materials I needed and laid out the base for the bike repair stand on the workbench.
With all the parts for the base laid out and in their correct configuration, I’m ready to start the assembly process. Before I go any further, I’d like to suggest to you that you either beg, borrow or confiscate from someone, (hopefully a friend) a pair of pipe wrenches. I borrowed these two pipe wrenches and I was amazed and the amount of torque I could deliver while assembling these 3/4″ pipe and fittings.
I started the base sub-assembly with the center Tee (F) and inserted a 6″ pipe (D) on either side of the Tee. I tightened that assembly together and continued by installing and tightening the 45 degree fittings (E), then the 2″ nipples and finally the last two Tee fittings (F). When I was sure the fittings were all tight and I mean really tight, I placed the assembly on the bench to make sure all the fittings were orientated in their proper position.
Next I installed the rest of the base’s parts “hand tight” to this sub-assembly, including the 60″ vertical post, 24″ front legs and the 8″ back legs, to ensure that the base would lay flat before the next step.
PINNING THE JOINTS:
Confident that all is the way it should be, I now remove the “hand tightened” parts from the sub-assembly, and prepared to “pin” the sub-assembly together. I’m not entirely convinced that pinning the sub-assembly together is completely necessary but I wanted the added assurance that this part of the base would not move (allowing the 60″ vertical post to move forward) when I was working on a suspended bike.
The first step to pinning the sub-assembly was to purchase some 1/8″ x 1-1/2″ long “split pins”, they go by other names depending on where you live but these pins drive into a 1/8″ diameter hole and lock the fittings to the steel pipe.
First, I need to install the sub-assembly into a vice and then center punch the fitting so the 1/8″ drill bit has a starting point.
With the sub-assembly center punched and ready to drill, I clamped the vice onto the drill press table, set the drill press to its lowest speed, drilled the holes and installed the pins.
Once the center Tee is drilled and the pins are installed, I finish up by drilling and installing the rest of the pins in the sub-assembly. I then install the 24″ long front legs, the 8″ rear legs and tighten them into position using the two pipe wrenches.
Rather than just leaving the base of the repair stand to sit on the floor as is, I decided to install some solid rubber feet to support the base. I suppose that I could have easily bought some furniture feet but hey, why not use a 1″x3″ solid rubber foot to support this repair stand………….yes, they are hockey pucks. The solid rubber puck provides a good grip on concrete and a smooth, non-marring surface in case you’re using this repair stand on a ceramic, hardwood or laminate flooring.
With the front and back legs mounted securely onto the sub-assembly, I marked the top of each of the legs where I wanted to drill a 3/8″ diameter hole to house the carriage bolt for the foot and center punched a starting point for the drill bit. The first leg is removed from the base assembly, clamped into a vice that is clamped onto the drill press table, and drilled. This leg is then reinstalled into the base assembly and the next leg undergoes the same procedure until all four legs are drilled.
Rather than trying to drill a 3/8″ diameter hole into each leg in one go, I took the time to drill a series of holes into each leg, starting with a 3/16″ diameter bit. Once I drilled this hole, I then move to a 5/16″ diameter bit and finally the 3/8″ diameter bit. Drilling in stages may take a little more time but it is worth the effort, it’s easier on the drill press, drill bits and you’re less likely to “catch” the material when trying to drill a 3/8″ diameter hole in a single pass.
HOCKEY PUCK FEET:
Drilling the hockey puck feet was a simple task for the drill press. Clamped into a vice that is clamped to the drill press table, I first set the drill press to its lowest speed, drilled a 7/8″ diameter hole into the center of the puck with a forstner bit (a spade bit will work) to a depth of 3/8″. This will create a countersink or recess for the head of the carriage bolt so it won’t scratch the surface the stand is sitting on. While the puck is still in this position, I installed a 3/8″ diameter drill bit and drilled a hole all the way through the puck.
After drilling the four pucks and inserting the carriage bolts, I installed the feet into the legs and finished off by placing 3/4″ end caps on the exposed thread of the pipe.
I then placed the base onto the workbench and checked to make sure that the base would sit flat and it did. If one or more of the feet didn’t sit flat on the workbench I could easily adjust the fit by placing flat washers between the nut on top of the puck and the 3/4″ pipe. I would then have to increase the length of the carriage bolt but a flat, stable base is what I’m looking for. The footprint of the base measures 55″x26″ providing plenty of support for the repair stand.
THE VERTICAL POST & ROTATING HEAD:
I chose a 60″ vertical post for my repair stand; it places the bike at an ideal working height for me. Some cyclists prefer not to have a rotating head on their repair stands and at this point they would install the vertical post, a 3/4″ 90 degree fitting, a length of pipe and a clamp and call it done. I think that the extra work involved to fabricate a rotating head is worth the effort in the end.
The heart of the rotating head is a simple but very effective 3/4″ union fitting. This a “standard” pipe fitting and available at any big box store. Below is a picture of the 3-part union, unassembled and assembled. Here you see the domed portion (convex), the cup portion (concave) and the nut portion of the fitting. The “nut” portion of the fitting will be secured into a piece of plywood with epoxy, more on that later.
Here are the parts in their proper configuration for the rotating head. If it looks a little confusing, don’t worry, the following steps are straight forward and simple.
This is what the rotating head is supposed to look like when assembled. Onto the 60″ vertical pipe goes the 3/4″ 90 degree fitting, next the 2″ short pipe (nipple) and then the “cup portion (concave) of the union. That’s the first part of this two part rotating head, now onto the second part of the rotating head. The dome portion (convex) of the union is tightened onto the 8” pipe, the plywood arm with it’s epoxy embedded nut, is then slid onto this pipe and the floor flange is installed. The two part rotating head is now complete and ready for use but first I need to fabricate the 4-arm, plywood locking handle.
THE WOODEN PARTS ARE NEXT:
Until this time, the build has been more of an “assembly of parts” but that all changes now. Now it’s time to fabricate the wooden parts and I’m going to start with the 4-arm, plywood locking handle. I mark the center point of a 24’x24″x3/4″ piece of plywood and drill a hole large enough to house the “nut” portion of the union fitting. The hole has to be large enough to accommodate a two part epoxy mixture that I’ll be pouring around the nut to hold it in place, the bit I chose was a 2 – 3/8″ hole saw.
I place clear packing tape over the hole on the underside of the plywood to stop the epoxy from leaking out of the hole when I pour the epoxy and place the nut from the union in the center of the hole. I then carefully place clear packing tape over the opening in the nut to prevent any epoxy from entering the nut and clogging its threads during the epoxy pour. With the nut secured in the opening, I’m ready to mix and pour the two part epoxy.
Even though this is fast drying epoxy, with a pour this large I decided to leave this overnight to cure.
After the curing process, I removed the tape from both sides of the plywood and I was pleased to see that no epoxy had penetrated through the tape and into the threads of the nut, that would have been a messy clean up. I then drew a 6″ diameter circle onto the plywood and extended four – 2″ wide arms out to the corners of the plywood.
I next decided to increase the width of these 4 arms near the 6″ diameter circle to add a measure of strength to the assembly. I then cut out the handle using a jigsaw and sanded it smooth.
The diagonal measurement across two arms is 30″, which results in plenty of leverage to tighten the rotating head in place and hold it there.
THE SEAT POST CLAMP:
The last woodworking step is to fabricate the seat post clamp out of two pieces of spruce 2×4. I have seen a number of seat post clamps made from 3/4″ woodworking pipe clamps but I like this style of clamp because it has a lower profile and I’m less likely to hit my head on it, while working on my bike.
With the layout complete, I’m ready to cut out the “hinge knuckle” notches and the slots for the eye bolt. Both of these cuts can be made with a table saw, bandsaw, jigsaw or in this case, a hand saw.
The next step is to drill the hole for the seat post and for the eye-bolt-retaining bolt. My seat post is 27.2mm so after a bit of experimenting, I chose to drill this hole with a 1″ diameter spade bit, the eye-bolt-retaining bolt requires a 3/8″ diameter hole. Look closely at the picture below and you see that both 2×4’s are clamped together against the drill press fence and the center of the 1″ diameter spade bit is exactly 1 – 1/4″ from the fence. This “offset” hole position is done on purpose and you’ll see why later.
The first thing you notice about the picture below is that the seat post doesn’t fit into the hole I just drilled, it’s been done this way on purpose.
All I need to do to have a snug fit around the seat post is to remove the shoulders of the hole that prevent the seat post from seating fully into the hole. This is done with a handsaw and takes a minute to accomplish.
With the shoulders now removed and little sanding with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a piece of wooden dowel, here is the fit. Another five minutes worth of sanding the rough edges and it’ll fit perfectly.
I next surface mounted a standard, 3″ interior door hinge on the end of the 2×4’s and made sure that the hinge knuckle fell over the hinge knuckle cutout I previously made.
Installed next was the 3/4″ floor flange and it was installed with 1/4″ carriage bolt in countersunk holes from the inside of the back portion of the seat post clamp.
I then installed the 4″ eye-bolt, 4″ eye-bolt retaining bolt, a 3/8 threaded knob, washer and a lock washer to lock the seat post clamp together.
With the seat post clamp finished, you can see how drilling the 1″ diameter hole offset works to my advantage. In the picture above you’ll notice that the seat post fits deeply into the hole and in the picture below you’ll notice how the front of the clamp presses against the seat post holding it in place with ease. This seat post clamp applies clamping pressure around the entire seat post and not just at one or two points and there is still, almost 1/8″ of compression between the ends of the two 2×4’s.
The added benefit to using this low profile type of seat post clamp is that there is a mere 13″ between the center of the seat post and the center of the 60″ vertical post. This keeps the bike’s center of gravity close to the vertical post and not cantilevered over the front of the base…….the result is a better balanced bike repair stand when in use.
All that’s left to do is to sand the wooden parts, prime and paint the stand and put it to use.
I’ll be the first to admit that there is a measure of “extra effort” involved to building the rotating head part of this bike repair stand but in use, the rotating head and 4-arm locking handle work exceptionally well. The 4 arms provide ample tightening power at any angle and the low profile seat post clamp ensures that the center of gravity is close to the 60″ vertical post. The 55″x26″ base provides good stability and the hockey puck feet grip the concrete floor of my workshop, nicely. Once the bike is loaded and tightened into the repair stand, I simply lift up on the bike’s frame (usually the seat tube), loosen the plywood clamp arm, place the bike in the position I want to work on and re-tighten the clamp arm and the bike stays in that position until I’m ready to re-position the bike.
It is my hope that someone takes some of the ideas I’ve presented here and runs with them. I’m sure that there are a number of improvements that can be made to this bike repair stand and I certainly look forward to seeing them and perhaps incorporating them into the next bike repair stand that I build………..happy cycling.
A very special thank you goes out to my son in law, Mark Simpson.
Without Mark’s help, tools and expertise……..this build would not have been possible.
Thanks Buddy……. add this one to the long list of things I owe you.
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