At times, I need to tweak some metal a little to weld or bend into position. I have used a combination of things; come alongs, ratcheting chain binders, turnbuckles in conjunction with nylon straps, ropes made into a loop with a sheet bend then with a lark's head, chains, and various other things in various situations.
Is there anything like a mini come along? Maybe just a small ratchet binder? What do you use to pull things into position?
I once had what amounted to a miniature chain hoist. Rated at 500 lb, operated by a 3/8" ratchet. It was called a "tool box hoist". Got it at Northern Tool. Glad I didn't pay much for it, because it was worthless.
An approach I've used that you didn't mention is the HF version of a hydraulic "porta power". They have good sales on them occasionally. That, with an accessory "puller", works very well indeed and it does not take no for an answer. Use with robust chain, not rope or nylon strap. The working range (pull distance) is limited so you don't want to waste any in stretch.
I got mine on sale for $89. I don't use it all that often but I've definitely gotten $89 worth out of utility from it. No question! It's one of those tools that can change a several-hour session of frustration and cussing into a short session ending with "hot damn!" One example: removing stuck-by-rust hitch from receiver tube. I always get it out when I'm going to weld up a rectangular frame. I plan the welds, tack judiciously, etc etc, you know the drill ... and then I let it fix my sins of commission and omission to tweak the corners to blackout square.
Some 3/4" allthread, a few nuts and some scrap bits can be handy at times if not a lot of force is required.
On Mon, 06 Oct 2008 00:18:19 -0500, the infamous Don Foreman
Try the little ratcheting tiedowns with 1" nylon strap. They'll pull a considerable tension. I used one for keeping my mill stand straight before and during welding. And I used it to tweak the stand after welding, when it was standing on 3 legs. It pulled that 1/8" skew out of it, too. I was impressed. The comealong was too long and I'd forgotten I owned a portapower unit at the time.
I picked up their 4T unit for $69.
I sometimes use a beefy turnbuckle, some wire rope, and some rope clips to pull something true. Whatever fits into the space I have (plus whatever I have lying around) is what I use.
On Mon, 06 Oct 2008 07:23:02 -0700, Larry Jaques
. The comealong was too long and I'd>forgotten I owned a portapower unit at the time.
Chains and turnbuckles of various weights and sizes for each work well.
The best combination of compactness, strength and fine adjustment I've found is a worm-drive strap winch. I bought mine used and haven't seen anything similar for sale new. It's too inefficient to be a good general-purpose hoist, for that I like the 3/4 ton Jet lever chain puller.
WalMart's 2" webbing tie-down will pull 1000Lbs. Their little takedown cable puller in a clear/black plastic case is OK after greasing it and fixing the obvious flaws, mainly reshaping the ratchets.
You could use your welding Vise-Grips to tighten the chain. I have an 11R tightened to ~500 Lbs on a load cell in front of me right now. The smaller 6R almost reached 400.
--For stuff that's so small that you can't get the ratchet binder in there I use those new squeeze-to-tighten woodworking clamps. If you get good ones, there's an option that lets you reverse the jaws so that you can push, as well as pull with them. IIRC Stanley makes a decent one..
I tend to use things that squeeze from the outside more than pull from the inside, especially on small things. I use pipe clamps, bar clamps, Vise-Grips bar clamps, and C-clamps.
I like Ries Niemi's idea, which is to take a stout turnbuckle and weld the bolt ends to the workpiece. That way you can either pull or push. When you're done, you just break off the tacks and clean up with a flap wheel.
It's damn ridiculous sometimes what it all looks like when I'm finally ready to put a good weld in just the right spot.
Good ideas on previous posts. Here are some others you might consider:
Rope tightener: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=65655 Cable tightener: http://shop.bluehaven.com/product/687/winterizing-above-ground-pools Fence tighteners: http://www.kencove.com/fence/Wire+Tighteners_product.php