2" square tubing as reconfigurable tools

It came to mind some time ago the idea of using 2" square tubing like what's used on trailer hitches to make reconfigurable tools for the things I
don't have room to leave in place in my not so big garage. For example, I could make a H or C press, small hoist, temporary work table, or other stuff by having the two inch tubing in "standard" lengths with holes evenly distributed along the length, and having the 2 1/2" stuff as connectors, angle fittings, and so forth to make the necessary connections. I was thinking of using the standard hitch pin in appropriate sized holes to hold things together. Then I got to thinking about what kind of load a standard hitch pin would be made to hole, and what kind of loads I could expect to be working with safely. What kind of engagement would be necessary to keep movement to a minimum in high stress environments of say, a C press.
I know some folks use their trailer hitches for other than intended purposes, and someone told me that he uses all his tools mounted on this kind of tubing so that he can take them off of his workbench when they're in his way.
Am I thinking safely here? Anything I need to be concerned about?
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carl mciver wrote:

Before you completely re-invent the wheel, Look at Unistrut product telestrut 9000 & 9200. 1-5/8" and 1-7/8" square respectively, 9/16" holes on 1-7/8" centers all 4 sides. Uses standard unistrut fittings.

Unistrut also has extensive engineering data available re: using this stuff as both beams and columns.
Stuart
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| carl mciver wrote: | | > For example, I could make a H or C press, small hoist, temporary work | > table, or other stuff by having the two inch tubing in "standard" lengths | > with holes evenly distributed along the length, and having the 2 1/2" stuff | > as connectors, angle fittings, and so forth to make the necessary | > connections. I was thinking of using the standard hitch pin in appropriate | > sized holes to hold things together. | | Before you completely re-invent the wheel, Look at Unistrut | product telestrut 9000 & 9200. 1-5/8" and 1-7/8" square | respectively, 9/16" holes on 1-7/8" centers all 4 sides. | Uses standard unistrut fittings. | | > Am I thinking safely here? Anything I need to be concerned about? | > | | Unistrut also has extensive engineering data available re: | using this stuff as both beams and columns. | | Stuart
Aha! I knew I had seen the stuff about and it was part of the thinking behind the idea, but never knew it was a Unistrut product. Being on dialup and at home for the duration of the holidays unfortunately I'm not going to download the largest files that have the engineering information I need, but with wall thicknesses of 0.14" Vs 1/4" wall from the square tubing I'm considering I doubt it would last very long if I attempted to make a press out of it and put my little 20 ton (or even my 6 ton) jack on it. The quick change and versatility of the system I like, but I figure I could get a much stronger joint if I had two 2 1/2" pieces of tubing welded at, say, right angles with a gusset, as a corner connector or a tee than a simple ell bracket like the unistrut system. Not knocking it at all, but I want something far stronger than that. I also want to be able to put it together and hang stuff off of my hitch, like a vise, charcoal grill, or an anvil. Thanks for the pointer!
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I welded a piece of receiver tubing under the corner of my workbench and then mounted my vise on a piece of 2". I leave it on the bench most of the time, but it has been real handy to use on the truck hitch as well. If you made other things mounted on 2" tubing the hitch pin wouldn't be taking the load, only holding it in place. The press for instance would contain the forces within it self, only the actual weight of the press would be on the hitch if I'm picturing what you have in mind correctly. The hitch pins are strong though, usually rated for pulling 20k pounds of trailer.

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In the press I had in mind the pins would be holding the load, however. The idea is that the press looks just like an H or a C press with square tubing instead of C channel. Obviously not as heavy duty, but that's the tradeoff of versatility. In a hoist configuration would be like an "A" frame hoist but two verticals and a broad tubing base. Beats unfolding the engine hoist just to move and engine on or off the stand. As a table or work surface you could use four legs or mount it to your hitch. The surface could be wood or metal, and would just have 2 1/2" square tubing pieces lying flat on the corners so that the other pieces could connect in whatever configuration works for the situation. My small drill press, vise,. grinder, and maybe a small anvil would all be mounted on their own plates with receiver sized tubing on the bottom, set up so that they can be attached to your hitch (maybe even more than one at a time, if you use the right combination of pipes, tees and ells) in whatever arrangement works, or moved to the workbench where I hope to have more than one receiver mounted. I'll have to mount the receivers actually independent of the work bench, to the wall and maybe the floor, because every time I bang on my vise the whole work bench (2x4's stoutly arranged, with countertop) rattles my mess about too much. I say hitch because folks get the idea of how it connects, but if you're thinking something, I'd really like to find out what you had in mind. Taking the load off of the pins is always a good thing. I also figure that it's a lot cheaper to jaw an idea over before spending money with the high price of steel, and less waste from getting a bunch of opinions instead of stuff I didn't think of.
| > | carl mciver wrote: | > | | > | > For example, I could make a H or C press, small hoist, temporary | > work | > | > table, or other stuff by having the two inch tubing in "standard" | > lengths | > | > with holes evenly distributed along the length, and having the 2 1/2" | > stuff | > | > as connectors, angle fittings, and so forth to make the necessary | > | > connections. I was thinking of using the standard hitch pin in | > appropriate | > | > sized holes to hold things together. | > | | > | Before you completely re-invent the wheel, Look at Unistrut | > | product telestrut 9000 & 9200. 1-5/8" and 1-7/8" square | > | respectively, 9/16" holes on 1-7/8" centers all 4 sides. | > | Uses standard unistrut fittings. | > | | > | > Am I thinking safely here? Anything I need to be concerned about? | > | > | > | | > | Unistrut also has extensive engineering data available re: | > | using this stuff as both beams and columns. | > | | > | Stuart | > | > | > Aha! I knew I had seen the stuff about and it was part of the | thinking | > behind the idea, but never knew it was a Unistrut product. Being on | dialup | > and at home for the duration of the holidays unfortunately I'm not going | to | > download the largest files that have the engineering information I need, | but | > with wall thicknesses of 0.14" Vs 1/4" wall from the square tubing I'm | > considering I doubt it would last very long if I attempted to make a press | > out of it and put my little 20 ton (or even my 6 ton) jack on it. | > The quick change and versatility of the system I like, but I figure I | > could get a much stronger joint if I had two 2 1/2" pieces of tubing | welded | > at, say, right angles with a gusset, as a corner connector or a tee than a | > simple ell bracket like the unistrut system. Not knocking it at all, but | I | > want something far stronger than that. | > I also want to be able to put it together and hang stuff off of my | > hitch, like a vise, charcoal grill, or an anvil. | > Thanks for the pointer! | > | |
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Most of the stuff I have made is out of .20 cents a pound steel from the local scrap yard. They are open 1/2 a day on Sat just for scroungers like me. All the machines are shut down, just people wandering around digging through piles. My workbench is an old valve grinding center from a Buick dealership. It is all metal, about 6 feet long, 2 1/2 deep with a 6' overall height including the "backsplash" panel. An abrasive cut off saw sits flush with the work surface, the Lincoln buzz box rolls underneath and there are cabinets for rods and grinders, etc. Fully loaded I'm guessing it weighs at least 1000 pounds so when I pull on the receiver mounted vise it doesn't move. I'm always surprised at what I find in the scrap yard, but I'm glad people toss it so I can have it. As far as the press idea, I think I understand now. You want to use the 5/8 hitch pins to hold the adjustable press plate in position. From what I have seen of the pins, they bend before they break so if you were putting too much load on them, you would know it before they popped. Just my .02, I'm no engineer.

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