Future-proofing the workbench

thirdhand
I think the workbench was one of the first things I built in the basement after we moved in 14 years ago, out of leftover flooring from the previous place. It’s long since become just one more flat surface punctuated by vises, and until this week the rows of 3/4″holes I drilled in it for bench dogs way back when were mostly an annoying way to lose small items.

But by some chance of avarice a pile of articulated coolant pipes, aka “third hand” arms, showed up on my doorstep this holiday season. A couple of measurements and the world’s shortest openscad design session later, I was printing up a collar to mate the pipe fitting on the end of the arms to the dog holes. Then I mashed the alligator clips from my existing (much loved, much hated) third hand tool so they would fit into the nozzles, and presto.

I like two things about this new setup: it moves a lot when you want it to, and it doesn’t move when you don’t want it to. And potentially as many arms as I want. As soon as I can fake up a clip to hold solder and a frame to hold a decent-size magnifier I will be set. (Also note that most of the cheapjack p0rtable work stands from the usual box-store suspects come with similar but not quite identically-sized holes.)

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