Make Your Own Thumbscrews

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Why buy when with a little epoxy you can make them. – Nick Pitchford.

This is a little story about how I made my own thumbscrews.

Thumbscrews

I made two different kinds, and included 2 other kinds I didn’t have the supplies to make.

  1. Take a standard case screw and epoxy it onto a “handle” of some sort. In my assorted Bolts-N-Crap drawer, I had some 1/2″ long x 1/4″ diameter hollow, steel-coated brass bushings lying around, so I whipped out the ol’ epoxy and seated them onto the head of each screw.

  2. The second were some assorted (Well, not assorted, they’re identical, but they were in my “assorted Bolts-N-Crap drawer”) bolts that are the correct diameter and threading, with a nut epoxied half way down (you look at an actual case screw, and epoxy the nut where the head of a standard case screw would be – in my case, almost exactly half way down). Epoxying a nut half way down serves to stop the bolt from threading it’s way all the way in, which would just make it an extra long case screw.

  3. This is a variation of number 2. Use 2 or 3 nuts per bolt, thread a nut all the way up the bolt, and make certain it stays there (Put epoxy above the threads of the nut, once you get it half way or more). Then thread a second nut up the bolt, and epoxy it into place. Continue as many times as necessary to make a solid “handle”, until you’ve got the correct length (Again, use an actual case screw to gauge the length).

  4. This is a variation of number 2 and 3. Instead of multiple nuts, you could use a single nut, and take up the rest of the useless length with washers. This wouldn’t give you as much grip as the number 3 would, but it’s better than a poke in the pupil with a white-hot skewer.

I made 8 total, there are six in the back, 3 of which holding cards in, and two in the front, one holding each side panel on.

In the inset pictures, the thumbscrew to the left is the one made from brass bushing (I filed down 2mm for better grip, as can be seen by the brass colored pits running longwise down the handle.). The one on the right is a nut epoxied half way down a bolt.

Nick Pitchford

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