Tutorial - DIY Inside Corner Bracket

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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
DIY Inside Corner Bracket

DIY Inside Corner Bracket



I’ve built a number of scratch-built mods out of aluminum square tube, usually ¾” square tube with 1/16” thick walls (its an easy size to work with for typical computer case sized projects).

If you are building a standard cube shaped frame, one of the first problems you must address is how to connect the corners:

Cornerdilemma.jpg







You could use a bunch of angle brackets:

Tripleanglebrackets.jpg



But this is not super-stable.




Other options would be to go with a T-slot type system, but this requires proprietary bars.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#t-slotted-framing/=g0vihv

80/20 products:
http://www.8020.net/Quick-Frame-1.asp

Brenner products:
http://www.brunnerent.com/Tools/Por...size=0&lngDisplay=2&jPageNumber=6&strMetaTag=







I decided to go with my own DIY route and fabricate my own 3 way inside corner brackets.




Done-2.jpg






And here some detailed instructions on how I did it:


 

Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #1

Materials.




Stockbrass.jpg



I started with ¾” angle brass, 1/16” thickness.

Why brass? It’s solid, machinable, inexpensive, can be powdercoated, comes in standard sizes like 1/16” thick. Aluminum would be ideal, but you just can’t easily solder it, and welding it would require some fairly expensive specialized equipment. Steel would work great, but I only found ⅛” thick angle, which is probably overkill for our purposes.





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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #2

Cutting down the stock.




Each bracket of mine is composed of 2 pieces of the angle brass, one 4” in length and one 2 1/16” in length


Cutstock.jpg





Tools:
I use a cutting bandsaw:

Cuttingstock.jpg


Alternatives: chopsaw, cutt-off saw, dremel with a cutoff wheel, standard bandsaw, handsaw with a miterbox, tablesaw with a sled, scrollsaw, sawzall.





I also use a sanding disk to finish the edges:


Sandingstock.jpg
 

Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #3

Add the mounting holes.





I suggest making a quick marking jig to make your holes consistent from bracket to bracket:


Markingjig.jpg









Then use a center punch to create divots for your drill:


Centerpunch.jpg



Weapon of choice: springloaded center punch






Drill all your holes:


Drillingholes.jpg



Be careful here! I’ve noticed brass has what I call pull-thru. When standard drill bits exit the far side of the material, they will catch on the under-surface and cause the material to jump up towards the chuck. You can hold it down easily, but just be ready for the jump.

Weapon of choice: drill press.

Alternate tools: drill






Stockwithholes.jpg
 

Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #4

Slot the 4” piece.






First mark a midline slot:


Stockslotmarked.jpg








Next cut the slot out (I’ve also added a pencil line for the next step):


Stockwithslot.jpg










I use my bandsaw:


Cuttingslot.jpg




Alternate tools: dremel with cutoff, hand miter box.





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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #5

Score the bend line.




Using my dremel I lightly score the bend line. This will help it bend easier and straighter:


Dremelslot.jpg
 

Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #6

Bend the 4” piece.





Vicetobend.jpg



Clamp the 4” piece in a vise, with just about 1/64” addition from the previously scored bend line to accommodate the bend radius.


Then I apply some gentle heat, and pound the bend in with a hammer.


Vicebend2.jpg








Video (click to view)





Tools: vice, hammer, butane plumber's torch



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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #7

Prep your soldering surfaces.




Some people feel that prepping is a good but not essential step. Surface preparation is CRUCIAL for welding and soldering. If you don’t take time and prep, the solder will NOT hold and you might as well not do any of this.





Prep the interface surface:


Prep.jpg




I used an 80 grit sanding triangle on a Dremel Multimax followed by 220 grit by hand, then cleaning with a paper towl.

Alternates: plumber’s cleaning cloth, sandpaper by hand.



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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #8

Setup your soldering jig.




Jig.jpg






I’ve got my brass pieces ready to solder together, but it is best to do so while they are attached to a jig. So I put together 3 pieces of ¾” square tube together to a corner, held by external L brackets. This is important so that you know your bracket will come out shaped properly.


Jig2.jpg








Next, I secured the inside corner bracket to the jig with some screws and tape.


Mountedtojig.jpg









We are going to make a butt joint, where the ends of the folded 4” piece will meet the surface of the 2” piece. This is why the 2” piece is actually 2 1/16” in length because it sits down losing 1/16” of its length to make the joint.






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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #9

Gather your tools to solder.




Solderingtools.jpg



We’ve got for soldering:

1) Small butane lighter
2) Larger propane torch (not necessary but makes it faster)
3) Flux and brush
All available at any hardware store in the aisle for copper plumbing.
4) Solder--I’m using standard Radioshack solder (it’s leaded, so remember, wear mask).
5) Forceps or tweezers for handing hot items, maybe some hot mitts


Safety:

1) N95 mask, especially if you are using leaded solder
2) Gloves
3) Something to torch on, in this case an old aluminum motherboard tray
4) Squirt bottle of water
5) Fire extinguisher
 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #10

More prep.




Make sure you surfaces are sanded and clean bare metal.

Then add flux. Flux will dictate where the solder will go, 2 important things to remember:

1) Work the flux down into the surfaces of the actual joint (especially on the edge of the folded piece--in fact its probably better to flux this surface before mounting it to the jig).

2) Only put flux where you want solder to go--in fact I will mask off areas to lay down my flux:


Flux.jpg
 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #11

Solder.





This is actually my first time doing this sort of thing, but this was the method I worked out.

1) Use large propane torch to heat the targeted joint for about 10 seconds. I found the large propane torch too unwieldy to work with actually laying down solder simultaneously.




Video (click to view)













2) Then use the small butane torch to deposit small blobs of solder along the joint:


Depositsolder.jpg










Video (click to view)












3) After depositing them, I heat them for another 10 seconds with the small butane torch to stick them to the metal (otherwise they will actually move around).



4) Next, I use the large propane torch and just blast the solder deposits. In about 10 seconds they will liquefy, coalesce, then spread along the area of flux. This is not a subtle transformation. The picture below is literally the exactly the same pic as above just after application of nothing more than propane heat:


Liquefy.jpg









Video (click to view)











5) Repeat steps #2 thru #4 until you get a nice distribution of solder across the length of the joint:


Moresolder.jpg







6) Repeat steps #2 thru #4 for the other joint:


Donesoldering.jpg







Video (click to view)--Whole second bead start to finish.


 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #12

Check your soldered joints:




1) Make sure the solder bead makes a nice gusseted joint and fills in the gap between the pieces:


Goodsolder1.jpg








2) Turn the piece over and make sure solder has filled in the gap between the 2 pieces:


Goodsolder3.jpg
 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #13

Finish the joint.




1) I use a standard b*stard (fill in "a") and round file to shape the bead to a nice smooth concave bead:


File.jpg








2) Finished:


Filed.jpg









3) If you want to really smooth the solder bead out, you can apply JB Weld:


JBweld.jpg









4) Piece is now ready for paint or powdercoating!

However, I’ve got other plans for these brackets....so bare brass for me.




Finishedbracket1.jpg
 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Rustled up another video clip of a start to finish solder bead:



Video Clip (click to play)



 

Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Part 2

End plugs







Holeplug1.jpg




As a corollary project to my DIY Inside Corner Bracket, I will also include some instructions for fabricating my DIY End Plugs.

As you can see from the above picture, once you’ve got your corners secured with the bracket, if you do standard straight cutting of your square tubes, you will end up with exposed tube inside.

So let’s close it up with an end cap.
 
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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #1

Stock material.





Plugstockmaterial.jpg



I start with some strip ¾” wide, 1/16” thick bar aluminum.

Then I cut off a ¾”+ piece (use: bandsaw, cutoff, hand miter box). Make it just slightly larger than ¾” because you can plan on sanding it down. Getting an exact ¾” square piece is too difficult without robotic aid.

I also start with some ⅝” plastic cubes, available for very cheap at various plastic suppliers.

You can also start with some ⅝” aluminum square bar and cut off lengths (I recommend from ½” to ⅝”).

Finally, have a small piece of de-burred ¾” aluminum square tube (1/16” thick walls), approximately ½” length--this is going to be our jig.




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Navig

Senior Case Master
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Step #2

Sand your cube.






Plugcubesanded.jpg



Sand the cube down until it fits snug into the square tube piece.

Also sand the surface that is going to receive glue.






Snug fit:


Pluginsertcube.jpg