Making A Pipe Crimper From Scrap

Finished pipe crimper made from recycled parts

We love upcycling around these parts — taking what would be a pile of rusty scrap and turning it into something useful — and this project from YouTuber [Hands on Table] is no different. Starting with a pair of solid looking sprockets, one big, one small, and some matching chain, a few lumps of roughly hewn steel plate were machined to form some additional parts. A concentric (rear mounted) plate was temporarily welded to the sprocket so matching radial slots could be milled, before it was removed. Next, the sprocket was machined on the inside to add a smooth edge for the crimping fingers (is that the correct term? We’re going with it!) to engage with.

These fingers started life as an off the shelf 3/8″ HSS tool bit, ground down by hand, to produce the desiredInternal view of crimper mechanism shows the fingers and retraction springs crimping profile. A small piece of steel was welded on to each, to allow a small spring to act on the finger, enabling it to retract at the end of the crimping action. We did spot the steel plate being held in place with a small magnet, prior to welding. The heat from that would likely kill off the magnetic field in a short space of time, but they’re so cheap as to be disposable items anyway.

A small ring rides on top of the assembly, bolted to the fixed rear plate. The prevents the crimping fingers from falling out . The fingers are constrained by the slots in the rear plate, so the result is that they can only move radially. As the big sprocket is rotated, they get progressively pushed towards the center, giving that nice, even crimping action. Extra mechanical advantage is provided by driving the small sprocket with a wrench. Super simple stuff, and by the looks of the device in action, pretty effective at crimping the hose fittings it was intended for.

Taking one thing and turning it into something else may well be the very essence of hacking. We’ve seen many hacky upcycling efforts, such as this bench disk sander built from a dryer machine motor. Of course, upcycling is not limited to machines, tools and electronic doodads. Here a trapper hat made out of an old skirt. And why not?

Thanks to [Zane] for the tip!

19 thoughts on “Making A Pipe Crimper From Scrap

  1. Wish it was available as 3D printable design. Some of us are not privileged to their own homes, have to rent and abide by landlord’s regulations. For example, in my place I am not allowed to own any power tools because of noise and orderly behaviour regulations of building I live in. Really wish I could learn how to use a soldering iron, power drill, angle grinder or welder but I would be kicked out probably the same day.

    1. A soldering iron you should be able to use within your own home without any trouble. Nobodies ever going to know. As to the other stuff, is there a hacker/makerspace in your area? Somebody else you know sympathetic to your problems that might allow you to play in their yard sometimes?

      You can certainly OWN the tools, even have them in your home, you just can’t use them there. If you have somewhere else to use them, having tools and keeping them in a bag or box at home ready for transport isn’t going to run you afoul of anyone either.

      1. You can always rent a garage. The only trouble is getting there, getting all the tools there, and not being able to leave your work and materials sitting while you think about what to do next, because you’re on the clock.

        1. I’ve looked into that, but renting any kind of workspace costs almost as much as renting a whole apartment–and you’re not allowed to live there. I despair of ever being able to work on anything.

    2. Take your stuff to a park and keep a couple extra boards and a can of paint handy. Wear an orange vest, cap, and shades and then you can always claim to be part of a volunteer public improvement project. Chances are nobody will even bat an eye. Then you can do all the cutting you want. Are you allowed to run a noisy vacuum cleaner like a Kirby upright? Run the vacuum right next to what you’re cutting to mask the sound.

    3. I’ve been in the same situation for many years before, and I live in an area where there are no maker spaces etc. I would take a fabrication class (machining, welding, woodworking, etc) at a community college and get access to a nice shop for a year for pretty cheap. Usually if I told the instructor I just needed to use the shop and proved I wasn’t going to kill myself or the tools I just did my own thing during the class. Once I got my own tools I would set up a shop in a rented storage unit. The older and more rundown the place is the better. They don’t care what you are doing as long as you pay the rent.

    4. Take an adult education class at a local college for machining or basic mechanics. A few $100 gets you access to a shop, teacher, and tools without having to supply your own. I know a few people who built or rebuilt cars and machinery doing this.

    5. What are you? Swiss/German?

      Rules are suggestions. Just ignore them.
      If anybody catches you say “I’m soorry” / cartman.

      Play super loud Norwegian death metal to cover the noise. Also FinnTroll and Negativeland, they’re cool.
      Take up bagpipes, have friends take up accordion/drums and start a band. War pipes in particular will have you neighbors glad you’re back to welding and grinding.
      Don’t ‘ruin your musical purity’ by getting good.

  2. This is an extremely quality looking tool. I’m amazed the crimping tips are made out of hand-ground HSS drill bits. It’s amazing how this looks like a ~$400 made out of scrap with some light machining. Really amazing

  3. I’m curious about the crimp die profile. I think I would have made these semicircular the opposite direction, so when they’re all in their fully extended state they roughly define a circle. Is there a reason to choose 8 dimples to form a daisy-like crimp, over trying to compress the metal? Presumably compression/thickening takes more force than a daisy fold.

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