Tooling Around

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Outdoor Picture Hanger

When my friends asked me to drive a couple of Tapcon screws into an out-of-doors brick wall so they could hang some pictures, our first thought was that the wire across the back of the picture frame could simply sit on the screw, with the screw head keeping it from slipping off. Thinking about it later, however, I was concerned that the vagaries of weather might make this less than secure.

Checking my scrap box, I found a short length of 3/8″ x 1/2″ aluminum bar. I cut it in half, the idea being that I could cut a groove in the end of each piece and drill a screw hole in the side. I was aiming for a finished length of about 7/8″. So far, so good, but then I wanted it to be a neat job. Here's what I did.

 

Turning Fixture (Skip to "Hanger Holes".)

Another check of the scrap box yielded a short stub of aluminum bar. Just the thing for a fixture, I thought. So, without further comment, here's how I made the fixture.

Okay, maybe just one comment. I started the tap with a tailstock chuck, to ensure that it would be straight. When the tap started to slip in the chuck (as expected), I switched to a tap wrench.

 

Hanger Holes (Skip to "Hanger Grooves".)

Again, the pictures tell a simple story.

 

Hanger Grooves (Skip to "Finished Hangers".)

Using a 10-32 SHCS to fix the hanger to the fixture.

With the lathe carriage locked in position, I used a cutoff tool to cut a groove a suitable distance from the edge of the hanger. Without moving the carriage, I reversed the hanger in the fixture and advanced the cutting tool to the depth of the first cut. The result was a groove that's centred on the hanger and a cutting tool that didn't collide with the vise jaws.

Grooves cut, it was a simple matter of turning the ends of the hanger, just for pretty. No, I didn't run the cutter into the chuck jaws.

 

Finished Hangers

The screw heads were just a tiny bit too big to fit inside the counter bore, so I ground them down a tiny bit.

Yes, the screws are longer than necessary. They're just what I happened to have on hand.

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