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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Briquette Making - Clamp and Stand

These two items from the list of the briquette making components essentially form the "machine" that will allow the briquetting compression to happen. The rest of the components are merely accessories that will facilitate the briquette-making process.

Although the clamp is easily available in most hardware stores, the clamp stand needs to be fabricated (more on this later) and customized for the clamp. Shown below is the clamp mounted on the stand.


The C-Clamps available in hardware stores are made of metal. Choose the clamp that has a straight spine. This is because you will be mounting the clamp on its back. There are some C-clamps with backs that are curved and rounder (hence the name "C-Clamp). A clamp with a straight back will be lay flat and be more stable on the stand. A clamp with a rounder back would tend to rock.

Shown below is the C-clamp on the left.

Although I chose a C-Clamp which is 10 inches, you could use any size clamp that is long enough to fit the mold casing you will be using. There are many longer clamps but I chose the 10-inch one primarily for price consideration. The bigger, longer clamps are heavier and more expensive.

Check for a clamp that has good solid threading and a spindle assembly that isn't wobbly. A spindle assembly that has too much slack or wobbles would misalign and put the mold casing out of place. This would make it difficult to efficiently compress the briquette inside the mold.

C-Clamp Stand

I built a c-clamp stand so the c-clamp can be used with it lying on its back. The stand I built is made of scrap wood. There are 5 wood blocks:

  1. 2 wood blocks to hold the clamp firmly at the front
  2. 2 wood blocks to hold the clamp firmly at the back
  3. 1 wood block at the back that acts as a stopper to prevent the clamp from falling out of the stand.

Obviously, the positioning of the 4 parallel wooden blocks should follow the thickness of the c-clamp's body. They should be positioned so they're able to hold the c-clamp tight enough.

And then there's a wooden board that forms the base of the stand. This is where all the wood blocks are nailed.

I also nailed to the wooden base a piece of metal sheet. This metal band wraps on to the mold casing and will keep it in place as the briquette inside is compressed. It will also prevent the mold from misaligning with the spindle of the c-clamp.

Here's the c-clamp mounted on the stand as seen from the side.

Lastly, the wooden clamp stand needs to be painted for it to last long. During the briquette-making process, water is continually expelled from the mold casing. This will fall and settle on the base of the stand so a good coat heavy-duty paint should protect the wood.