Screw Jack Stands



 Got a project car?  Need to stabalize a body section while you cut and repair it?  Then, you might find a set of adjustable screw jack stands a good addition to your equipment.  Historically, more often than not, some blocks piled up, or a few sacraficial 1×1 tubing, or yet some other solution is often used.  While these screw jacks can not substitute in all situations, they are versitile, easily adjusted, stable, accept any adaptor you care to build, and are obviously very re-usable.  Due to the design of carriage type bolts, a 1 inch open end wrench can be use  to easily adjust he heigh of the stan to i our exact need.These are NOT intended to support a car while you rip out a rear end, transmission or what ever.  These are intended to support a section of the car while repairs are performed to ensure those panels remain in the correct position.  My current demand is to stabize the rocker/sill area of the Bonneville car while I cut out floor panel and structural members.
 Once again, this project has been completed entirely from recycled material, obtained from my favorite scrap yard.  More often than not, I’ll grab things as I come upon them, not always having a plan for them at the time.  Just knowing that I will make use of them somehow.  At the price of scrap, each of these stands costs a couple bucks and a little time.  As always, depending what you can find.  But, you can always adjust based on what material you have available and your particular needs.


I have started out by cutting 2 x 2 x 5/16 square tubing to length.  In this case, I’m using 3 1/2″ lengths.  Obviously, 1 required for each stand you want to build.  Adjust the length based on the height range you want to work in, based on the bolts you will be using.
Next, grab some 2 x 2 x 1/4″ material and cut 4 pieces for each stand to be used for the base legs.  Cut at a 45 degree angle.  These will be welded onto the corners of the base.  You can use something a little larger if you want a larger cross section.  Using the 2″ material will result in a 7″ diagonal base which is adequate for most applications.  Just as reference, I dropped all mine into a prosphoric acid bath to clean them up, and, proceeded to forget about them until I returned a couple days later.  The zinc phosphate had built up on the pieces, merging them into a solid mass.  Not really a big deal as a quick sulphuric acid bath cleaned them up again, and I simply repeated the process WITHOUT the forgetting part.


Next, position the base piece, and the legs in preparation for a tack weld.  The more effort you put into ensuring the bottoms are all true and even, the better your end result.  I have a piece of 1″ thick plate steel that I use for this type of thing.  As you can see, I’ve used a couple of magnetic angle clamps to position and secure the components.  Works like a charm.  Obviously, and minor deviation can be touched up with a grinder afterwords to level out a rocky bottom.  But, 1 minute spent in the correct set up, will save you 5 minutes with the grinder.
Once you have the legs positioned at a 45 degree angle on the corners, tack them, then remove and weld completely.
If you will be using these stands on anything less that a flat solid surface, you can optionally weld in  lengths of 1/8 X 3/4 inch band steel between the tips of the legs.  Or, a piece of flat plate to the bottom.


 I’ve used a 1″ NC nut which with a little tapping, fits quite nicely into the square tube base.  If it’s a tight fit, a little touch up with a grinder will make it fit in nicely.


Tap it down, but, do not flush it.  Leave it proud of the tubing by about the thickness of the tubing.  This leaves you a nice corner to lay your weld bead into resulting in a clean finish and a rounded corner.


Prior to welding, run a bolt into the nut.  Then, using a straight edge or a square, check each side to make certain the nut is positioned, so that the bolt sits square.  Leave the bolt in during the welding process to protect the threads of the nut.


 Didn’t know you would have to ‘build’ the screws eh.  Well, you do not.. But, you do make a minor change/addition.


We are going to make the screw heads accept various adaptors.  Using 1 X 6 inch carriage bolts, all that has to be done is make the head of the bolt receive them.


Clamp up the bolt in the vice, and clean off the head to make a reasonably flat surface.
Mark up the center of the head, and drill a 3/8 inch hole straight down into the head to slightly over 1 in. depth.
Here’s what you end up with.  Drop a 3/8 inch dia. cap screw into the hole, and you can either weld the bolt head onto what you are stabilizing, or, onto any adaptor you care to build.


In case you are tempted, you DO NOT want to thread these holes.  This allows the 3/8 bolt to remain stationary, while you raise or lower the jack.  When you are all done the project, lower the jack, and remove the bolt or adaptor from your work
Just because I felt like it, I zinc electroplated 4 of the stand bases, and metal blackened the other 4.  No particular reason at this point.  But, we will see how time treats these two finishes after surviving a few projects and some abuse.
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