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I'd like a tool like a really large "helping hands", which is a soldering assistance tool with a couple of alligator clamps and lockable telescoping arms. I'd like several objects like that made of sturdier components, that can stay steady against around 15lbs-30lbs of force, and which I can use to mount things like my laptop, my phone, my keyboards, or misc other things. My primary use is moveable desk components, though.

What would yall suggest frankensteining together to build such a thing? My current thinking, which I'd like to improve on:

  • I could use a monitor arm,
  • attached to pieces of heavy furniture,
  • then instead of mounting a monitor, mount a 5x5x2 piece of wood,
  • and attach a clamp of some sort to the other side of that?

I found a build of something similar, but it's not as heavy duty as I'd like, since my target is for it to be pretty solid against my laptop + force from my hands: https://makezine.com/projects/heavy-duty-helping-hands/ - it's based on a household bendy light thing.

Here's the insufficient one for comparison: insufficient helping hands idea

another thing I could use might be a monitor arm, but I suspect that would be overkill in some ways and insufficient in others. example pic for comparison, this one is several hundred dollars - which might just be what my desired level of capability costs in raw hardware, I'm not sure yet: enter image description here

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    Please upload the image which does not show on the link provided.
    – r13
    Jul 6 at 19:02
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    The big deal with such a device will be the size or weight of the base. Think about how heavy the base for a standard helping hands that is made to handle a PC board usually a few ounces and the base is quite large and heavy. I haven’t seen a store bought version but have used clue clamps and pipe to hold pieces almost exactly the same as helping hands on steroids but I had tacked the pipe to my steel work bench and when done I cut the weld but not every one has a 1000 lb welding table. C clamps to a wooden table may work.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 6 at 19:17
  • Added images as requested by @r13. If I did it wrong feel free to let me know or edit! I want to make sure to stay within the rules so this doesn't get deleted, as figuring this out would make a significant difference to my life.
    – lahwran
    Jul 6 at 19:24
  • Sounds like you want an obscenely strong "gooseneck arm" but any I've found can do like 2 pounds maximum. You should evaluate whether you realistically need to attach a laptop to one of these arms...
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 6 at 19:25
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    1/2” pipe is quite strong I have some metal blocks with holes drilled through And a 1/4-20 bolt that is the set screw in each block at each of the 2 pipes per block. My clamps are held to the pipe with a bolt that was drilled through the pipe washers allow the clamp to be moved but tightened the screw and this setup with multiple clamps could hold 50+ lbs . But as I mentioned the base may need to be many times the size of whatever is being held in place my first attempt I welded C clamps directly to the pipe but needed more flexibility.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 6 at 19:57
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Staging poles/staging clamps come to mind. Look at theatrical/lighting suppliers.

"theatre staging clamps" gets you the clamps in most search engines. the clamps allow two poles to be rotated and slid with respect to each other, then locked in place. Freestanding light poles with bases either heavy, or to be screwed to the floor, can be had. You can also build entire 3-D structures with poles and staging clamps.

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  • Oh awesome! Seems that things already come in parts there. That's great, thank you!
    – lahwran
    Jul 6 at 20:33
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I'll add a rectangular steel tube, with a hole in the middle to allow the flexible rods to get through, to handle heavier stuff. It can be connected to the main (vertical) support post through coupling or weld. This is just a rough idea, you need to develop and design the real thing though.

enter image description here

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How about Chemistry stands?

https://www.banggood.com/60cm-Laboratory-Stands-Support-Lab-Clamp-Flask-Condenser-Stand-Cilp-Ring-Stand-Set-p-1108746.html enter image description here Or build the same sort of thing out of scaffold poles?

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  • Your link produces a "404 - Not Found" message. This is precisely why link-only answers are discouraged.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jul 6 at 20:27
  • yeash, I messed up editing th url
    – Jasen
    Jul 6 at 20:29
  • This looks interesting! it doesn't look like it would quite handle the weight I had in mind as is, but a central pole base like this seems like it has a shot at being useful for some of the things I'd want this for. Thanks!
    – lahwran
    Jul 6 at 20:31

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