Corner braces (angle brackets)

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Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby carefactornil » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:34 am

Hi,

As you may know from other posts, I'm looking at building a HUGE wooden maze for 2012.

I'm looking at using a lot of corner braces or angle brackets. Maybe something like 2,500 of them, probably 3" (75mm) ones.

I'm used to everything being a lot cheaper in the USA (I live in London, UK) but I'm wondering if these products are somehow cheaper on our side of the pond?

I've found these on ebay.co.uk:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 0510574385
That works out as about $20 for 50 of them at today's rates, or $0.40 each.

But all the ones I can see on HomeDepot and even ebay.com work out a LOT more expensive. Am I missing something here? Or do we just have a better price in the UK?

Even these wider bad boys
http://www.screwfix.com/p/heavy-duty-an ... 60mm/46643
are only $0.46 each.

If anyone knows if these UK products are different (not as strong, etc) then please share. Ditto, if there's somewhere better I should be looking as a US source.

Cos that's a LOT of hand luggage with 2,500 of them!

By the way, the individual strength of each brace isn't quite so key, I think - as we're talking about one big structure with literally hundreds of them giving the rest of it support.
But I'm planning on a smaller test build in the UK soon to see how that works out in terms of strength.

Cheers,
Cheese Simon
London, UK
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby carefactornil » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:38 am

Not sure my ebay link worked, try this one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10-X-3-75MM-Z ... 2eb729f39b
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:17 am

I'd suggest looking at the Simpson catalog for alternative connectors, then checking prices at Home Depot or other construction suppliers. Most inexpensive and versatile might be coiled strapping you can cut to length and bend yourself, ie Simpson CS16.

Based on cheaper internet pricing,
CS16 coiled strap -- about $120 for 150 ft, so $0.40 for six-inch cuts, or $0.27 for four-inch cuts.
CS22 coiled strap -- about $140 for 300 ft, so $0.23 for six-inch cuts, or $0.16 for four-inch cuts.

Individual connectors that might be appropriate:
A34 framing clips -- $29 per hundred
A35 framing clips -- $32 per hundred
H2.5 hurricane ties -- $30 per hundred
LTP4 lateral tie plates -- $64 per two hundred

I've seen the CS22 or similar strap used to connect the 2x4 lumber struts for a large geodesic dome (see here, 2004).
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby remi » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:31 am

Awesome idea! Sorry I don't have any information to help you, but I'm really looking forward to getting lost in your maze!
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:52 am

ps -- If you use standard Simpson connectors rather than crappy pot metal brackets, you can probably salvage them and donate the lot to DPW during cleanup. (Unless you're burning it.) Bring enough 5-gallon buckets to contain them.
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby Bob » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:46 am

pps -- I'm sure suppliers in the Reno/Sparks area could put bulk orders together for you for pickup. Might want to contact the Burning Man DPW and ask who they use as local vendors, the org likes to see money spent in Washoe County. When you develop contacts in the art department, they could also hook you up.
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby carefactornil » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:20 am

Thanks again, Bob.

I do plan to donate/recycle everything rather than burn.

Having limited time in the USA I'm really hoping to have simple connectors. I won't be using nails as it's going to make the taking apart a bitch, so the plan is for angle brackets and screws. Essestially the "frame" of the maze is a linked set of 8' cubes. I'll be posting diagrams on here soon so people have a better idea about what I'm trying to do.

But at the moment it's a trade off between simplicity, strength and screws against costs. Considering how many (maybe 2500) joins I'm doing I'm hoping there's a simple, easy to do solution as we've got plenty of work ahead on site without trying to shape all the metal!

Cheers,
Cheese Simon
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby Drawingablank » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:03 am

carefactornil wrote:I've found these on ebay.co.uk:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 0510574385
That works out as about $20 for 50 of them at today's rates, or $0.40 each.

Even these wider bad boys
http://www.screwfix.com/p/heavy-duty-an ... 60mm/46643
are only $0.46 each.

If anyone knows if these UK products are different (not as strong, etc) then please share. Ditto, if there's somewhere better I should be looking as a US source.

Cos that's a LOT of hand luggage with 2,500 of them!

By the way, the individual strength of each brace isn't quite so key, I think - as we're talking about one big structure with literally hundreds of them giving the rest of it support.
But I'm planning on a smaller test build in the UK soon to see how that works out in terms of strength.


The brackets in your links appear to be very thin and flimsy. Even the heavy duty ones in the second llink are only 2.5 mm. thick which is extremely thin. Most similar brackets sold in the US are thicker (4 - 6 mm.), and even then I'd be very concerned as this bracket style has minimal resistance to bending at the corner. These are commonly used as a mending plate: i.e. - as a half assed fix for something that is difficult to access for a proper repair.

I would highly recommend looking at parts designed for framing homes as suggested above.
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby EspressoDude » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:08 am

the first brackets listed ARE wimpy weak for framing crates and such. The second ones are strong. 2.5 mm is basically 1/10 inch thick. Most of these and Simpson type connectors are used in the U.S. to create a stronger joint that would usually be just nailed in housing frame construction, but because of seismic and other building code changes are now generally required.

Buy in the U.S. so you don't have to ship 500 pounds of hardware from U.K.

As your design progresses find what you need in the Simpson catalog and get some sent to you if they don't have them in U.K. Do a trial build. Get your buddies to all stand on top and dance around..see what fails and redesign. People WILL be all over whatever you build.

Plan on using screws with hex heads so they can be re-used. not phillips which strip out quickly and the bits wear out fast: then you can't take it apart.

get a magnet rake for clean up.

Order all your material from one vendor in Reno/ Sparks and get a buddy to babysit your order so you don't show up and find only 1/2 is there.....
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby illy dilly » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:32 am

Drawingablank wrote:The brackets in your links appear to be very thin and flimsy. Even the heavy duty ones in the second llink are only 2.5 mm. thick which is extremely thin. Most similar brackets sold in the US are thicker (4 - 6 mm.), and even then I'd be very concerned as this bracket style has minimal resistance to bending at the corner. These are commonly used as a mending plate: i.e. - as a half assed fix for something that is difficult to access for a proper repair.

I would highly recommend looking at parts designed for framing homes as suggested above.

I sorta agree that the angles are flimsy. But, once you put enough of them per joining edge it will beef it up. Like lets say 3 for every 8' piece of ply wood. I'd imagine using flimsy-er cheaper angles for making the turns and things, and stronger corner straps for joining the floor to the walls, and walls to the ceiling.

He is also talking about making them all cubes, which will totally help with strength and resistance to bending.
I guess I'm making some assumptions here that it all be plywood. 8x4 for the floor, with the 4' side being the width and the 8' being the length. There would be 2 pieces of 8x4 for the walls per side, obviously 8' tall side by side, and then another piece on top for the ceiling. So, 6 pieces per 8' stretch.
I would imagine that there would be 1x1 at the top of the walls, for screwing the ceiling onto. Sorta like a shelf. Also some 2x4s, for strengthening the walls, at an angle from bottom left corner to top right corner. Just like the stringers at the out side edges of any wood framed structure.

Any way, there is no reason to buy in the UK.... or from Home Depot or Lowes at the quantity you're talking about. I'd get ahold of Simpson distributor around Reno, and have them get you a quote.
Depending on the distributor they may want you to set up an account. This is why Bob's idea of contacting DPW is amazing!!! They probably have accounts with different suppliers, might even have a tax ID so you can get it all wholesale. Maybe even get it through their Non-prof tax exemption.
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby Bob » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:48 am

EspressoDude wrote:...Plan on using screws with hex heads so they can be re-used. not phillips which strip out quickly and the bits wear out fast: then you can't take it apart...


Agree w/ the rest, but Chinese-made hex heads strip out as easily as Chinese-made Phillips heads, in my experience. Total cheese. Screws made just about anywhere else are preferable.

In lieu of brackets, could use short lengths of 2"x2" lumber top & bottom in the corners w/ 1-5/8" black drywall screws to join the ply to the 2x2s. Use either a drywall gun or an impact driver to shoot the screws.

Dilly, we're also talking about prototyping in the UK. I'm sure structural brackets and the metric equivalent of "lumber" are available across the pond.

And in no way am I suggesting asking for discounts via DPW, just a list of vendors.
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby illy dilly » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:15 am

Bob wrote:
EspressoDude wrote:...Plan on using screws with hex heads so they can be re-used. not phillips which strip out quickly and the bits wear out fast: then you can't take it apart...

Dilly, we're also talking about prototyping in the UK. I'm sure structural brackets and the metric equivalent of "lumber" are available across the pond.

And in no way am I suggesting asking for discounts via DPW, just a list of vendors.

I've never even thought about lumber sizes in metric? Whoow!!!
Shit, now I have to know!!!
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Re: Corner braces (angle brackets)

Postby EspressoDude » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:02 pm

metric lumber....that's a lot of the reason raw logs are exported from the Pacific Northwet. Asian buyers wanted metric dimension lumber and local mills would only cut inch dimension stuff. (A few years back)..now there is no mills, no trees, and no jobs.. Still see shiploads of logs leaving the Columbia River
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