Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Outdoor Thermometer Bracket

Pictured below is an old thermometer that has no mounting bracket. I'd like to install the thermometer outside my workshop's window, so I'll have to fabricate a bracket. That 1/2" wide strip of 0.060" thick aluminum pictured with the thermometer should do nicely.

Metal bending is an art and a science that I'm by no means a master of, or properly equipped for. In the interest of guaranteeing a good outcome, I'll start by making a hardwood rectangle of the correct length to serve as a rudimentary form around which to make the two bends I'll need.

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And here it is set up for bending.

This way, I'll have the surface of the workbench to act as a reference to help me keep the bends straight and true.

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And here it is with the bends made.

I used another block of wood as a 'punch', and coaxed each bend around little by little. That's as far as a bend will go around a ninety-degree corner. I'll still have to tweak the bends a bit after the work is off the form.

Next up will be to trim the bent ends to length, and spot and drill the holes for the thermometer's mounting studs.

(My way of going about this may seem a bit odd to you, but there's a reason for it. I'm much more comfortable with this approach than I would be making the bends after having established bracket arm length and hole locations. The possibility of an error creeping into bends referenced to pre-existing bracket arm end points is greater than I care to risk. While this approach is a bit clumsy in some ways, it's much more likely to turn out well.)

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And here's the finished item ready to install.

That turned out well -- perfectly symmetrical. It's a good example of how one can take measures to ensure a good outcome by thinking through an entire job beforehand, and finding ways to eliminate potential sources of error.


Addendum -- Waste Not Want Not

I hadn't planned it this way, but once I'd cut the bracket's arms to length, I was left with two small pieces of material; just enough for me to make two little sub-brackets for the mounting location I had in mind. Here's the thermometer installed.

Serendipity is welcome here anytime.

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