- Materials & Industrial Technology
Many Uses of Angle Iron
Table of Contents
- What is Angle Iron
- Source of Angle Iron's Strength
- Brackets from Scrap Angle
- Support Brackets Drilled and Tapped
- Brackets Mounted to Wood
- Shelves and Tables
- When you Don't Have a Miter Saw
- Notching and Coping Angle Iron
- Temporary Jigs
- As Part of Permanent Jigs or Fixtures
- Makeshift BBQ Support
- Angle Iron for your grill!
What is Angle Iron?
Angle iron is a very common form of structural steel. Two strips of steel meet at a 90 degree angle to form a " L" profile. This provides maximum strength with the least amount of weight. Being a stuctural material,angle iron is most commonly used for frameworks and to make joints at right angles. Also, angle iron is great for making home made tools, temporary and permanent jigs for metal work and construction, and as a straight edge in marking and cutting various materials.
Source of Angle Iron's Strength
Having two strips at a right angle does improve strength and prevent warping to a degree. Having two flat strips seam welded is not how to make angle however. This would create a seam vulnerable to catastrophic failure. Instead, angle iron is hot extruded through rollers and dies to create the characteristic " L" profile. For this reason, angle iron is usually only available in hot rolled steel alloy. Additionaly, the rollers produce a web between each of the legs of the angle iron. This web acts a support arc reinforcing the angle iron. This web becomes more prominent in thicker gauges of angle iron.
Brackets from Scrap Angle
Support brackets drilled and tapped
Bracket mounted to wood table leg
Shelves and Tables
In the workshop, angle iron is indespensible for building work tables and storage shelves. These types of structures can either be welded together, or joined by cold connection like screws and rivets.
Also, angle iron can be worked into support brackets for wood shelves, tables, and workbenches. This adds a lot of strength and is a good way to use scrap angle iron cut off pieces.
When you don't have a miter saw
If it is critical to generate right angle joints with angle iron and you don't have the capability to miter cut, you can notch and cope the two pieces. It takes much longer and there is more welding involved but it is surely doable.
Notching And Coping Angle Iron
Because of the consistency of manufacturing and automation, the outside surfaces of angle iron will always be at a 90 degree angle. Because of this, they can be used as temporary jigs for both metal and wood working projects. The work pieces can be clamped securely to ea h "leg" of the angle iron and then be welded or holes drilled to allow for fasteners. When the work is securely joined at the correct right angle, simply release the clamps and remove the piece of angle iron. I always keep short pieces of different sizes of angle iron for various scenarios in my shop.
As Part of Permanent Jigs or Fixtures
Because of the straightness and strength of angle iron, it also makes good permanent jigs and fixtures. From straight edge cutting guide jigs to jigs to holding round rod and tubing for cutting and drilling.
Makeshift BBQ Grill Support
I have an old grill than has the wire grids loose. If I want to slow cook something, you need to elevate it. In the phot below you can see how I used some spare angle iron to create a multi tiered grilling setup.