This page describes a protocol for testing the mechanical strength of pipes and rods used for constructing open source hardware.

Safety Training Requirements[edit | edit source]

Safety Issues With Method[edit | edit source]

  • This testing experiment requires the use of weight plates ranging from 2.5 - 45lbs and 115 lb max dumbbells to secure the vise and apparatus down.
  • Do not go above the amount of weights comfortable supporting up by the person conducting the testing when adding it onto the apparatus. If the material breaks unexpectedly or it slips out of the vise, the person can still be able to safely catch the weights.
  • Ensure the testing environment allows heavy weights to fall without damaging its surroundings or hurting people.

Personal protective equipment[edit | edit source]

  1. Safety glasses – always required

MATERIALS LIST[edit | edit source]

  • Pipes or rods to be tested.
  • Multi-Purpose Vise (includes a stepped pipe jaws for circular objects and a 360 degrees rotating head)
    • (Multi-Purpose Vise - Lee Valley Tools, n.d.){'need url'}
  • Philip Screwdriver
  • Six #6 Wood Screw 3/4" long
  • Four M8 40mm bolts with four M8 nuts
    • Jackson Palmer 2,050 Piece Hardware Assortment Kit with Screws, Nuts, Bolts & Washers (3 Trays), Hex Bolts—Amazon Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2022, from
  • Tube Cutter
  • 3D Printed Top Adapters can be acquired from {OSF link}
    • 1/2" PVC
    • 3/4" PVC
    • 1" PVC
    • 3/4" Wood Dowel
    • 7/8" Wood Dowel
    • 1" Wood Dowel
    • 1-1/8" Wood Dowel
    • Top Testing Base
    • Top Testing Base to Rod Adapter
    • Angled Top Adapter
  • Top Testing Rod (any material to place through the center hole of weight plates to keep them in place)
  • General ULTRATECH Digital Caliper
    • Accuracy 0.001-in (+/- 0.02mm)
    • (GENERAL Digital Caliper 146 | RONA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2022, from
  • Stanley Tylon Measuring Tape
    • STANLEY Tylon 8m/26 ft. Tape Measure | The Home Depot Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2022, from
  • Lulzbot Workhorse 3D Printer
  • m3D Performance PET-G
  • Greenscreen
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Electric Drill + Drill Bits

Operation & Procedure[edit | edit source]

  • The testing is conducted at Western Student Recreation Centre, London, Ontario, Canada, enclosed by a squat rack in the weight room. The squat rack provides an additional safety barrier between the person and the testing apparatus in case the material fails and weights topple over. The weight room ground is lined with rubber gym mats intended to support the impact of weights dropped on them.

Getting Permission to Test and Film at Western Student Recreation Centre

  • Email Chad Van Dyk at prior to testings
  • Include in the email
    • what experiment you plan on doing within the gym
    • what equipment will be used
    • where in the gym this will be occurring
    • how long will testing be
    • what research is this for
    • who is your supervisor

Chad seems to be an understanding guy and the gym staff were welcoming about the testing if they were aware of it. Some front desk staff may not be aware of what you're doing and stop you, but just show them you got email permission and explain to them what you are up to, it should be fine.


  1. Prior to any physical testing, testing materials were obtained from the materials list above.
  2. Testing apparatus was designed on OnShape, a CAD online software, and file download as an STL to then be opened on CURA LulzBots Slicer to prepare the 3D printing file. To access all apparatus CAD files: [insert files or link here]
  3. All 3D printed parted were printed using a Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse.
  4. The testing materials were cut to the longest testing length.
  5. Pre drilled screw holes were done on the wooden dowel/PVC pipe using an electrical drill and a drill bit a little smaller in diameter than the diameter of the screws to be used. The adapter was first attached to the material to use the existing screw holes as drilling reference.
  6. After each test run, the material was cut down to the next largest testing length and step 5 was repeated.


  1. A 1 inch thick by 4 inch wide wooden plank was cut into two pieces of length of 30 inches using a compound miter saw. 30 inches was determined to be a length that allowed weight plates or dumbbells to be comfortably placed on top to hold it down.
  2. The vise was placed in the middle of the planks and the bolt holes on the vise were traced onto the wood.
  3. Holes were drilled through the planks to fit M8 40mm bolts through and secured by M8 nuts at the back.
  4. To ensure the planks sat flat on the ground, the holes at the back were drilled with a drill bit size a little larger than the nut for it to sit inside of the plank when tightened.


  1. Testing was conducted with a minimum of 2 people present, one responsible for adding/removing of weights on the apparatus and the other for supervisor/filming the tests. Additional help may be needed to transport materials to testing location. If location is at a gym, ensure permission is given to use gym weights and film prior to testing.
  2. Hooks were clipped onto a greenscreen and placed overtop of a squat rack as a backdrop for the testing and to ensure no people captured in the background of the photos.
  3. Camera tripod was set up 3-5 feet away from testing apparatus and was not moved for each of the tests to get an accurate progression of the bending in materials through video recording in which screenshots at a specific moment can be obtained.
  4. Apparatus was placed in the middle of the squat rack for straight tests and were off to one side for angled tests. This ensures the material to still be in frame.
  5. Two 110lb dumbbells were placed on either side of the planks and 60ln kettle weights balanced on top.
  6. For each material at each testing length, one trial was conducted. The data/results were recorded on Microsoft Excel, including the amount of weights it took to bend the material unreasonably (or to an unsafe degree for supporting body weight) and the amount of weights it took to material failure (or to a point where it was deemed unsafe for the people conducting the tests).
  7. Once all tests were completed for the day, all the weights were put back in its designed weight spot and all testing material/apparatus were brought out of the gym.

** Caution: over extended usage and high loading on the vise, the performance of the locking mechanism will decrease and materials will begin to slip in the jaws.

References[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords safety, laboratory, fast methods
Authors Anita So
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Organizations Free Appropriate Sustainable Technology, Western University
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 0 pages link here
Impact 186 page views
Created July 12, 2022 by Anita So
Modified February 28, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
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