Racking Up A Fair Clip

Forgive the title. At least it proves that, with sufficient effort, any two figures of speech can be nail-gunned together to form a meaningless headline…

Although I don’t print much or often, it’s nice to have somewhere to dry the results. Since Poppy was born a lot of stuff has migrated to the garage and eaten into my working space. I thought about installing an overhead drying rack. It should be easier to accommodate than one of those wire-mesh kinetic sculptures, and a lot less expensive. The online stores sell the usual variety (made of wood, wire and king-size marbles) for a crazy price: around £100 for something that might cost £15-20 to fabricate on a bad day.

Print rack close-upSo what about making my own? There were a few targets to consider. It would have to be quick to make. If I took a day building it, I might as well put in a day’s freelancing and earn enough for two shop-bought racks. It should be made from everyday materials and easy to duplicate anywhere.

An evening’s rummage on eBay later, I had bought half a gross of bulldog clips and 200 large wooden beads (folksy bracelets, for the making of). Add to that some heavyweight printer paper and a few yards of genuine NATO-grade nylon cord (!) from the army surplus store.

Bulldog clips will spot with rust over time and that could stain prints. So I designed a PDF template for a paper cover for the clip jaws: print, cut, fold and slot into place. Repeat 36 times per rack. Mail me or leave a comment if you want the template.

Printrack installedI used needle files to bore out the beads until the cord would fit. For this you need a small needle file and something really, really interesting on TV for the next few hours.

Then thread on three or four beads, a clip, some more beads, a clip… you get the idea. Be sure to tie a good hefty knot at each end of the cord when you’re done, or you’ll have little round things all over the floor, just where you can slip on them. It’s a good idea to tie the some intermediate knots in the cord so that if one end-knot works loose, the whole lot of beads and clips doesn’t cover your studio.

After that, hanging is the easy part. A heavy-duty hook screwed into rafters on either side of the garage, and it was ready to go up. It works a treat. The beads keep the clips a couple of inches apart, to keep printed sheets from touching and to give your fingers room to grab a single clip. If you hit the assembly, even really hard, everything just drops back into place. If a paper cover gets dirty, replace it. Simple! Two racks cost around £12-£15 and an evening watching crummy movies on satellite TV.

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