Metal tubes are a really useful and versatile fixing point, so being able to attach one to a shipping container opens up a lot of possibilities. In this blog we will provide an overview of how to attach steel tube and scaffolding to a shipping container, focussing on our tube clamp solutions in more detail; what types and size tube they can help you attach, in what orientation, and for what purpose.
What products can I use to attach scaffolding and other metal tube to a shipping container?
There are three main ways to attach steel tube to a solid structural surface:
While saddle clamps are in some ways the simplest and cheapest, they have two major downsides in attaching a tube to a container; firstly they have a fixed spacing between the holes, and so finding ones to line up with the threads of the Domino Clamps is next to impossible. Secondly, they would hold the tube much too close to the container, meaning that to then attach something to the tube would be difficult.
In our first scaffold video we showed you how you can use a countersunk M12 screw to attach a half scaffold coupler directly to the Domino Clamp. This has one major advantage in that you can position the tube at any angle. Half couplers are also relatively cheap, but using them in this way is a little unorthodox, and so for that reason it is not a solution that we actively encourage by selling the fittings to do this.
Tube clamps, also sometimes called key clamps or kee clamps, are, we think, the best solution out there in most cases for attaching pipe or tubing to a container. They are very strong, simple to use, and can be used in multiple orientations. We have a number of options which bolt directly to a Domino Clamp, in various orientations, and for three different sized tubes or pipes.
What size tube clamps can be bolted to Domino Clamps?
As explained in a previous blog detailing how to attach a scaffold tube to a shipping container, we have used Interclamp’s 48mm, 42mm, and 34mm horizontal (parallel) tube clamp (also known as palm railing fittings) to easily attach these common sizes of steel tube vertically to a shipping container. Note that only the fittings for attaching tubes vertically are available in all three sizes. Tube clamps for both horizontal orientations are available in 48mm only.
*Please note that some manufactures and retailers may quote these numbers slightly differently, give or take 0.2mm, so rest assured if you see tube clamps marked as 33.9mm, they are for the same tube as another company’s 33.7mm.
In which orientations can I attach steel tube to a shipping container?
There are four main orientations that you can fix the tube to your shipping container:
1. Vertically from a single corner casting.
Using a vertical tube clamp (also known as single unbored or undrilled palm railing tube clamp), you can attach a short tube vertically up the side of, or above the container. As used in our signpost example and our half height floodlight kit.
2. Vertically from two corner castings.
Using a vertical tube clamp set (also known as pair of palm railing tube clamps, one bored and one unbored), you can attach a long tube vertically up the side of, and above the container which will extend almost 4mts over the roof of your container. This uses two Domino Clamps for extra strength, and is great for getting floodlights and flags really high up. As used in our full height, wide area floodlight kit.
3. Horizontally, parallel to the container side
Using a single horizontal (parallel) tube clamp (also known as a palm railing tube clamp), you can attach a steel tube along the side of a container, top or bottom, along either the short or the long side of your container. Please note this is currently only available in a 48mm option.
4. Horizontally, perpendicular to the container’s side
Using a horizontal (perpendicular) tube clamp (also called base flange tube clamp), you can attach a short tube horizontally sticking out from the side of the container. As used in our horizontal tube video and jokingly used as a chin up bar. Please note this is only available in a 48mm option.
What can I attach to a shipping container with Domino Clamps using tube clamps?
Our customers use steel tube as a fixing point for a wide range of things. Floodlights, CCTV and wireless communications senders and receivers all benefit from being high up, and so are well suited being held in place using our vertical tube clamp set (also known as tube clamp set for vertical tube) which comprises of two tube clamps, with one of them bored through.
Lightweight attachments such as smaller CCTV cameras and smaller LED lighting make good use of a single vertical tube clamp on the top corner casting.
Horizontal tube clamps can be used for attaching signs, lighting and vertical banners, using our horizontal (perpendicular) tube clamp which holds the tube to the side of the container (sticking out!)
Finally, banners, temporary cladding, lighting and cabling can be safely fixed along the top or bottom edges of a container using our horizontal (parallel) tube clamps which attach a tube parallel to the sides of the container.
All our tube clamps come complete with M12 hex head screws and M12 washers for fixing the tube clamps to the Domino Clamps.
What is the difference between a bored tube clamp and an unbored tube clamp?