Bessey 2400 Series Welding Clamps
When toughness and dependability matter
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 9-30-2010
The 2400 Series Clamps are classified as “regular duty” by Bessey for the factory environment but in my little piece of the hobbyist world they are heavy duty in a big way. But that’s OK because I love tools that are not working at their maximum capacity. That translates into a longer life and reduces my cost-per-use to a level that quickly reaches the insignificant level. Not to mention these clamps are made in Germany, in the Bessey facilities!
Like all of their clamps the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps are made from Bessey's own Precision Steel using top shelf manufacturing techniques, many of which Bessey devised in-house. Built around a cold-drawn 1-1/4” wide steel bar with its ½”-thick I-beam-like top and bottom rails the chances of the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps flexing run from improbable to ain’t going to happen. They even use a special heat treating routine that makes the bars harder on the outside and a bit softer on the inside. That lets the clamp flex slightly and act like a high-pressure spring, an effect that produces superior clamping.
The massive moveable jaw has a U-shaped cross section that makes it very rigid to insure consistent, direct application of clamping pressure. The boss that rides on the bar is more robust than many to withstand the tremendous forces that this clamp can generate. The interaction between this arm and the bar is virtually instant when the pressure handle is turned. Though I did apply lots of force more than once, the moveable jaw never slipped.
The Bessey 2400 Series Clamps are available with throat depths of 5-1/2” in lengths from 8” to 60 and 8”throat-depths models with 12” and 24” capacities. The 5-1/2” throat models generate up to 2800-lbs of clamping force while the deep throat versions can apply 1770-lbs of force!
The remarkable clamping power is generated by turning the screw, formed with high-quality Acme threads that are rolled rather than cut. This thread design is popular in clamping because it generates large amounts of power without large amounts of effort. The shaft is also specially heat treated for strength and to help resist wear. The relatively coarse design of the Acme thread and a special surface hardening process helps it to resist welding spatter and other contamination that could compromise performance in the future.
The large T-style handle used to turn the shaft has a comfortable plastic cover (a Bessey Grip) over a tough steel bar. The handle can be slid to either side of the shaft to make applying pressure easier even in confined spaces. This handle is sized to be easily operated with welding or other protective gloves.
Another Bessey innovation is the MorPad at the end of the pressure shaft. The MorPad is designed to apply pressure more evenly on not-so-flat surfaces. The heat resistant 1-1/2”-diameter clamping surface can be tilted to 35-degrees in any direction. Much of this ball-mounted assembly is made from sintered metal, a special material that provides basic lubrication to keep the clamping disk surface moving freely on the ball and its surface free of spatter.
The design of the Bessey MorPad and the high-end materials help it to maintain full clamping pressure even after repeated use. Many other swivel-mounted pad systems can lose substantial amounts of clamping force with surprisingly little use due to deformation within that swivel assembly.
In the Shop
Using the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps is easy in large part because of the quality of the design and manufacturing. Moving the sliding jaw into position is very quick and it locks in place as soon as you begin applying pressure. The fact that the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps can generate 2800-lbs of pressure without spreading demonstrates the strength of the materials and how these clamps are manufactured. I tried cranking one of my Bessey 2400 Series Clamps down well beyond any reasonable amount of pressure I could foresee needing in the real world and could not find any evidence of spreading or distortion of the clamp.
The MorPad is essentially automatic and conforms to mildly uneven surfaces very well. Even when applying lots of pressure to surfaces that are not quite parallel, the MorPad sits flat and resists marking the surface. The sintered metal used to make the MorPad also helps it resist spatter buildup.
I used the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps mostly for welding jobs and found that the Acme thread does resist welding spatter very well. I occasionally would find beads of spatter on the threads but it brushed right off and never effected how easily that shaft turned. I did use the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps in a couple wood applications and they work just fine there as well.
The Bessey 2400 Series Clamps are very well made, extremely tough and are capable of generating lots of pressure when you need it. With a street price of $99.99 (9-30-2010) for the 12” model the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps are cheaper than I expected. The quality of their construction and design mean that short of torching them apart you should be able to use them forever. I appreciate tools that I can buy once and never have to worry about again. I also like being able to depend on a tool to maintain its performance over the long run and the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps certainly appear capable of that.
If you need tough, powerful clamps that can be depended upon, check out the Bessey 2400 Series Clamps. The jobs you have that need this level of clamp deserve the best.
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