I was browsing the Inventables store and found these cool Ply Products brackets that join plywood together at right angles. The PLY90 corner brackets simplify joinery by allowing you to attach two sheets of plywood together at a 90° angle without drilling or screwing into the plywood.
Tightening the screw in the PLY90 connector compresses the connector and it grips both sheets with lightly serrated jaws. The corner also has holes so you can mount the connector to the wall with 2-inch #8 or #10 screws.
The bracket can be used with plywood and other sheet materials from 0.450″ to 0.755″ thick. Ply Products recommends that, to get the best performance and most secure hold, you don’t mix material thicknesses with a single connector.
Ply Products is located in southern California and manufactures the brackets in the USA. They are extruded from a high strength aluminum alloy and then cut, drilled, and finished. The hardware is made from premium alloy steel.
The brackets ship with two different size screws: the 3/4″ screw works with 1/2″ materials, while the 1″ screw is used for 3/4″ materials. They mention that if you have a slightly thicker material, like Melamine, you can use a longer screw. This makes me wonder how thick of a material you can use before the brackets become ineffective.
Over on the Ply Products website, a four pack of the PLy90 connectors costs $30, or you can go whole hog and purchase a box of 96 to $720. You can also purchase a set of four for $30 at Inventables. At either site you can also purchase the 3/16″ hex driver needed to tighten the brackets.
Price: $30, pack of 4
Buy Now (via Ply Products)
Buy Now (via Inventables)
What would you use something like this for?
I can see where these connectors would be a really fast way to create a simple bench, desk, or other furniture without worrying about the joinery. They’d be handy for the average homeowner, armed with just a Skilsaw and a head full of ideas, or the experienced woodworker that just wants to knock something out in a half hour.
All you have to do is cut the sheet goods to size and assemble your creation with the PLY90 corners.
Also, if you’ve never browsed the Inventables site, they tout themselves as the “hardware store for designers.” Inventables is the company behind the Shapeoko, X-Carve, and Carvey CNC router machines, and they also sell all the individual parts you’d need to build your own custom machine, including stepper motors, aluminum extrusions, and other hardware. They also sell a wide variety of materials such as Corian, aluminum, Delrin, and more.
Those remind me of a product Knape & Vogt used to make called shelving corners: You’d butt 1/2″ thick boards together, push the corners down over the joints and nail them in place. Gave a square edge 90 degree joint. I can’t seem to find them on their site now.
I’m thinking these would be great for items you could assemble and break down. Imagine a desk, shelf, or table you could store as flat plywood and little box of brackets when not needed, that could be assembled In a fairly short time with one tool, and without drilling or nailing.
That’s exactly what I was thinking. Might grab some for our lab
Interesting – has a different look – not exactly heavy duty – but as you say it might have an appeal. The hardwood veneered plywood edges pictured – all are very crisp – likely cut with a high quality blade. The “armed with a skilsaw” person you talk about will likely be disappointed with the quality of cut using the blade that is typically supplied. No amount of sanding will help with the chipout from that sort of setup.
Yes, you are probably right about people being disappointed about the cuts they get with a skilsaw, but I don’t think that should or does stop people from trying. I’ve seen a lot of people proud of things they’ve made that I would hide in the basement under a blanket. I’m not dissing those people, it’s more a comment on what a perfectionist I am.
You could always get the sheet cut into the right sized pieces at Home Depot too, although I’m not sure the chip out would be any better.
The panel saws that they have at a Home Depot (maybe a Safety Speed Cut or similar) probably started out OK – but after years of cutting it is likely to be no better than a skilsaw and a straight edge.
In the shop – our sliding table saw had a small scoring blade – and my Tracksaw has Festool’s anti-splinter gizmo.
But as you say – maybe a skilsaw owner could get a decent cut by by doing one or more of the following:
Spend a few bucks on a decent blade
Tape the cut lines on both sides
Carefully score the cut lines with a utility knife and a straight edge.
Make light scoring cuts on each side before making the final pass through-cut
I like the idea for small things – light duty. like that shelf bit
but while they are at it they should make another version with a longer leg to it – with 2 holes to run screws through. do away with the clamp setup and bolt/nut. and have a HD version that uses 2+ screws through the panel for extra strength.
then you’d have options – and you could make something very sturdy with it.
I’m not sure a diy-type homeowner would get the best use out of these. As Fred mentioned, you’ll need a high end blade to get furniture-level cuts out of any sort of plywood at the home center. Someone just starting out may balk at $30 to make three joints, as opposed to something like a pocket hole jig.
On the other hand, as a woodworker, the look’s really not for me. Its a very particular style, which is probably going to appeal more to furniture designers and industrial-chic types.
Looks like a DIY project waiting to happen for the readers of Dwell magazine. Which of course is mostly oxymoronic.
Not anything I would ever use
The pricing on that makes me lose interest. $60 in hardware to make a square is just too pricy, even if it is a fancy square. If they sold the extrusion in bars that you could drill and countersink yourself, and supply your own hardware I’d probably grab some to play with.
Nice concept but expensive.
I agree with some other posts. For the cost of 2 projects, you could be on your way with a Kreg system or other pocket hole jig. These may be convenient, but would also lock you into a look. These might be ok for the “Ikea” types who are putting together “dorm room” furniture. I can’t otherwise see most people using them routinely. They’re as much about aesthetics as fastening convenience. Unless you’re into the look for a lot of things, I can’t imagine them in more than a handful of projects. That wouldn’t even address the cost, which is another topic entirely.
They’ve shown these at Maker Faire for a couple of years. They look incredibly useful for building modular furniture with an industrial style, but these things are super expensive.