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Barrel Nuts for Your Makerspace

In this blog, Orwa will be taking the GI-pipe barrel nuts to the next level by explaining how they can be made in bulk in your local makerspace, or in any public workshop around you.

This attempt comes with a number of improvements over the old barrel nuts, namely:

  1. The nuts now come pre-made with all the features in place. Only installation is required which makes building rigid wooden structures a very rapid process

  2. The nuts now have a Nylon insert which acts as a thread lock (this is an optional feature which can be omitted to accelerate the build. In my case I thought it would be nice to have)

  3. The nuts now have two side holes. These two holes are receptive of a 3mm pin which prevents the barrel nut from rotating when embedded in the wooden post (this is also an optional feature which can be omitted to accelerate the build. In my case I thought it would be nice to have)

The content of this blog has taken a bit of time to prepare. I wish that you will enjoy going through it as much as I enjoyed making it, and that it would inspire you to improve these barrel nuts.

My motivation behind this blog is to help anyone create stable wooden structures really cheaply. It is also my belief that aside from the time invested in making these barrel nuts, the supplies needed to make them are very cheap.

Bellow is a list of the materials, tools, machines, etc., needed both for makingand for installing the barrel nuts.


  1. A schedule-40, 1/2'' GI pipe

  2. Countersink M12 bolts (90mm in length or more)

  3. OPTIONAL: A 3/8 Nylon hose for the thread-locking feature

  4. OPTIONAL: 3mm stainless steel pins (around 30-60mm in length) for the anti-rotation feature.


  1. One of the following:

  2. A chop saw

  3. A metal band saw (preferred)

  4. A metal bench grinder

  5. A mill with a digital display, a tapping function, and the following attachments:

  6. A vertical rotary table/vise

  7. A rotary chuck that fits on the rotary table/vise, for holding the workpiece

  8. A drill chuck for holding drill bits

  9. A spring-collet chuck for holding the power tap

  10. OPTIONAL: A tumbler, either bought or DIY


  1. A center drill bit

  2. A steel-cutting countersink bit

  3. An M12 power tap

  4. One of the following (for holding the power tap on the mill):

  5. An 8-9mm spring collet

  6. A 1/2'' rigid-tapping collet (preferred)

  7. A deburring tool.

  8. A steel-cutting 10-10.5mm drill bit

  9. A 12mm wood drill bit (for installing)

  10. A 3mm wood drill bit (for installing)

  11. A 22mm auger drill bit (for installing)


Before starting this build, ensure that your local makerspace is okay with you reserving the mill for a number of days for the purpose of fabricating these nuts. Also make sure that all the vises, tools, tool holders, taps and drill bits are available before starting the build in order not to have to reserve the mill for an extended duration of time unnecessarily. In my case, the mill was reserved for nearly a month because we didn't have an 8-9mm spring collet in the shop (we only had 7-8 and 9-10), which was not ideal.

Hence, please be considerate to your local maker community and plan your build ahead of time. Even better, talk to your local makerspace and explain to them the value of these nuts. Make them believe in the cause of your build and try to leverage that to go through it with as little uneasiness as possible. I wish you the best of luck!

Check out Orwa's complete instructable at

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