Flanges are very useful devices for connecting two items together and are easily made if they're not readily available at your local store. A flange connection is simply a pair of flat plates attached to the two items to be joined together. The plates can be screwed or clamped to each other, with a seal of some sort between them. Flanges are sometimes a better choice than screw-in fittings because they offer great mechanical strength and can be sealed very easily. Flanges may be round or square. Round flanges are the most common type, and may be connected by either bolts or clamps. Square flanges are easily made, and are an ideal means of connecting small tubes together because the screw-in fastenings sit nicely in each corner of the square well away from the round tube. You may use flat gaskets for Fig. 4-2 seals (like in a car engine) or can use O-rings, preferably sitting in matching grooves cut into each flange (you'll need a lathe to do this effectively). We show you how to make flanges in Chapter 7.
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