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Smallest clamp possible?

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salilsurnedran

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#1
What would be the smallest clamp that I would be able to buy and from where? I have a place about 5 mm in size where I have to place and hold a spring on a thin metal strip. The jaws don't have to be very wide but the clamp has to be small. Could anyone provide me with the name of the product I should search for? Nano or micro clips turn things that are too big
 

DHarris

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#2
how much clamping force do you need? (does the spring need to be compressed or just located to a position)
how long does it have to hold?

If light pressure & temporary (like for soldering / brazing) - could you just use something as simple as a bent up paper clip??
 

francist

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#3
I have a dozen or so of these and while they are not the strongest in the world they can get some decent force applied. Solid brass, beam sizes are 4mm and 5mm respectively based on clamping range. Throat depth is the the most significant limitation I've found, but again for small and delicate I've certainly used them a lot.

-frank


image.png

Edit: Oops, spoke too soon. The beam size is indeed within your range, but the clamping jaws slide over the beam so they're bigger. Just over 1/4" square, so a bit too large for your application. Sorry for the false hope.

-frank
 
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hman

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#4
I'm not sure exactly what your size limitations are, or how tight a hold you need ... but if I have something small to clamp, I'll often use binder clips:
https://www.amazon.com/Clipco-Binde...7298&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=binder+clips&psc=1

Or else, you might be able to use an alligator clip (also available at Radio Shack or electronics stores):
https://www.amazon.com/SE-Alligator...id=1499667518&sr=1-44&keywords=alligator+clip

Even smaller ... mini hooks
https://www.amazon.com/Specam-Singl...99667708&sr=1-2&keywords=mini+hook+test+leads

https://www.amazon.com/Dealglad-10p...=1499667802&sr=1-9&keywords=mini+grabber+hook

https://www.amazon.com/12pcs-Multim...=1499667802&sr=1-6&keywords=mini+grabber+hook
 

rrjohnso2000

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#5
Super Glue or epoxy often serves me well in certain clamping situations. Super glue is easily dissolved in acetone.
 

David S

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#6
I often use hemostats for clamping in tight places. They also have alligator hemostats for other tricky situations.

David
 

RJSakowski

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#8
All good ideas. I would add clothespins to the list.

I picked up a bag of assorted spring clamps from HF some time ago. They are plastic and tend to break easily but are cheap enough to be disposable. The smallest has 3/8" pads and a 1" jaw opening. There is a reasonable amount of clamping force.
Spring Clamps .JPG
 

brino

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#9
A few years ago I bought some Cleco clamp kits for holding sheet metal parts together. Like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Boulderfly-C...F8&qid=1499704374&sr=8-2&keywords=cleco+clamp

The kit also came with some small but fairly high pressure clamps like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Allstar-Perf...F8&qid=1499704374&sr=8-1&keywords=cleco+clamp

Two caveats:
  1. you need to use the special pliers to install/remove them
  2. you may need to grind the jaws narrower for what you need
Good Luck, and please let us know what works best for you!
Some pictures of the application would also be useful.

-brino
 
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Bi11Hudson

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#10
Sorry about the time, I only get on every week or two. Depending on your application, metal, plastic, or wood... or even "Play-Doh" would fill the bill. I do a lot of soldering small pieces of brass, both in model building and old fashioned instrument repair. We won't go so far back as building a meter movement, but d'arsenval meters have ....

I have a number of small clamps I have built similar to the store-boughten ones but small. 0.125 key stock and nr. 2 screws. And a lot of file work. Also I use a pile of hair clips (curlers?) to hold sheet (shim stock) together. They used to be made of aluminium so wouldn't stick to solder. The Chinese made ones are steel, and do stick. Yeah, well.... Both of those when close pins are too large.

Micro-Mark is mentioned above, but there are many other suppliers for model builders. There is a beam clamp like carpenters (well, jointers) use but much smaller and made of plastic. Also, some aluminium "C" clamps from "X-Acto" but at 0.250 wide, probably too big. Sprung wheelsets on train locomotive frames are often reset with toothpicks. And coupler springs are half or less that size. I use a ground off flat dental probe there.

I could go on for hours about model trains. But take up way too much space here. My suggestion is to find a model builder and ask how such small items are handled. For what it's worth, most of our springs are smaller in diameter than the flint spring on a Bic lighter....

Bill Hudson
 

Franko

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#11
I find these small Cieco clamps are often useful. They open a little over 1/2".

34X34SG.jpg
 

Desolus

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#12
I really need more information about what you are trying to do before I can offer a solution.
 

David S

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#13
The OP seems to have abandoned us.

David
 

KBeitz

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#14
I use what Franko uses. It come with an install handle.

Cieco clamp tool.jpg
 

yendor

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#15
But then there is always the concept that we all have (some level) of machinsts skills here - and you could always make something.
 
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