Upping my game in workholding?

Frank O

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Today I needed to drill some fairly precise holes in an aluminum heatsink about 5" x 8" x 1 3/8", using my LMS 5550 mill. If I put the workpiece in the one vise I have that's large enough it wouldn't have had sufficient Y-axis travel, so I figured I'd clamp it to the table. I have a pretty standard clamping kit (LMS #1144).

I didn't see a quick way to position the holddowns horizontally at the height of the top of the workpiece, so being short on time I just positioned them at an angle:

holddowns.jpg

I'd intended for the top corner of the workpiece to catch in one of the stairstep pockets on the holddown, but I can see from the photo it didn't end up this way.

So long story short, this worked well enough for this purpose. But I figure there must be a better way to do this. Any suggestions?
 

francist

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I use machinist jacks a lot for that type of setup. Set one under the free end end of the toe clamp, adjust so that the clamp toes down just a bit towards the work, and tighten the stud. Doesn’t take more than a few moments to set up. Nice beginner lathe project if you don’t have any.

-frank
 

brino

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@Frank O

The typical method is like this:
1593484018851.png

The key points:
-the clamp bar is nearly horizontal; I usually aim for a little lower at the work piece
-the bolt is close to the work piece for best clamping
-multiple clamps should be used

All of these parts are found in the typical clamping kit.

-brino
 

westerner

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The triangle pieces, with teeth matching the toe clamp in the picture, are used to support the toothed end of the clamp.
The various length bolts go thru the slot in the toe clamp to clamp the NON toothed end of the clamp on the work.

Nice pic, Brino. A picture is worth MANY thousands of MY words.
 

brino

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That first picture I included above was just one I found from a web search.
I went back and found it again to give credit, it's from here:
https://www.cnccookbook.com/cnc-jigs-fixtures-workholding-solutions-milling/

It is also easy to accommodate thicker work pieces.
All you need is longer bolts and spacers (steel blocks, 1-2-3 blocks, etc.) under the triangle pieces.

Another neat way is to nest two the the triangle pieces together so their teeth interlock, and put the tail of the clamp on top.
1593531952981.png


I often use some 3 and 6 inch lengths of 1"x2" solid flat bar for spacers and for putting under the triangle blocks if they end up near (and try to tip into) a table t-slot.

-brino
 

C-Bag

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That first picture I included above was just one I found from a web search.
I went back and found it again to give credit, it's from here:
https://www.cnccookbook.com/cnc-jigs-fixtures-workholding-solutions-milling/

It is also easy to accommodate thicker work pieces.
All you need is longer bolts and spacers (steel blocks, 1-2-3 blocks, etc.) under the triangle pieces.

Another neat way is to nest two the the triangle pieces together so their teeth interlock, and put the tail of the clamp on top.
View attachment 329118


I often use some 3 and 6 inch lengths of 1"x2" solid flat bar for spacers and for putting under the triangle blocks if they end up near (and try to tip into) a table t-slot.

-brino
This is my go to for most setups. I picked up several small sets of step blocks when they were on sale. I leave a couple of sets on my vertical bandsaw for setups. You can never have too many clamp sets and I buy all the pieces I can find in yard sales if they are cheap :)
 

Diecutter

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Legos for machinists. What could be more fun? I think the only limitation for their use would be your imagination. Thanks brino for the lead which I bookmarked.
 

homebrewed

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I hadn't thought of using that style of clamp for my bandsaw. Cool idea!
 

C-Bag

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I can’t find any pix of my step blocks on my bandsaw, but several of the clamp arms I got in a yard sale. But there are some crucial things to be able to use them one being a sled. When I made mine I incorporated a backstop with threaded hold downs so I could put all thread in them. You have to look close under the clamp arms to see I used t-nuts to make the clamps work.I also used step blocks in my horizontal saw to balance the vise on small stuff before I installed a piece of all thread.
 

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homebrewed

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I can’t find any pix of my step blocks on my bandsaw, but several of the clamp arms I got in a yard sale. But there are some crucial things to be able to use them one being a sled. When I made mine I incorporated a backstop with threaded hold downs so I could put all thread in them. You have to look close under the clamp arms to see I used t-nuts to make the clamps work.I also used step blocks in my horizontal saw to balance the vise on small stuff before I installed a piece of all thread.
Got it -- I was thinking that some creativity would be needed to get that capability on my bandsaw & your comment confirms it. Thanks again for the idea!
 

C-Bag

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Setup/clamping is a very creative part of machining. I didn’t understand that going in. But after seeing some other setups the light came on. It is crazy how many different clamping devises are out there and how many it takes. I am really bad about taking pix of some of my more “creative” setups. I forgot about this one:
 

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Suzuki4evr

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Another neat way is to nest two the the triangle pieces together so their teeth interlock, and put the tail of the clamp on top.
Well I never even thought of using it in this manner. Thanks Brino. This site always teach you something even if you were not looking.
:clapping:
 

ThinWoodsman

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But there are some crucial things to be able to use them one being a sled. When I made mine I incorporated a backstop with threaded hold downs so I could put all thread in them. You have to look close under the clamp arms to see I used t-nuts to make the clamps work.I also used step blocks in my horizontal saw to balance the vise on small stuff before I installed a piece of all thread.
Nice! Thought the sled was a sacrificial plate at first. I should look into doing something like that - one more thing for the never-shrinking shop TODO list.
 

C-Bag

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Nice! Thought the sled was a sacrificial plate at first. I should look into doing something like that - one more thing for the never-shrinking shop TODO list.
LOL, ain’t that the truth. Just about every time I look into some thread around here the list gets further behind. I got the idea from another member here. His sled was different as it was powered by weight and pulley system. I went with air power. I put a 3/4” air ram under the table attached to the end of the key stock that is the guide. With a regulator I can set any feed and just let it go. Causes less wear and tear because I get impatient with big chunks and push too hard :( I need to further mod it by making into like you pointed out, a sacrificial plate with a pattern of threaded 1/2” holes.
 

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coffmajt

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On my 7 x 12 horizontal band saw i made a small sled with a grid of tapped 3/8 NC holes that fit my milling machine clamp studs, and just clamp the sled it the vise with my too small work held by toe clamps on the sled
 

aliva

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I have a 2 piece vise. Clamp the solid jaw thru the tee slots. The adjustable jaw and screw is fixed to the tee slots at opposite end of the work.
The adjustable jaw only has about 1/2 inch of travel. But its enough to secure the work. I can hold work the full length of my mill table, less the thickness of the jaws about 8 inches 53-large_default.jpg 53-large_default.jpg
 
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