Clamping suggestions

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Clamping suggestions

Postby MRH91 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:17 am

Good evening,

I've been using my CNC recently to engrave business card holders for my online store. I've added a couple of images, showing how I've managed with the first 60 or so engravings, and to be honest I've had enough and need a better method. (I couldn't attach the images by the way, every time I tried the screen went blank and wouldn't load the images in).

I currently clamp down the front plywood block, insert the business card holder, then clamp the second plywood block to the business card holder at the back. This creates a secure system as it doesn't move at all, but it does require a little bit of setup to make sure everything is square.

Any suggestions would be great, of course I'm able to build something, and willing to put the time into it so I've got a system that enables quick setup without the need to constantly check for square.

Many thanks,



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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby rgerding » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:07 am

I had a problem also posting pictures. You can go on line and there are many sites that will resize your picture to a smaller acceptable size. I can’t remember the size required but that’s probably why they wouldn’t upload. It would be beneficial to see the pictures so that we can understand the situation.
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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby 4DThinker » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:59 am

For holding small parts I designed a thin profile bed vise that can be held in place by t-track bolts, bolts into a threaded insert grid, or just about any other hold down strategy.
You can find a downloadable file for it by searching this forum for "vise".


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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby martin54 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:20 am

What control software are you using to drive your CNC machine ?

When I have repeat jobs to do I generally make some kind of jig that can be positioned on the spoilboard with dowels the same way that they are used for 2 sided machining, I have the x, y offsets saved so whenever the jig is placed on the spoilboard & can quickly set up my X & Y zero positions, the Z axis is set to the top of the gantry in the saved work offset file so it doesn't matter what thickness material I am using, easy enough to just zero the Z axis to the top of the material I am cutting.

There is a simple rectangular jig in this video by Andrew Pitts that uses a wedge to lock the stock material in place, you could easily make a jig like this to do multiple bus card holders at a time :lol: :lol:
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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby tomgardiner » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:47 pm

You can always use your cnc to ensure accuracy of workpiece placement by roughly positioning your fixtures then squaring up with a pass by the cnc.
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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby ger21 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:19 pm

Looks like a vise would be ideal.
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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby highpockets » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:47 pm

I've used jigs for a lot of projects where I have repeat work. I've installed threaded inserts in my spoil board and have XY machine coordinates marked on each jig so I can easily setup for different runs. I use to use edge clamping on the material in the jig, but when doing a lot of cutting sometimes the material would popup just a little causing some uneven cuts and in some cases ruin the run completely. I've now switched over to vacuum jig and haven't looked back! Much faster to install and release the material and I haven't had any issues with material lifting.
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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby Barry Anderson » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:28 am

On my spoil board I have attached 2 pieces of 1/2 plywood forming a 90* angle at the X Y 00. This ensures squareness. When doing multiple runs, I use two clamps attached to the spoil board. I'll take a photo of them tomorrow and post.

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Re: Clamping suggestions

Postby auga » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:56 am

I resently changed my clamping system as the old one just was not working for me. I used 1/2 MDF as the base system and purchased several 48" t-slot system. I cut with a 1/2 router bit slots for the t-slots
to fit in. I placed 4 of them about 6 inches apart. Only about 24 inches deep on the length of the Y axis. Then I cut some 1/4 pieces of MDF to use as the spoiler board. This now allows me to have lots of flexiblity in my different
sizes and clamp them down. So far it works much better and gives me that flexabilty on the work area, plus holds them down very well.
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