Returning now to the main subject of these pages, table clamps, and at this stage
those in Photograph 1. Whether these will suit your requirements will of course depend
on the type of work being undertaken as they tend to be on the large size for the
average home workshop activity. This should be evident from the mock up shown in
Photograph 2. I should add at this stage that to minimise the number of Photographs
some set-ups show a range of possibilities and are not for any particular application.
Others, whilst showing an application, are a simulation having been taken with workpieces
already made and completed earlier.
The kit shows three sizes of stepped blocks, three sizes of clamps and six lengths
of studs from 75 mm to 200 mm as well as T nuts, etc. There are also stud couplers
for use when a longer stud is required though these are unlikely to be a requirement
in the average workshop. To complete the picture, the T nuts in the featured set
are for 16 mm slots and the studs 12 mm diameter. Even a smaller set for 14 mm slots
still has 12 mm studs.
Unless you are into restoration work with full size projects, machine tools, steam
engines, traction engines and the like, or perhaps model making at the very large
scales, I consider that these kits are over robust for the vast majority of the tasks
likely, also some times inconvenient. Photograph 2, I feel showed this, particularly
the larger clamp on the left. Not only are they too robust but their large size will
often require more room than is available on the average home workshop mill.
For the reader who is not conversant with stepped blocks these can be used in pairs
as on the left or with a clamp bar as on the right of the Photograph. The steps,
at 3 mm spacing, are saw tooth in shape ensuring that the two parts firmly lock together.
Lighter weight clamps
Suppliers to industry do supply individual items, clamps, stepped blocks, etc. to
the same design as those above and down to an 8 mm stud size. Even these though are
probably too robust for the majority of the tasks undertaken on the milling machine
and there would seem therefore no alternative but to make ones own. In any case,
the stud size will be dictated by the size of the T nut required for the T slots
on the machine, that is M12 for my machine.