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Low profile clamps for a milling table

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  • Low profile clamps for a milling table

    I used to have a set of Mitee-bite low profile clamps. Didn't use them often but were handy on occasions. They were sometimes a bit fiddly to set up though (this was the type with the eccentric bolt head in a hex shaped clamp).
    The current mill has wider T slots, so I get to think about what I want to get for tooling again.
    What do you all do for low profile clamping? Do you even bother? Has anyone found something that is easy, simple and works?


  • #2

    I've used mite-bites and I didn't much care for them myself. Like you said, they can be pretty fiddly to get setup sometimes. Not so good for onesy-twosy work. But they do have their place on fixture plates.

    I tend to grab toe clamps more often these days. I prefer them when direct clamping to the table. They are fast and easy to use and can accommodate wider variations in setups and materials.

    If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


    • #3
      I like Mitee-Bites, but they're really finicky to get them to hold tight, and they allow the workpiece to lift up pretty easily (with spectacular results)

      If you have the clearance, toe-clamps are much more secure, and a lot easier to setup. The only problem is they're a pain in the Y-axis, since they want to clamp in the direction of the T-slots. Mitee-Bite has super low profile Toe-Clamps, but they're ridiculously expensive.
      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


      • #4
        I developed these cam clamps a few years ago mainly for holding engraving materials. They can also be use as milling clamps if you make them like the black one. It is steel, 1/4" thick and is tightened using an angle grinder spanner wrench. Lifting can be a problem since they only hold on the side but the clamps are easy to make. The shape isn't critical and can be roughed out manually, then belt sanded to the right shape.

        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          Wow Evan I never would have thought that you could develop old plectrums for hold downs well done youngish man Alistair
          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


          • #6
            I use Mitee-Bites every chance I get. They are wonderful for making a quick set up for just a few parts.


            • #7
              I use toe clamps for holding parts directly on the table.

              For most purposes though, I use the Starrett 54 series hold downs in the vise. They or their equivalents combine maximum holding power with minimal profile and hold flat on the floor of the vise with no tendency to rise. Dead simple to set up as well.
              Jim H.


              • #8
                If the part is easily deformed and/or lightweight, I use double sided tape. If the part has been already finished to size, or close to it, I like mitee bite and similar. If you have stock available, I drill (or drill & counterbore) and bolt directly to the table. Failing those, I just place it on the table and hope like hell it machines itself.


                • #9
                  I use these a lot.



                  • #10
                    I use a pair or these homemade jobs, 2" x 1/4" O1 steel, preset with the curve and hardened & tempered to spring.

                    They work well with plastic and aluminium although not a solution for every mill job.

                    " you not think you have enough machines?"


                    • #11
                      Sherline clamps are *fairly* low profile, but I've managed to snap an end mill off on the 10-32 socket head screws. Button heads would lower the profile, but can't be torqued as much because of the smaller hex socket.

                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                      • #12
                        When you have inside pockets like that, I have a set of split Mitee-Bites, that are spring-loaded with an O-ring in a groove around the hexagon.

                        You put at least two of them on opposite sides of the pocket, and spread them open with the cam bolt. Pretty neat.
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."