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Naive question about parallels

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  • Naive question about parallels

    Think I am having one of my more "dense" moments...
    is there some great use for parallels other than propping up work when you don't want to scar the bed of machine (mill or drill press in particular)...obviously you can make things parallel within the precision of the pair/set and there was the use to check facing being concave/convex...anything else?

    Or am I missing a "trick" in their use?
    Asked as in catalog searches I have come across ones that are 1/32" thick and to me this is getting mighty thin to rest the edge of a potentially large workpiece...even if you have a method of keeping them separated and not flopping over, isn't it quite a small edge to hit?
    And if you lay them flat, it doesn't leave much leeway to stop a drill bit before the table top plus you would go through the parallel by the time the hole was at full diameter

  • #2
    I use paralles laying flat to hold things on a magnetic chuck on the surface grinder. that is where the 1/32" get the most use . I have also used them in the vice on the mill when need to drill or mill 1/8" from the edge. At home though I only have a 1/8' set.
    Craftsman 101.07403
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    • #3
      I use a few pieces of 1/4" x 1" aluminum on edge for parallels. Just the right height in my kurt vise and it doesn't bother me a bit to hit them with a tool.


      • #4
        One of the main uses for parallels is to raise thin work pieces in a vise so that they both clear the base of the vise and so that their top is above the vise jaws.

        If you are going to mill the top of the work flat, you have to have it above the vise jaws.

        Raising work off the bottom of the vise allows holes to be drilled all the way through without drilling into the vise's base.

        The thin, 1/16" or 1/32" parallels allow those holes to be drilled very close to the vise jaws and hence, very close to the edges of the work.

        Some vises have small ledges on the jaws, near the top, to serve the same purposes.
        Paul A.

        Make it fit.
        You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul Alciatore
          Some vises have small ledges on the jaws, near the top, to serve the same purposes.
          My machinist friend calls 'em "thin **** jaws" and I need to get me a set.


          • #6
            IMO, they fall into the same catagory as 1-2-3 blocks and other fixtures...the applications are only limited to what you can think of. I own 3 different sets: a set of 1/32", a set of 1/8" and a set of 1/2". The 1/32" have been used for "grinding grippers" on a surface grinder mag because of their low profile. The 1/8" have been used for the same, and also fences while grinding, and I use the 1/2" set almost exclusively for layout and surface plate use. I built the 1/2" set several years ago out of A2; hardening, grinding & lapping them in as pairs. The 1/8" set gets most of their use in the mill vise, though.


            • #7
              The most common task is in the mill vise for holding any work less than the jaw depth so its above the jaws.

              You guys using the 1/32's for grinding, why? very small parts?


              • #8
                I always thought they where for milling things less then 1/8" wide. Or if you needed a 1/32" shim!
                Was rather nice that they came in more heights then my 1/8" set of the same price, but I have not really needed to use any of them iirc.
                Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                • #9
                  I use the end of the parallel to set small work vertical so I can mill the end square and drill it.

                  Cardon has a nice import set of 1/8" for $45 right now.

                  My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."


                  • #10
                    Lathe Use

                    I use my parallels to help position pieces in the lathe. If I have thin pieces which needs to be mounted in the chuck jaws with its base flat to the face of the chuck, I will use my parallels to "square-up" the base of the part to be machined. The different heights of the parallels are used to ensure that sufficient material is protroding from the jaws so the cut/drill can be made.

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                    • #11
                      You guys using the 1/32's for grinding, why? very small parts?[/QUOTE]

                      Yes for holding 1/8" or thinner parts from moving around.
                      Craftsman 101.07403
                      Grizzly G0704
                      4x6 Bandsaw


                      • #12
                        I use them not only for workholding, but also for measurement. Recently I laid one on its side to help "average" the surface of a relatively flat rough casting in order to set my zeros for milling and to "level" the piece. I prefer the thicker ~1/4" sets.
                        "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."


                        • #13
                          I use them for a straight edge too. I have a pair that are about 12" long that I use for checking flatness.

                          Like any tool you use your imagination for ways to use it.
                          It's only ink and paper


                          • #14
                            I have 3 sets of 1/8 X 6 inch parallels, 2 sets of 1/8 X 3 inch parallels. 2 sets of 1/32 X 6 parallels abd 2 sets of 1/32 X 3 parallels.

                            I use the 3 inch parallels in the 3 inch vises on my Tormach PCNC1100. The 6 inch parallels don't get used much any more. But sure as heck, if I sell them, I'll get a job that requires a 6 inch vise.

                            The thing I don't understand is the 3 inch vises have 1 1/8 inch tall jaws, but the 3 inch parallels are 1/2 to 1 5/8 in 1/8 inch steps. Last time I checked, 1 5/8 parallels don't work that well in 1 1/8 jaws.

                            Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I also have a set of 1/32 inch wavy parallels. They work really good if you're trying to hold something thin and you don't want your parallen to move in the vise.

                            If you have a problem with your parallels moving in your vise, I use springs to hold them in place.


                            • #15
                              Last use of my set of matched parallels was today, put a compound I was final-fitting to the crosslide on the pair upside down to re-check the parallelism of the compound ways to the plane of the swivel way. As per first pic below.

                              Useful also for extending a surface past it's end for measurements while scraping, testing the alignment of some other part to it (in this case perpendicularity of spindle to the column way on a mill). Second picture

                              or "bringing a surface up" so a level can be put across between it and another similar surface that have some part that sticks up between them.

                              Otherwise, the usual....clamping things that don't have flat bottoms but do have flats farther up, for work in mill. propping things up in vise on mill or DP etc.


                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan