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Work holding for tiny pieces

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Mach89

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#1
What are yall's opinions of the best work holding methods for tiny pieces? For instance, if I was going to make a small ratchet paw (oal 1/4", w 1/8", thickness of 0.050").

I've been wondering about this for a while now. I do a bit of work with small parts, but nothing really tiny.

I'm sure a lot of it depends on the type of cuts to be made, angles, faces, and so forth, but in general I can't really think of a good way to hold pieces that small securely and accurately without making scaled down versions of normal work holding devices (ie vises, clamps, etc.)

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Hawkeye

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#2
I haven't done any horology work, but I think I would use a piece of stock several inches long. This would make clamping a lot easier. When all of the shaping is done, the piece could be parted off. If it is made of something fairly soft, like brass, one of those fine-toothed hobby saws could be used to cut it off.
 

JimDawson

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#3
Mach89, you ask hard questions. :)

It really depends on the size and shape of the part. Sometimes you have to make special fixturing, or clamping devices. Other times you can just use what ya got. It's possible to hold a very small part in a very large vice. Sometimes double sided tape is a good fixturing medium, I like carpet tape for that. Embedding a small part in hot glue works for some applications as does eutectic bedding metals.

Sometimes I just machine part shaped pockets in soft jaws on my vice. Where possible, many times it's better to do most of the work to a piece before parting it from the raw stock. If you have a hole in the part that is large enough to put a screw in, then that is a great holding method, even one screw will hold up against quite a bit of machining if you don't get too greedy with the cut.
 

Mach89

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#4
Mach89, you ask hard questions. :)
Lol. Those are the best kinds of questions. They get people thinking.

I appreciate the input from you guys. I never thought about the tape or hot glue. I don't really have any tiny part plans as of now, but it's something I've thought about. "If I was to make this, how would I hold it?"

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tq60

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#5
Chunks of maple in a vise also make good shape forming soft jaws but cuts must be light

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brino

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#6

jbolt

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#7
Years ago we did a job on some tiny castings that were irregularly shaped. No flats or holes to speak of to hold or attach to. We made up some cup fixtures with three small adjustable tapered pins to set the orientation of the part and then filled the cup with melted dopping wax used for lapidary work. Once the wax cooled the fixture could be held in the vise and the part machined. After machining it was put in ice water to release the wax from the part and fixture.
 

David S

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#8
I think I may shown this before, but here goes. I repair clock parts and I often need a way to hold small parts for light machining and soldering.

This stage is about 3" X 5" with a matrix of holes that are clearance for 6-32 SHCS and threaded at the bottom. This also permits 4-40 screws to come up from the bottom to also hold some of the clamp items.

In the application I am trying to put a patch into a wheel that had broken teeth. The normal way is to dovetail a patch in, but it can be tedious to get a good fit, so I was trying a straight sided patch and pinning it in place. This required the patch to be forced into the joint for drilling for pins and subsequent soldering. The wheel is mounted on a sacrificial piece with hi temp Kapton tape to add thermal resistance to the base.

blank stage.jpg small parts stage.jpg
jack screws close.jpg
getting ready to drill pin holes.jpg drilling pin hole.jpg
pins in place.jpg

David
 

Mach89

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#9
Thats a pretty sweet setup. Glad you jumped in on this conversation and shared. Very helpful

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David S

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#10
I just want to bump this up, since no one has posted after I put all my stuff here.

Please if you have more ideas let us see them.

David
 

george wilson

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#11
I very often,just super glue small,irregular objects,such as my wife's jewelry master models,to a brass block that must have been a paper weight many years ago. I put the brass in my Kurt,take a slight cut across it t assure the alignment(lazy man's way!),and it cleans off any old glue,oil,etc.. The brass block can be removed later to heat it away from the machine with a torch to release the glue.
 
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