Creative & Cheap, That’s How To Fixture
Oh, I need to drill holes in 8 parts, all in the same place. What a pain!
And, I need to cut these 5 pieces all to match. What a hassle to measure, mark, and cut each one!
You Might Need A Cheap Fixture
Holding parts in place doesn’t need to be complicated, especially if you’re just repeating a process over and over. Hey, just make a quick & cheap fixture so you only have to measure and mark the first one.
Fixtures (or Jigs as some people like to call them) can be pretty simple, and they don’t need to be pretty. The image here shows a simple drill fixture. It’s a small chunk of metal clamped to the jaws of the vise. The vise is clamped to the drill press table, so that repeat drilling becomes a simple matter of switching parts. And, you don’t have to measure again!
In this case, I had to drill the same hole in 12 parts. The first part was measured carefully, then put it in the vise on the drill press. I started drilling by moving the vise around on the table until the hole was placed satisfactorily. Next, I stopped everything and carefully clamped the vise to the table. (Use 2 clamps on the vise so it won’t wander.)
Next, I put the small piece of metal against the edge of the 1st part, and secured it to the vise jaw with the little orange c-clamp. With the vise clamped in place, and the new stop piece secured to the vise jaw, I simply removed the 1st work piece and put in the next — holding it securely against the stop. While holding the new work piece in place, I closed the vise. No measuring or marking was necessary for the remaining 11 pieces.
Quick To Make, Easy To Use
If you take a few minutes to set up the jig, it does all the measuring for you. The following pieces will all come out just like the first — so take some time and set the first piece up perfect.
Fixtures are a simple trick to make life easier. Jigs and fixtures also work for sawing, for welding, and for lots of other applications.
It pays to be creative, too. Place an extension, or an extra fixture piece on the table, like in the second image. This one cheap fixture worked on all 4 corners of these crane bolt plates because they were the same. It’s all good.
As another example, the photo shows a simple, cheap fixture for a chop saw. The saw is screwed to the piece of plywood. The first piece to be cut was marked and set carefully in the saw and held. (You can use a second person to help, or you can clamp it in the saw.) Then the two, 2x pieces were screwed together, then to the plywood so they were just touching the end of the first piece to be cut. It was that simple. Each piece after was cut the same length just by pushing it up to the wood blocks, then cutting.
Simple fixtures like this work just as well for almost any type of cutting. Just a quick way to cut several pieces all to the same length.
Good luck making a cheap fixture for your repeat processes.