OpenSCAD Cranks Out Parametric CNC Clamps

If you’ve ever used a CNC router or mill, you’ll know how many little things need to go right before you get anything resembling acceptable results. We could (and probably should?) run a whole series of posts on selecting the correct bit for the job at hand and figuring out the appropriate feeds and speeds. But before you even get to that point, there’s something even more critical you need to do: hold the workpiece down so it doesn’t blast off into orbit when the tool touches it.

Now that might sound like an easy enough job, and for basic flat stock, it often is. But if you’ve got an oddly shaped piece of material, you’ll quickly realize how inadequate those trusty c-clamps really are. When you get to that point, it might time to check out these OpenSCAD hold down clamps from [ostat]. Thanks to its parametric nature, you can plug whatever dimensions you need into the script, and in a few seconds it will spit out an STL file for a bespoke clamp that you can print out and put to work.

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A Different Kind Of CNC Workpiece Clamp

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[Mike Douglas] joined the world DIY CNC machining recently with a FireBall X90 CNC router. Instead of buying an expensive aluminum T-slot bed, he decided to try something we haven’t seen before…

His local hardware store sells aluminum bar clamps designed for clamping wood together — the best part? Only $10 each. What he’s done is added the bar clamps along the two sides of his bed, by adding plywood braces attached to the outside frame of the machine. He is losing a few inches of his usable bed area, but the added convenience of a quick clamping system is well worth it.

With the clamps in place, all he has to do is add two wooden braces (the black bars in the image above) to hold his work piece in place. This wouldn’t work very well for cutting metal, but this CNC router isn’t designed for that anyway.

Too bad he didn’t finish it sooner — it would have been a great entry for our recent Hackaday Hackerspace Henchmen CNC contest!