Workshop Basics: A Handy Clamping Plate
Holding small parts on a drill vice is always a bit of a challenge. Small hand vices aren’t always appropriate, and a slotted machine bed with clamps is just too big. This simple tool offers frustrated engineers a simple solution to the problem, and it takes less than an hour to make.
Mark out a series of regularly spaced holes in a plate of thick (10mm) aluminium or plastic. Drill and tap the holes to accept suitably sized bolts. I chose an M3 tap with a radial drilling pattern, although a grid pattern of holes would be equally appropriate.
Drill larger holes near to the edges of the aluminium plate so that you can clamp the plate to a slotted milling bed if required, and cut from the edge of the plate to open up the edges of the larger holes. Cutting the edges of the hole makes it easier to slot the plate in and out of any retaining bolts that you might use.
Clamp parts in place on the plate with appropriately sized bolts and washers. An advantage of this type of clamping plate is that it can be moved quickly and easily between different machines, without undoing the small bolts holding the parts in place.