Clamping down material - binder clips!

I just finished a project cutting 22 gauge steel on my crossfire. The warping was so annoying, Ugh! All my previous plasma experience was using thicker metal and warping was never an issue in the past.

My final solution was to use modified office binder clips to hold down my 22 gauge steel sheet and it worked GREAT. I’m sure someone has done this before me, but wanted to share this technique that I discovered for clipping down thin metal. The binder clips eliminated all my warping issues!

As you can see in my photos, I just ground a bit of the binder clip using an angle grinder so the modified clip can extend over and hold down thin metal. The grinder can cut away the necessary recess in seconds. Once installed, the clips have a really low profile, so they allow me to plasma cut close to the edge of my sheet and don’t require me to leave a wider edge for clamping. I liked the smallest clips best, but plan to do some experimenting with other clip sizes as I just bought a bag of mixed clips for $9 from Amazon: Amazon.com

I think the pictures tell the whole story for how I modified the clips and how I fastened my thin metal to the slats.

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I’ve come up with some interesting techniques for holding down material in the past BUT… I LOVE this idea… Good show!!

now that is using the old brain there…nice idea…thanks for sharing

LOL! I’ve used binder clips for this task, but never in this way. YES, this is the right way!!!
Good show!

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I do think you need to let us know which size clips worked the best. Otherwise, I’m taking away my ‘love it’ and will condemn you to burn in… well, no, not really. Still a good idea, but more info would be most appreciated! :slightly_smiling_face:

No one who has shared it here.

You win the Internet today!!

:clap:

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Now, That, is novel! EXCELLENT idea!:nerd_face:

Well you all made my night by your nice replies! THANKS!

I’ve only tested 1.3" and .75" binder clips (that is how they are referred to and also their rough measurement from end to end perpendicular to orientation of silver clip handles, see pics of calipers for clarity). I like .75" best as they seem to have the tightest grip my gnarly cut up slats in my water table. I used a few 1.3" clips and they held fine too. It may be my imagination, but it seems to me that the .75" clips have more force holding them closed…but that’s just how they seem and I don’t have any tool to verify that claim. And it seems that the fact that my bed slats are a bit beat up provides an even more grip for the clips.

IMG_3875 IMG_3874

This is such a creative and resourceful community that can figure things out, and at the risk of oversharing what might be obvious, I did find that .4" lip on the 1.3" clip and .2" lip on the .75" clip was plenty to hold my 22 gauge steel in place and stopped it from moving and lifting into a Pringle shape. And I left about .1" of material in the lip. In case this does not make sense, you can see my hand drawn diagram.

IMG_3878

This is again pretty intuitive, but I buy a some of my metal at box stores and the stuff is never flat…and when using these clips, I place the metal so it is concave up (Concave Upward and Downward) so the center sits against the slats and the sides lift off the bed…then when the clips are put in place, the sides pull down and the whole sheet is flat on my slats.

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I got some 3/4" clips from Amazon Basics today and made some holddowns per your great idea and info. I’m not all that impressed with these clips, however, I think the clip is a thinner material than a brand name clip (about 9mil thick). They’ll work, I just need more of them probably.

I cut a dozen and decided right away that the angle grinder was a bit too ‘dramatic’ for this task so switched to my Foredom tool with a cutoff blade and that worked like a champ! Safe and only took a couple of seconds per clip (it took more time swapping clips in the vise than cutting them)!

Thanks again for posting the idea!

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This is what I like about this forum…sharing of ideas…friendly…helpful…immaginative…
Thanks everyone

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Wonderful! …I just made some as well. Dremel does a very good job at it. Thanks, Brilliant idea!

This is a great idea. You can do the same thing with i-beam clamps for heavier steel. I use them for locators and hold downs on 11 guage.

Todd, could you please share more information on i-beam clamps, which ones you’d recommend, how big? And how you fasten them to the slats? Thanks!

This is genius i must admit.

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While waiting on my Pro to be delivered I’ve been gathering other items for the system. I did get the silicone splash guards, lasers for cross hairs and purchased 1/2"x1/2"x1/2" N48 Neodymium Magnets. I plan to use the magnets on the slats to hold thinner material down.

The magnet with probably get damaged if it’s in the plasma path. I do use magnets in the water table attached to the bottom of the slats near the water drain. They will pull out a lot of the suspended filings before they go down the drain. I keep them in small plastic bags so they’re easy to clean… whenever I get around to cleaning the table :rofl:

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@TomWS - They attach to the side of a slat towards the top of the slat. Then when you put your material on they will be totally hidden.

Not when you cut through the material.

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True, but having them on perimeter of what’s going to cut should do the trick, similar to the paper binders. At least, that’s my plan.

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@TomWS - The baggies and magnents near the drain are a good idea too. I might try that as well.