Hold Down / Clamps for Desktop Milling Machine / Shapeoko / xCarve

by DasWookie Mar 14, 2015
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Just a note. I just printed the clamp & block. the clamp is upside down. the relief on the tip should be on the other side of the block. the bottom needs to be flat.
I was a tool & die maker & have used these type of clamps in the past. so I saw this as soon as the job was complete. but hey thanks for the design anyway. printed very well. SWV

The bevel was inverted for easier printing and to allow easier holding. Too many people were experiencing problems with the unsupported end. I tried printing with the part edge on, but layer adhesion was failing for others under load... So I made a compromise.

I would love to print these, just what i was looking for. However i don't have have inventor and my inserts are for m8 hardware. Exactly this, but parametric would be the dream!

My best guess unfortunately is scale the print to allow for different sized hardware. The design is parametric, but only inside of Inventor. I suck at designing inside of OpenSCAD tho. Sorry. To go from the 5.5mm width to allow for the width necessary for M8 hardware, you'd need to scaleup somewhere around ~32% or so for the width of the parts.

You can also get a free Inventor (or Fusion360) student license copy which would allow for parametric adjustment of the part.

I am new to CNC, and need some hold-downs, so I'll give these a try. I have the Shapeoko 3. Can you comment a bit on how these attach to the table? The stepped triangle, is it held down simply by force, or is there something going into those holes in your table? Is the screw directly into the MDF table? That's easy enough, but I don't see many screw holes in your table from past projects, so I wasn't sure. Also, if I'm going to screw into the table, why not just screw my board down instead? Have any guidance here?

The hold downs are held in place with the bolt screwing down into the threaded inserts. If you aren't using threaded inserts in your wasteboard, then ANY form of holddown is going to be problematic for you. These hold downs are just a basic version of the standard type of holddowns that are used on milling machines. Those are usually steel... which could prove to be catastrophic with a Shapeoko if the cutter moved into the holddown. With 3D printed plastic holddowns, even if you graze the holddown, all that happens is you buzz the plastic a bit... and you can just print another. Well... assuming you have (or have access to) a 3D printer... which if you are looking at these, the assumption is that you likely do. :)

Thanks DasWookie! Your comment led me off to many interesting links. Tonight I received my threaded inserts and installed them into my shapeoko bed. Now to print these.

The threaded inserts are done, I've added a sharpie grid (it helps keep my material square) and printed the hold-downs. It works great... a big thank you. I'll add pictures when I get a chance. These are thick and interfered with my dust collection shoe, so I remixed to have one with a lower profile.


great design and really useful on the x-carve , could you output the 2 smaller sized hold down bars as ipt files please?

The design is data driven, so just open the primary IPT file and input the desired height and depth for the steps. That will resize it, as well as the corresponding steps on the clamp. If you want to customize just the size of the hold down bar, just open that file and again, change the parameter for its length, save the sketch, and Roberts your sisters brother.


Unfortunately we use Solidworks and not Inventor (I think that's what an ipt file is?) so while I can open them they have no editable features/sketches.
I was able to get Solidworks to recognise the features on one but it makes the all of the cuts etc part of the main extrude.

OK I've uploaded the requested IPT files, as well as DWG files which MAY be easier to work withover in SW land. I can't really understand why SW wont open an IPT file. You can open up (most) SW files in Inventor. I've noticed issues with assemblies needing a little rework to be sure... but the parts will open and you can edit the deisgn.

Anyay, if the IPT files don't work, that's what I tried to also include the DWG files for too. If not, maybe draft up your own... the parameters for the steps are bone simple, so basically make sure that the steps (of various sizes) can both interlock together, as well as with the different sized bars. If you need a different format that I might be able to provide, let me know.

Thanks for that I've been able to open and modify them all from the dwg files. SW throws up an "incorrect version" with the ipt files so I'm guessing there is an issue with their file interpreter. I can open both the ipt and dwg files in Onshape.
Once again many thanks

Ok good to know! Guess I'll start including DWG files as well on the models I upload in addition to the native format. :-)

Just out of curiosity, what were you modifying? It might be a change I should make for others to get as well perhaps... I'm always open to input from others on my designs. In this case I was basically just emulating the steel clamps I use when machining which has worked well, but there's always the possibility of improvement! :-D

It is the most beautiful blocks on this site
I believe that the inclined plane (tip to which the workpiece is pressed) should be on top. I had to redo the drawing from the DWG. I did not put any inclined plane.

this was done deliberately as I was getting lots of messages from people having problems printing the part. By inverting the bevel part I also basically force people into using the clamps "correctly" by creating a V point to concentrate clamping pressure. With using printed plastic parts, and by folks not trained as machinists, sometimes ya just gotta give them every helping edge you can. Yes, it means the strap clamp hangs over the work a bit more than it might need to. I left that as an unfortunate tradeoff, but one I felt worth it. Plus, it gives the clamp a little more strength to tolerate the heavy clamping forces.

Thank you very much! Your blocks are really well done, I printed 3 games for my CNC Xcarve.
I made my impressions with an Anet 8.


I changed the slot to take an M6 screw our X-Carve bed has M6 inserts as we made it ourselves (shipping was too expensive from US) and we had M6 inserts in stock here

This holddown is My firs print out , i tryed a couple of thimes With My flashforge Finder ,and every thime
It wont stick enough too the plate, one side always lift up a little bit after some layers and is not flat too the plate.
I tryed too Take a glue stick even tryed without ,but still the same result.
What can. Try too do .

Adhesion is one of the first problems to solve with learning how to run a 3D Printer. For my printing I use the heated bed at 60c and use the hair spray method with cheap spray. The pink aquanet is what works best for me.

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