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Small part holding

How to hold small parts for filing

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Brian H01/01/2019 10:46:22
1742 forum posts
112 photos

I have some small parts in sheet brass that I need to hold for filing the edges. I've tried a search for small part holders but most of the hold parts for machining etc.

Has anyone any suggestions?


colin hawes01/01/2019 10:59:52
513 forum posts
18 photos

Double sided sticky tape. Colin

Michael Gilligan01/01/2019 11:08:01
16203 forum posts
706 photos

I find the classic Toolmaker's Clamp very useful.



Nice reference here:

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 01/01/2019 11:17:45

Saxalby01/01/2019 11:15:08
163 forum posts
15 photos


I made this small parts vice some years ago and is very useful.

I believe it is a GH Thomas design and appeared in either ME or MEW magazine.

Regards Barry

not done it yet01/01/2019 11:15:59
4893 forum posts
20 photos

Stick (tape, glue), solder to a suitable mandrel. Unfix after filing.

What do you call ‘small’ and what shape? File all round or only one side? What thickness? All details that might help getting the right answer without guessing.

Michael Gilligan01/01/2019 11:21:53
16203 forum posts
706 photos

Here's another option:



Note: the Eclipse No. 110 hand vice looks useful, but I find its action rather heavy and crude.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 01/01/2019 11:36:03

Martin Connelly01/01/2019 11:27:11
1420 forum posts
165 photos

Pin chuck or ER11 colletsfor small round parts.

Martin C

Phil P01/01/2019 11:33:05
641 forum posts
166 photos

The Eclipse 180 is a nice bit of kit, it took me ages to find an affordable one. They often sell for £100 plus on ebay.

The thin piece vice is another of those tools that are handy for some sheet metal parts, I have one of those as well but to be honest I dont use it anywhere nearly as much as the Eclipse.

It is very rare I need to adjust any of the angular settings on my Eclipse, why not make your own copy of the Eclipse vice head and just hold that in your normal vice.


JasonB01/01/2019 12:32:00
18650 forum posts
2049 photos
1 articles

I use my old Emco Unimat3 machine vice which has 30mm wide jaws screwed to a bit of 3/4" sq stock and just put that in the main vice when I want to hold small stuff. It also has smooth jaws so no protection required.

Brian H01/01/2019 12:50:33
1742 forum posts
112 photos

Many thanks for the interesting suggestions.By playing about I've discovered that the part is best in the flat, horizontal position making it possible to see the lines without straining either my eyes or my back. I've been holding the parts with my fingers but it's very hard work.

I'm coming round to the idea of something like a fretsaw table and using the files vertically.

I think I may be able to use the toolmakers clamp idea until I can get around to making something


Michael Gilligan01/01/2019 13:03:37
16203 forum posts
706 photos
Posted by Brian H on 01/01/2019 12:50:33

I'm coming round to the idea of something like a fretsaw table and using the files vertically.


yes ... You have just re-invented th Die Filer

Have a look at this little DIY version, and also the 'Martin Model' version that gets a well-deserved mention



Edited By Michael Gilligan on 01/01/2019 13:06:09

Mark Elen 101/01/2019 13:41:52
117 forum posts
201 photos

Hi Brian,

This may be worth a look, **LINK**



Ady101/01/2019 14:24:19
3813 forum posts
519 photos

Look up fly tying vice

Fly fishermen use them

Brian H01/01/2019 15:18:59
1742 forum posts
112 photos

Many thanks for all your suggestions. The Eclipse hand vice suggestion rang a bell; I bought one at a car boot years ago and had forgotten all about it.

I've had a play and it's perfect but I was quite taken by the miniature die filer and can feel a project coming on! (although I don't need any more)


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