Much of my shop time in the last year(!) has been consumed with making tools for my tools. A later addition that turned out to be way more useful than I expected is my milling pallet.
A milling pallet is a flat piece of metal with a bunch of threaded holes in it. Matching bolts, clamps, and whatever are used to fix pieces of stock in place for machining. Mine is a 6x6x1″ square of aluminum with a grid of holes spaced 1″ apart. This is a common shop project so there was lots of ideas to glean from the internet but here are the features I settled on:
- Through holes are tapped M6 except that the top 1/4″ is reamed .25″ to take dowel pins. The pins can be used as something to bump against in a repeatable setup.
- A shallow step is milled into the bottom to allow clamping the pallet into my milling vise. The edges of the pallet are square with that step which means I can use the edges to align things, even before clamping the vise.
- Extra counterbored holes allow me to bolt the pallet to the top of my rotary table. The rotary table only has four radial t-slots so this greatly improves my clamping options.
- I made two sizes of .25x.50″ toe clamps that combine with an assortment of M6 hardware to do most of my clamping.
Here is the flywheel for my beam engine project in progress clamped on the pallet on the rotary table.