Kant-Twist Clamps

by John

Now that the Model Armstrong cannon is finished, I feel able to move onto some smaller projects which have been hanging around on my to-do list.

4-5 months ago I had these parts laser cut from 3mm and 4mm plate. GSMEE members have been making the Kant Twist clamps, and over the past 3 workshop sessions I have made a pair of the larger clamps.

There are side panels for 31 large and 32 small clamps. Most were taken by GSMEE members and some went to GSMEE Facebook readers interstate. I kept parts to make 2 large and 2 small clamps.

The machining of pins and jaws was very basic so I did not record those processes. The laser cuts holes were accurate enough to be reamed to size. I found 2 annoying mistakes, neither of which was fatal. There is an extra hole in the small side arm. And the position of the pivot hole in one of the arms is about 1mm out. Not sure how that mistake crept in. Neither of these mistakes will affect the functionality of the clamps.

Completed larger clamps. They open to about 90mm.
I chose to use brass for the pins, screw thread, handles and jaws. I decided to peen the pins rather than use machine screws. I had never “peened” before, but after the first effort bent and snapped I modified my technique. The failure occurred when I used a 20 ton press to do the peening. So I drilled that pin out and next time I used a light hammer to do the peening, and that worked fine. The pins have substantial shoulders as you can see from photo above, and they were turned to be a sliding fit in the holes. Then the outer 2/3 of the holes was given a very slight taper ream. It was a 7º included angle. Then the light/medium hammer tapping to cause the pin to expand into the taper. Incidentally, when I removed the failed pin, I discovered just how secure the joint was. It was quite difficult to get it out. I had to file the protruding end completely away, then drill a substantial hole through it before it would budge with a pin punch.
I used countersunk machine screws to hold the jaws, so I can make job specific jaws in future if required. The machine screws were ground to length so they lock together in the middle where they meet. That allows the jaws to rotate if necessary to use different faces.

The taper reamer used prior to peening

I would suggest one design change to the clamps, which I will apply to the small ones when I make them. I would add a small extension to the handle boss, say about 12mm, and knurl it. That would facilitate speedy changes to opening settings, before tightening with the handles.

Time and use will tell whether my choice of brass was sensible.

I know that these clamps can be purchased on Amazon and other sites, but this was a very satisfying project, and I have no regrets about deciding to invest the time to make them.