One aspect of our weekly GSMEE meetings (Geelong Society of Model and Experimental Engineers) is that I learn something new at every meeeting. The exposure to new information is not too surprising considering that our group has members who are or were a machinery designer, mechanical engineer, CNC operator, marine engineer, aircraft mechanic, a quarry operator, gun enthusiasts, a fireman and various other areas of expertise. Even a bee keeper. And even a retired gynaecologist.
Recently Neil brought in a boiler which was assembled but not yet soldered. And it was held together with spring loaded clamps the like of which I had never before seen. Some other members were also very interested in the clamps, which are, apparently, extensively used in aircraft panel assembly and repair, and also in car body work repairs.
Neil’s boiler end plates, clamped together.
The clamps are called CLEKOS or CLECOS. They are easily applied and removed and are reusable. They are used for temporary joining of materials to facilitate marking, drilling, riveting, soldering, welding or gluing. Exciting to me because I can see many applications in model engineering and wooden toy making.
The Clecos come in a variety of sizes and configurations.
This Cleco requires a 1/8″ hole, and will join materials up to 1/2″ total thickness. This type joins 2 or more pieces of material which have a hole drilled as small as 2.5mm up to 5mm. The range of hole sizes may be larger than I am aware. Only one face of the materials needs to be accessible, so the Cleco can be used to fasten material to a closed container such as a boiler. It is spring loaded and requires a tool to apply and remove it. Application and removal is very quick. Any materials which will accept a drilled hole can be used- metal, wood, cardboard. It would not work with easily compressed material such as foam rubber. The application pliers are available on Ebay and are inexpensive.
This spring loaded Cleco looks particularly interesting. The clamps are small, have clamping thickness of 20mm and a reach of 1/2″ to 1″. Again, they are not expensive ($AUD7-11), and very quick to apply and remove. Surprisingly powerful grip would be quite adequate for gluing or riveting or soldering.
Some Clecos do not require the application pliers but use a wing nut.
And others use a hex nut. Anyone know why there is a copper surface coating?
The Clecos are surpisingly inexpensive. On Ebay I have seen the spring loaded fasteners as cheap as $AUD1 each, and the pliers at $AUD15. I bought a kit comprising pliers and 20 fasteners for $AUD49. Ebay UK has the best selection and many have free postage. The range on US sites is good, but postage costs assigned by Ebay are astronomical.
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