Holding the workpiece

Hi I’m so newbie my Maslow is still two days away from arriving in the UK.

I can see that cutting from an 8’ * 4’ sheet provides a good amount of weight
to resist moving against a router, but I am wondering what you folks do for smaller
pieces? I have a good supply of 18mm Ply from the offcuts of a packing case
operation so would be able to make things very economically if I can keep
the pieces in place.

Thanks for your help

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I often cut from offcuts instead of full sheets. I find a piece big enough for the cut to fit and tack it in place in the center of the workarea, using a few brad nails in spots that won’t get hit by the bit and won’t mar the finished piece. Then I tack other scrap around it in places where the sled might need support when cutting near the edge of the workpiece and which help anchor the workpiece firmly in place.


Way back, I think it was even in the old forum days, someone posted a video or two of CNC clamping systems. The methods I’ve seen most often are:

  • double-sided tape / hot glue / other adhesives
  • t-slot and some sort of clamps
  • a grid of holes, threaded or not and some sort of clamps

A few videos in no particular order:


Thank you that’s great to see as I was considering some type of clamp system
and the second video is perfect for what I was thinking off.

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Regarding clamps, the sled needs a lot of real estate when traveling around the workpiece. For me, the best solution is to secure the workpiece to the Maslow backer board with wood screws that are out of harms way, similar to @blurfl with his tacks. Using the screws also helps to flatten warped boards.

Good Luck!

Has anyone looked at the composite nails for cnc? looks interesting to me, and would seem ideal for something like the maslow. Could hold any size piece down and as composite if the router bit hit one, would not damage it at all as they basically plastic. Raptor does them:-


yes, people have looked at them, Guide for carving

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My fear of the video solutions is that the sled will be in the way of the clamps when the router is near the clamp.

Seems like either using adhesive or the raptor nails are the way to go, unless I’m missing something here.

Yes, the clamps that reach over the top of the work piece assume there is enough margin around the cuts that the sled doesn’t interfere with the clamps. Some of the clamps I have seen work on the edge of the board and don’t extend above (in the z-axis sense) of the surface of the work piece.

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I am thinking of going the way of these duck clamps but modifying
this concept so that either PVC or wooden dowels are used so I
can slot a dowel into either end dependant upon nearest available
hole in the back board. They can also be cut bu the Maslow itself from
offcuts so if it munches a few I can produce more.

Using the same thickness as the piece to be cut would mean the sledge
will not react to them to the point you could hold multiple pieces at the same
time. I.e. place one up and then clamp the next against existing clamps.


EDITED to add link to original article of these duck clamps:


Do those nails require a vendor specific (Raptor) nailer, or do you know if they work in a standard finish nailer? I’ve seen composite nails used with a ShopBot, but I don’t recall anything about the nailer, and definitely don’t remember the brand.

We’ve had someone using a generic harbor freight nailer with the raptor nails

It doesn’t work well in extremely hard wood, but works well most of the time

Here’s a link to @Keith’s report on the Harbor Freight nailer.

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I have several different sizes of Porter Cable brad and finish nailers, one operable frame nailer, a couple dead frame nailers, staple guns, and I’m probably forgetting some that I never use. I need another nailer like I need a nail in the head…

With that said, if they’re a generic size, I probably have something that will work.

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18g pin nails up to 1", or 16g finish nails up to 3/4" (with a little bit of a
head on them)

David Lang

I tried then in a dewalt finish nailer and found the results variable depending on the materials being fastened. Performance in plywood was pretty poor, soft woods were ok, as was mdf. Still a lot of failures in both though

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