So I made these diy hold downs today while getting my cardboard settings (custom packaging) down without burning down my house. I have a video on that coming tomorrow,. If there are any better designs, kindly share them.
Ever since I’ve downloaded the holdown pins, I haven’t used Magnets since! I have a small container FILLED with pins and I’ve found that they do the job 100% of the time so far. Even going so far as to provide a jury rigged jig for repeatability. (yeah didn’t want to take the time to make a real jig to hold onto forever, so just used the pins to create a corner to snug some shapes up to and just did the thing)
I find the process of jamming pins in and taking them out to be more trouble than it’s worth when the materials are flat enough to be magnetted. Your way will definitely keep things stable, those pins are secure as it gets when you get them dialed in.
The pins have been snug, but not too annoying for me, but of course YMMV.
There are a few problems with pins, but so far they haven’t been showstoppers with me.
Any work right up on the edge runs a risk to cut the pin itself if you don’t have it placed properly
If you are working with a fresh 12x20 piece of material, you can ONLY hold it from at most 2 sides (top and bottom), but most likely only one side if the bottom is pushed against the door since the sides snug up to the rails beyond the grating.
As long as I can grab the top with the pins, I can keep the piece from being lifted away by the air assist. Unless I’m working with something thin and as parts are cut they are in danger of flying. That is the one situation where I see myself grabbing for Magnets instead of the pins.
I use the pins a lot , but have not found an ideal pin. too thick and they won’t fit in the holes, too thin and they don’t hold. made out of solid wood and they break, made out of plywood they shred. I sand down the thick pins and they hold so well I break them trying to get them out, but if there is warp nothing will hold the warp flat better.
However, as edges I use magnets most of the time and I also have a series of tiles to hold things parallel to the bottom or sides and use those often also.
Draftboard works best. But yeah, they can be a little fiddly, and they do shred. When they won’t stay down any more, I just make new ones. I use them for edges where there’s honeycomb to stick down to, especially when I want to avoid the risk of a magnet blocking the laser beam if I’m pushing my positioning a little too much. I don’t really care if I accidentally cut a pin; fixing a gap in a cut or etch is a lot harder!
I tend to use magnets for anything thin or flexible. Or sometimes oddly-shaped (particularly narrow) things that just don’t seem to line up well enough with the honeycomb well enough for the pins to hold.
The hold down pins are great for thicker stuff, though. (So I use them for 2/3 of what I do.)
Actually, the only material I’ve made the pins out of is Acrylic. I haven’t had any of them shred on me, and all have been the perfect size. So, as far as size, I’m thinking the 1/8th inch thick is just about right, and if you are having problems with shredding, try a couple acrylic ones.
If you don’t have them yet, this might be of interest:
Most people wrap the magnets in duct tape to make little grabby tabs, it’s easier than trying to wrangle them bare. Also, neodymium magnets are brittle and will shatter if they smack together too hard. Tape cushions them a bit and keeps magnet bits from falling off if they do crack.