So glad I have 123 blocks and parallels

I was doing my first non crumb tray work the other night and was super frustrated at it because I had to find junk around the house to work with and get it up the height. All the while cursing that my stuff for the CNC machine was at the shop and not my house.

Flash forward to today and after ordering another set online I stopped by the shop for my 123 blocks and my parallels set. I would highly recommend everyone pick up a cheap set of these (maybe $20 each? I ordered a high quality set to replace these cheap ones at the shop). It makes shimming pieces into the focus range so smooth and easy. Plus they are ground metal so they stick together when placed on each other and your magnets still work as a hold down. I will probably still grind a piece of CR steel to ~1.5 thick to avoid stacking, but that isn’t something everyone can do and isn’t really needed


I’m not a machinist, but my discovery of 1-2-3 blocks and gauge blocks in general has made so many tasks easier; use on my CNC routers, setting up my table saw, squaring up pieces with each other, etc.

I’ve got a couple sets of the blocks with holes, so that they can be attached together, and a couple that are solid. I even use 1-2-3 blocks as touch-off probes on my CNCs, since the measurements are so accurate.

Never heard of such a thing! Okay enabler, can you link us to a recommended set?

Here’s the set I bought.


Just be prepared to spend some time cleaning off the cosmoline. Ugh.


I love those. But for lasering I have mostly been using blocks of wood. At some point maybe I will need more accuracy than those give me.

I have a metric set of the 123 block (increments of 2,5cm) and I have a question on rust? I left these out on a project for some time and they started rusting. Is there a fast way to get rid of the rust?

Whatever cheap set you can find. In the USA shars is a good supplier of cheap offshore machining stuff. With the laser you don’t need the accuracy and parallelism that an american set has so no sense paying for it.

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Scotch bright pad and wd40 as a cleaner works for me

Yea that is the bad part lol; i just use acetone and a micro-fibre that is on its last legs

Soak in vinegar

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I just wipe them down with mineral spirits. It doesn’t take too long. But the smell is awful.

My YouTube shop teacher, mrpete222 (AKA Tubalcain), did a few videos on using chemicals to remove rust. (There’s no shortage of videos from other people too.) I don’t remember if this was the most complete one, but it has “Olympics” in the title so it’s probably somewhat comprehensive.

He’s done at least one video on removing rust via electrolysis as well. (As have a number of other people.)