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The Beginner’s Guide to Toggle Clamps

  • January 7, 2021
Toggle clamp diagram

In the manufacturing industry, workpieces often require the use of a toggle clamp. It will secure the workpiece so that it remains stationary while being worked on. Manufacturing companies can then cut and drill the workpiece without worrying about it moving around. In case this is your first time hearing about toggle clamps, there are few things you should know about them.

What Is a Toggle Clamp?

A toggle clamp is a device that’s used to hold a workpiece in a place. As shown in the adjacent diagram, it features a lever-like clamping arm that’s connected to a horizontal mounting bracket. When you push down the clamping arm, the toggle clamp will apply a clamping force to the underlying workpiece, thus holding the workpiece in place. When you pull up the clamping arm, the clamping force will be released so that the workpiece can freely move.

Some of the benefits of using a toggle clamp include the following:

  • Makes it easier to resize and reshape workpieces
  • Lowers the risk of bodily injury
  • Allows for more precise cuts
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Easy to use
  • Requires very little maintenance

Understanding Clamping Force

All toggle clamps use a clamping force to hold workpieces in place. Clamping force refers to the amount of pressure the toggle clamp places on the workpiece with which it’s used. The higher the clamping force, the more pressure it will apply. Keep in mind that some toggle clamps apply two clamping forces. If a toggle clamp has a fixed clamping position, it will only apply a single clamping force. Those with a threaded spindle, however, typically apply two clamping forces: one force for the inner end of the arm, and another force for the outer end of the arm.

Different Types of Toggle Clamps

You can find toggle clamps available in several types. One of the most common types is horizontal. Horizontal toggle clamps live up to their namesake by featuring a horizontal mounting bracket. When locked in position, both the mounting bracket and the arm are horizontal.

In addition to horizontal, there are vertical toggle clamps. Vertical toggle clamps use a similar method of operation. The arm, though, stands upright when adjusted to a locked and clamped position.

A third type of toggle clamp is push-pull. Push-pull toggle clamps are unique because the arm moves horizontally. You can lock or unlock a push-pull toggle clamp by pushing or pulling the arm horizontally.

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