Picture of T-slot stop for vertical mill table
Since joining TechShop I have been learning about machining on the vertical mill. One of the biggest challenges for me has been figuring out how to clamp work that doesn't fit easily in to the vice. While perusing "Practical Ideas... for Metalworking Operations, Tooling, and Maintenance, McGraw-Hill, 1984", I found an interesting idea that would help quickly align work right on the mill table using the T-slots. 

The stop uses the squared wall of the T-slot to align the machined face of the stop, which is then clamped in to place with bolts in the stop itself. 

It is easy to make and gave me some experience working with stainless steel.

I made it at TechShop!
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Step 1: Get some bar stock

Picture of Get some bar stock
I bought some 1 1/2" wide stainless steel bar from the local metal surplus yard.  It was about 5/8" thick which turns out to be a problem later. I cut a length on the cold saw to just over 12" long.

Step 2: Square everything

I then squared all four sides with an end mill. Since I was planning to use the flat machined face to align with the T slot, I machined both faces as well. The 5/8" thickness was too much to fit in the T-slot with the bolt heads as well so I had to take several face cuts to thin the bar down to about 1/4". The bolts heads don't screw flush against the bar and I wanted a little play in the bolt too so I went back and thinned a little more. Some where between 3/16" and "1/4" worked well.
pfred23 years ago
If is a big word. Have you perhaps indicated that your fixture is indeed square to your head? Assumptions keep scrap bins filled up. One feature not specced on milling machines usually is T slot parallelism. The face of the table sure, the slots? No. But this is why we all have dial indicators isn't it? Perhaps it is time you used yours.
Very nice. I will be making myself one of these. Thanks for writing it up.