Model Making Clamp Board




Introduction: Model Making Clamp Board

About: In a past life I was a scenic designer, living in New York and building plays and fashion shows. Now, life has slowed down a bit and I'm figuring out how to be a good husband and dad.

This is a very easy to make tool that is incredibly useful. It's so easy, that I almost didn't post it because I thought people would think it's stupid. But I'm throwing caution to the wind and showing it to you anyway.

I always had a hard time holding small components still while glueing them. So I came up with this board to help.

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Step 1: Materials

Everything necessary is readily available at hardware or craft stores.

1/16" Thick steel plate
Adheasive backed felt or plastic bumpers
Ceramic magnets
Various small clamps and angles
Petroleum jelly
Paper towel


Step 2: Attach Backing

All I did was attach a felt backing to the metal sheet, and cut off the excess with a pair of scissors. The felt keeps the metal from scratching my table. The felt backing is available as peel-and-stick. I think I got mine at the hardware store a while ago.

You could also use those adheasive backed plastic bumpers you can buy at hardware stores.

You really don't NEED to do this step, but don't blame me when you gouge the nice table.

Step 3: Vaseline Fun Time

I noticed that my metal plate was rusting fairly quickly. I didn't want WD40 all over the place, so I rubbed petroleum jelly over the whole surface in circular strokes. This helped a LOT.

There are some rust spots, but that's my fault. I hadn't reapplied it in a while. I think the petroleum jelly also keeps all those fun superglues from sticking to the metal.

Step 4: Clamps

The board is done, and all you need now are some clamps. As you can see, mine are all simple, standard clamps you can find at office or hardware stores. All of the metals are magnetic, so they stick to the magnets which sticks to the board.

That's magic at work folks.

The little angles are helpful in holding things square. And, as I'm sure you are aware, if you want to hold things down to the board while you are working on them, just throw a few magnets on top.

Step 5: Use

Here's the thing in action. A huge benefit is that it can hold very thin material without crimping or ripping it. Here I just clamped paper as an example. Not even a wrinkle.

So there you are.
A few bucks and 10 minutes of time is all you need.

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    8 Discussions

    Dream Dragon
    Dream Dragon

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'd second the suggestion of adding wax, though I'd suggest sticking with mineral products OR vegetable products and not mixing the two, even though I don't THINK you'd have any problems with mixing mineral and vegetable products.

    Olive Oil and Beeswax (or Carnuba Wax)

    Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline is a brand name) and Paraffin Wax

    However you go, I'd like to say thanks for sharing this project.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    You could use 50/50 vaseline and beeswax melted together and then left to harden. Rub it on in the same way, it may last longer.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea and I'm headed to the shop to build my own. I'll consider making one change by adhering a thin sheet of drawing vellum over the steel to avoid the rust/petroleum jelly issue.


    12 years ago on Step 1

    This is a great simple idea. I will keep it in mind, the metal work area will be needed at some point in my creative work. Great way to use the mini-angle irons (on models). They would also be great for a magnetic memo board. Did you get the metal plate at the hardware store? Looks like it is about 8" x 10". Thanks for the Instructable, useful!


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 1

    Yeah, the metal sheet was at a local hardware store. 8" x 10" sounds right, but some places have larger sizes.

    I am glad you posted this, it is often the most simple solutions that are the most ingenious and yet the most elusive. This is a simple way to solve a frustrating problem. Thank you so much.

    John Smith
    John Smith

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea. What kind of models would this be good for? Maybe give a link to a website about them?


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    It can be used for architectural style models. You could also use it for making scenery for miniature style role-playing games. I use it for theatrical models. You can see some on my website (relentless plug).