Bamboo Work Clamps made with Carbide Create

Heres a Carbide Create design file for a sacrificial work clamp, these could be made in a variety of materials; aluminum, delrin, etc. here I used plyboo and they worked great.
This style of clamp requires a thread, these are designed around M6 hardware, So you will need to tap an M6 hole in each of the clamps, I used a cordless drill and the threads look and function great.
The file only uses 1 tool, the #102 square ended 1/8th, they take about 10 minutes for a pair.

The Finished clamps- the material is 1/2" thick Plyboo, the clamps measure 1/2" wide and 1.8" long.

You can get 6 parts from a 3" x 5" Bamboo blank.

You will notice in the Carbide Create file that the Max depth is set to .485" for the Through Slot and External Cutout toolpaths. This way the cutter never touches the tape holding the Plyboo to the wasteboard.

A putty knife will get the bamboo stock free from the wasteboard, then you get to snap the parts out- (very satisfying.)

A light sanding…

Tapping the M6 threads…

Heres a screenshot of the Carbide Create Clamp file.
The construction sketch on the left is “working” geometry for later refinement of the design.

There is also a second set of longer clamps above- for the Shapeoko threaded table.

Heres the preview of the part.
On the left you can see the 3 toolpaths, Ideally the Top Recess toolpath would be the second operation, before the final cutout operation; not the last.
Note: To move an operation, just right click on it and select move up or down to re-arrange.

One more look at those bamboo threads.

Heres the Carbide Create file:
4 bamboo clamps 125 m6.c2d (842.4 KB)

Ive used them- and so far so good, feel free to modify the design.


Thanks for sharing. They look great

Heres a picture of the small bamboo clamps being used on the shapeoko threaded table. Although small, these clamps work well.


Great clamps!

Can they be used on the Nomad threaded table? Any chance you could post a photo of them setup on one of those, please? I think they’re great, but wonder if they might be hard to use on the smaller table…

I designed these for the bed the Nomad, but they work on the S3 as well.
Heres a picture of a 4.5" x 8" x .85" Zebra wood on the threaded table.

CLAMPS plyboo single 125 center Z.egc (105.1 KB)
Heres a Job file if you want to test cut one, the Zero is in the center of the part, or you can download the Carbide Create file from the original post.


Thanks @ApolloCrowe, these look great. I plan to make a few soon.

All hail @ApolloCrowe, bringer of awesome jigs! Thanks man. :slight_smile:

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Any special reasons to use bamboo instead of say plastics? I assume bamboo will generate dust like other woods?

Bamboo is fairly hard and more environmentally friendly since it’s just grass and grows like crazy… so no real special reason. I use scrap Baltic birch ply for my clamps because I can get it for free :stuck_out_tongue:

I chose bamboo for a couple reasons, I was curious how well it would hold a thread, and we stock the plyboo blanks in the Carbide store

You could make this clamp out of plastic as well, like HDPE, delrin or even aluminum.

Have you tried any stress testing on the threads? I’m curious about that part as well.

I use threaded inserts facing down in my plywood clamps.

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I stress tested the clamp as a whole by running several jobs, the M6 thread was tapped in a 5mm hole and it is strong- if any part of this clamp has a weakness it would be the thin section surrounding the through slot.
I will probably modify the design to be wider, however a small clamp can be useful, so started with what can be considered a minimum in order to test the bamboo material to its limit.
I have not snapped one yet.
Here is my bamboo clamp test: I clamped down on some .25" thick 416 Stainless Steel over night.

The next day I tried to shift the steel plate, it did not shift.
I applied about a 1/12 of a turn to each clamp to see if any would make a sound to hint at a potential future failure, but there was no splitting.
I then proceeded to machine a keyhole feature through the steel with the #101 1/8th Carbide 2 flute endmill.


I’m going to need you to get a torque wrench and tell me how many newton it takes because it fails… and then I’ll need you to convert that into Fig Newtons. Please post results.

I really like bamboo as a material and I’m considering making a keyboard case out of some.

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Threads in materials you would think are very soft are surprisingly strong when cut properly. I’ve seen a steel aircraft (AN3) bolt shear off when threaded into a solid nylon nut and tightened to failure.

I agree with Apollo, the weak point here is the sides of the clamp at the slot. Bamboo is a great material, really wish is was more readily available. Should be dirt cheap, but it’s so much more expensive than pine it’s crazy. Bamboo flooring can be a little easier to get.

Here’s a favorite…

I sometimes find cheap bamboo cutting boards in my area (Monterey Bay Ca) at Marshall’s and Ross. This is also a good place for HDPE. I bought a complete coaster set at Goodwill for $1.50. Costco had flooring for $30 a box at one time.

I updated the Carbide Create file, heres a screenshot of the preview:

And here is the file:
4 bamboo clamps 125 m6.c2d (842.4 KB)

The Small Work Clamp design keeps evolving.
This latest CC Design File includes step blocks!

If you want to make a set, you will need 4" x 7" x .5" thick material.
Carbide Create File:
5 Small Clamps wiith step blocks.c2d (1.2 MB)

Heres a Simulation Screenshot after adding a 5th clamp:

The Toolpathing View:

These are really useful and only require the double sided carpet tape and the .125" endmill.


I just cranked out two sets of these using Baltic birch ply instead of bamboo. Outside of a little shredding of the thin top layer, the pieces came out fine and cleaned right up with sandpaper. The birch ply threaded easily and seems to hold the screws securely. As a noob I am still trying to get a feel for getting stock measured correctly and optimally placed on the bed. Two-sided carpet tape worked well but since the workpiece was not completely flat I chewed into a little bit of the tape at the end of the job…cleaning endmills is not really fun so I know to pay attention to stock thickness settings. I know my spoil board is sacrificial (and I have extras) but for some reason I am loathe to scratch mine up…I should get over that!

Thanks @ApolloCrowe for posting these projects as they are building my confidence in using my Nomad as well as sparking my imagination as to what I can make with it!

Hi @vegasracer Glad to hear they worked for you, do you mind posting a picture when you get a chance?

Turpatine works best for removing the adhesive gunk from tools and acrylic.

@ApolloCrowe please excuse the image fuzziness… not a lot of depth-of-field on my phone cam. I gave them a coat of Thompson’s Water Seal after sanding.