Registration Pin Alternative?


I have used wood dowels for registration pins previously. They did work but were tight and hard to pull workpiece off and flip to other side.
I was looking at my local hardware store and found these.

Would there be any reason these would not work?

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Tension / Spring / Roll / Split pins are larger than their nominal diameter and are meant to be compressed to fit. I suspect they would work well in hardwood, but distort holes in softer wood.

I just use steel dowels, and if I’m doing higher tolerance work I ream the holes in the fixture & workpiece.

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Those pins are made from spring steel. They have the C shape and the tapered ends to fit into other parts to connect them together. The spring part keeps the pin from just skidding out. So if you buy them I would take the calipers to the store and make sure the ones you buy are all the same size. Since they are a spring they may vary in size. If they are consistent in size why not use them. You may need to make custom registration holes for them to fit into because you dont want them to compress too much and might be harder to get out than a dowel. Likely if you use them they would be reusable unlike the wooden dowels. Why not try them. Some things you just have to try and see, maybe they work and maybe they wont.

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I’ve used aluminum rod cut to the lengths I need. What’s nice about that is that I can have sets of lengths for various stock material thicknesses, so as to minimize the vertical hazard during rapids.
Also, the aluminum is quite a bit more forgiving on the bit should it accidentally hit the pin/dowel.


You could also use 1/4" alignment pins they come in various lengths and you could cut your alignment holes to fit as needed. Check Amazon and find the length you need.


Here is what I ended up purchasing. (Menards)

This should do nicely.
These are located in the shelving area, pins for shelfs. I got 12 for $3.00.

Thank you all for your input. You all helped with my decision.


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