Year of the Toggle – Time to Clamp Down
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Toggle clamp used on fixture
First, toggle clamps are simple mechanisms that hold things together. They generally consist of 3 primary components that are of interest:
- a handle: the user-interface to operate the mechanism
- a clamping arm: the contact point with the assembly or workpiece
- a base: the permanent attachment point.
There are also linkages that affect the motion (or stroke), and attributes like the holding capacity and the clamping force. While applications may vary, I’ve found that most people that need toggle clamps aren’t really concerned with these details because it’s more of a size & function application (and the application generally doesn’t come close to the holding capacity or clamping force). However, just to be complete: the “Holding Capacity” is how much force is required to overcome the clamp when it is in the locked position and the “Clamping Force” is how much force the clamp can push down on a work piece.
Toggle Clamps work base on a simple linkage-system. The system “locks” or “clamps” when it is over-center. When a clamp is in the “locked” or “over-center” position, it can only be released by pulling the handle or by overcoming the holding capacity.
There are three basic toggle movements: vertical-hold down clamps (force is perpendicular to the base), horizontal-push clamps (force is parallel to the base) and horizontal-pull clamps (force is also parallel to the base, but hooking or pulling something in- also known as a squeeze clamp).
Within each category, there are several variations of handle movements.
Furthermore, there are several items in our catalog that aren’t located in the toggle section that could be used for the “Pull” Toggle functionality (aka- the “Squeeze” Toggle):
These are generally called “Draw latches” and are considered very close cousins to the toggle switch. They are used in a similar applications. If you want to sound like a pro, try using the following terminology: