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321 (or is it 123?) Blocks

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:10 pm
by Enigma
On a recent thread on RMWeb the subject of these blocks came up - and I have to say I had never heard of them. So I Googled and found lots for sale on Amazon (other sources are available) at a variety of prices from quite inexpensive (what's the catch?) to rather expensive - but they all look the same! They appear to be precision ground rectangular steel blocks with the sides in the ration of 3-2-1 (usually inches). They are perforated like a Swiss cheese with regular holes, some threaded and others not. There are also several 'tutorials' on YouTube about them (including the usual 'unwrapping' one!). So, does anyone here use a set of these? If so, for what purpose(s)? I've been trying to think how they might improve or compliment my usage of my Cowells machine, maybe during milling or similar?

Any ideas on this Terry?

Re: 321 (or is it 123?) Blocks

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:21 pm
by Wizard of the Moor
They are very good for use as temporary fixtures. You can bolt them together to form a right angle and then use that for aligning parts when resistance soldering (or glueing, or whatever).

They can also be used to bolt a piece of work to, either on its own or mounted on a sub-base. The 1-2-3 block can then be held at an angle in a vice to allow milling or drilling operations.

They are also useful with a sine bar for setting things up at certain angles, although a set of slip gauges is more often used for this.

I have sets in various sizes from ARC Eurotrade and find them to be good value for money. Usual disclaimer.

Re: 321 (or is it 123?) Blocks

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:33 pm
by Terry Bendall
Enigma wrote:Any ideas on this Terry?

Nope! :D Like Paul this is something new to me and is yet another confirmation of something I have held for many years - learn something new everyday!

They obviously have several uses as James suggests although I cannot think of anything that I have done in the last few years where something like this would have been useful. That may just be due to the nature of what I make and how I go about it.

I have a fairly modest collection of tools and equipment and find I can do all that I need to do with what I have. That said, if I do buy something new I then wonder how I managed without it. :) The best advice is what I wrote on page 22 of Scalefour News 22. Start with the basics and buy other things when you find you cannot do what you need to do without it.

Terry Bendall

Re: 321 (or is it 123?) Blocks

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:59 pm
by Wizard of the Moor
Another use for 1-2-3 blocks that I found today is using anpair of them to hold components to file an accurate right angle.


Here you can just see the excess part of a stanchion sticking out above the blocks ready to be filed. More details can be found in my iron ore hopper building thread.