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By Paul Anderson

I know that several devices are available for holding parallels against the two vise jaws when setting up a project in the milling machine. I’m sure many of them work very well, but here is a quick and easy substitute that only costs from a few hundred to several thousand dollars! Just kidding.

Parallel Separator

The material forming the black “snake” in the photo is the steel banding usually thrown away after a delivery from my local lumber yard. Some places have gone to plastic banding, but you can still sometimes find the “old-fashioned” steel banding. This particular piece was 3/4″ wide and .030″ thick. Your mileage – as some are fond of saying – may vary, but that is good.

Some smaller sizes are good when working with shorter parallels. I have used what they call boning (used to stiffen clothing like corsets, etc.) from the costume shop in the college theatre department, which is where I work, to make a smaller version.

Ultimately, any springy material that can be bent and will hold a shape works just fine.

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