Woodenspoke Posted February 4, 2009 Report Share Posted February 4, 2009 I recently posted info about the various clamps used in making a hand Fret Press. The two style of clamps used are the standard Vice Grip or Mole-grip style C clamp; or welding clamp; and the Facom 506. The Facom 506 in the USA is a hard to find tool. If you happen to be in Europe where it is manufactured (made in France) you should be able to get one easily and for less money. You can see the differences in this picture. For this conversion I decided to go with a Facom 506. Why use a more expensive pair of pliers you may wonder. First I was able to find a pair on ebay for a reasonable price and I don't have to modify these pliers to make the conversion. I can use the production Fret Press "Jaws" made by Stumac to guide me through the process. If I follow their design I should have a working Fret Press as soon as I am finished. Yes it will cost me about $30(US) more to use these pliers over a Vice or Mole-Grip, but I will still save approx $130 (US) over the original. I expect to spend less time on the conversion or less time reinventing the wheel. You can also use the Facom 501 pliers (same pliers but without the swivel pad) however you will have to change the Lower jaw shape using a grinder then drill a hole for the pin. If you have these pliers look at the picture below to see what you have to change. PART 1 : Disassembly (plans are in part 5 of my thread) Step one disassembly. Using a drill bit, hand drill and a several narrow pin punches I was able to remove the upper jaw and the swivel jaw. The Pliers are now ready to convert into a Fret Press. How simple. The 506 is shown upside down for this picture so the upper jaw is on the bottom. If you look at the StuMac "Jaws" this is the direction we will make our conversion. If you think about it you will be pushing down on the pliers and seating your fret just like you would with an arbor or drill press. Makes sense, but seems weird if you have ever used a pair of locking pliers. The tension/pressure screw is the barrel on the handle. Works just like most locking pliers external screw. To remove the pins I drilled out one side of each of the two solid pins until I was close to the shaft. This means there was still a small thin ring of metal around the flared pin. I then use a narrow punch to hammer out the pins. The small roll pin did not need to be drilled. The tension washer was from the swivel pad. Not sure if I will reuse it but I have the loose parts in a plastic bag if I do need anything. The two solid pins will be replaced with roll pins for this conversion plus one additional roll pin for the lower support block. I will also need a small piece of 3/4 x 1 " x 2 3/4" aluminum rectangle for the Press arbor, and a 3/8 x 1" x 4 1/2" aluminum rectangle for the lower support rail. These will be a readly available T6061 grade aluminum. The original uses a Brass lower rail but after doing some research on material hardness I saw no reason to use the more expensive brass rail. The lower jaw block will be made of wood as I couldn't think of any other material that would be as easy to shape and not add to the overall cost. I will assume every one has enough material to make a hardwood block 1 1/4" wide 3" long and 1 3/8" tall (slightly over sized). Since we will be using woodworking power tools I suggest you have at least 1/2 ft of length of both of the aluminum rectangles so you don't kill yourself trying to feed such small pieces through a machine by hand. I will be using a 1ft length of each for my own safety. I will use a table saw, dill press (hand drill) and a router table to make the parts as most members have access to these tools. A band saw can also cut aluminum easily. If you don't have a good router you can use a hand drill and a file to make some of the parts. More to follow Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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