Cheap/Alternative Tool Reviews

So I found a few odds and ends looking through the most recent sale at and figured I would do an initial review on the things I picked up. Some things are for general fabrication and some are specific for the 3/4" tables. I don’t have much time using any of it, so I’ll need to post updates to let everyone know how they’re working out long term. I’ll post the prices, but if you’re not familiar with Banggood, be aware they fluctuate a lot, and sales are worth waiting for (sometimes).

With that out of the way, time to dig in.

3/4"/19mm table, side pusher clamps:

Side pusher clamps (2 for $20.99). The ratcheting wrench was included with the clamps. Not as convenient as the double side pusher from Fireball that uses knobs to tighten the clamp, but not too bad, and they’re small and easier to fit in a tight space than the double pusher. They fit the table holes well and seem to provide good side pushing force without anything feeling stressed. The only note or complaint is that it sits a tad too low and you can trap the wrench on the end of the rod. An o-ring at the base of the wide spot on the clamp was perfect to space it up so that it can’t bind up.

Cam clamps ($10-12 depending on length):

I picked these up figuring they’d be worth a look, and probably totally adequate to hold down a table topper or parts that aren’t thick and likely to warp like crazy. I’m not disappointed with them, but I can definitely imagine they will be much quicker to wear out than any of the clamps from Fireball due to the cam action being anodized aluminum on anodized aluminum. They do seem to develop more clamping power than I anticipated they would, so in a pinch I wouldn’t have a problem using them in an important setup if nothing else will fit in the available space, but I’ll mostly use them in situations where they will see less load just to help them last longer.

Saddle squares:

Two saddle squares I snagged because of a thread on here about transferring lines around a tube. First impressions are that I like the red one ($17.99) better due to it not needing a pin that can be lost (it IS included with the black version, not an extra thing to buy), and the fact that it’s marked with inch markings instead of metric. The black model ($10.99) does have more angles you can set it at, and is potentially more flexible, but I think it’s not quite as good as the red version because of having to keep track of the pin to make it fully functioning.

Foam Bench Dogs

These were so cheap I figured they’d be worth having around for when I need to use the Dragon Wagons as a work bench where I want to assemble something that I want to keep clean and supported up off of the table surface. I thought they’d also be a good way to keep a table topper in place for short quick jobs where I didn’t want to clamp it down, but also didn’t want it to move around. Probably wouldn’t have picked them up except they were $4.99 for 8 of them, and I figure if I use them, at some point they’re going to save me $5 worth of damage to the table tops.

That’s all I’ve got to share for now. Anyone else have a cheap tool or table fixture from somewhere besides Fireball that they want to share with the class?