Author Topic: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review  (Read 6638 times)

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Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 740
Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« on: May 27, 2016, 02:08 PM »
I wrote this review as part of a thread on these clamps being on sale at Sears.  However, I thought it would be good to have a copy of the review in the other tools review section of the FOG so it would be easier for people to find it in the future.

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Overall, I like the clamps.  They aren't perfect but I think their positives outweigh their negatives when compared to the Clamping Elements.

Pros
1) The Armor clamps do a good job of locking in the 20mm holes on my home made MFT.  It didn't require a lot of force to lock the clamp into the hole securely and I didn't notice any damage to the MFT hole.  Since my MFT is strictly a sanding and assembly table (I don't use it for sawing) imperfections in the holes don't matter to me.  I could see that this design would be more worrisome for someone who uses their MFT with their track saw and the holes are used for aligning cuts.

2) Unlike the clamping elements, clamping pressure is adjustable.  Out of the package they are set for minimal pressure.  I found that adjusting the pressure a bit higher resulted in much better clamping than the minimal setting.  The packaging claimed that you could adjust the pressure between 5 and 500 pounds of force.  I didn't even try to adjust it close to the maximum clamping pressure as I found that a much lower setting worked just fine.  I suspect that high clamping forces would cause more damage to the mft holes.

3) Unlike the Clamping Elements I didn't notice that using the clamps produced any nicks in the shaft that over time cause the clamping elements to become "sticky" and require filing of their shafts.  The adjustment rod on the Armor clamps appears to be made of a harder steel than the rod on the Clamping Elements

4) Construction appears to be very high quality with the majority of the clamp being made of metal components.  Only the piece that contacts the work piece, a bumper at the far end of the rod, the knob for locking the clamp into a hole on the mft, and the wedge for locking the clamp into a hole on the mft are plastic.

Cons
1) As @Edward A Reno III mentioned I did notice some lifting of the work piece when clamping pressure was applied.  Increasing the clamping pressure slightly minimized the lifting.  After I adjusted the clamping pressure I compared the lifting to the clamping elements and found it to be almost exactly the same

2) The biggest issue I saw is that the clamps are taller than the Clamping Elements.  This is most important where the rod attaches to piece that contacts the work piece.  You will need to be careful to avoid this when sanding.  In addition, a design issue (IMHO) is that the piece that contacts the work piece is 49/64" high (1/64 over 3/4").  Given that 3/4" thick lumber is so common it seems like an oversight to make this piece just higher than 3/4" so it will definitely interfere slightly during sanding.  Given that this piece is plastic I expect it will quickly get sanded down to 3/4".

3) The Armor clamps don't have quite as much reach as the Clamping Elements.  The maximum extension on the Clamping Elements is 5 5/8" from a hole in the MFT.  On the Armor clamps it is only 4 7/8".  Given the spacing of 95mm between holes on my home made MFT I did find one work piece that I couldn't clamp.  One hole put the clamp to tight to the work piece and the next hole there wasn't enough extension on the rod to reach the work piece.   A small block of wood solved the issue but it is worth mentioning.

4) The Armor clamps don't come with clamping dogs; those must be purchased separately.

Overall I liked the Armor clamps more than the Clamping Elements.  For me, the convenience of easily locking the clamp securely into an MFT hole, the adjustable clamping pressure, and the quality of construction outweigh the negatives.  If Armor would redesign the piece that contacts the work piece for better clearance and increase the length of the rod they would even be better. 

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Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2394
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2016, 07:37 PM »
Pictures?  [blink]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 740
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2016, 08:01 PM »
Pictures?  [blink]

Sorry, I didn't take pictures when I was playing with the clamps.  However, Armor has very good, detailed pictures of the clamps on their web site:

http://armor-tool.com/index.php/product/self-adjusting-line-dog-clamp

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 290
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2016, 09:47 PM »
@jbasen, regarding your comment that the clamp is too high for 3/4" material, all it takes is a spacer of thin material between your work piece and the clamp.  I typically use a section of 1/4" MDF a couple of inches wide between the clamp and the work.  This totally solves the height problem and can also be used to solve your "reach" issue.

Give it a try...

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7641
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2016, 09:54 PM »
These do look interesting. I'm not likely to rave about the Festool Clamping Elements - I think they're expensive for what they are!


Offline jbasen

  • Posts: 740
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2016, 10:46 PM »
@jbasen, regarding your comment that the clamp is too high for 3/4" material, all it takes is a spacer of thin material between your work piece and the clamp.  I typically use a section of 1/4" MDF a couple of inches wide between the clamp and the work.  This totally solves the height problem and can also be used to solve your "reach" issue.

Give it a try...

Thanks @Steve-Rice   

I have done the same thing myself but it is an inconvenience when compared to the clamping elements with their lower profile and slightly better reach. I just wanted to be unbiased in the review

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2394
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 08:40 AM »
Pictures?  [blink]

Sorry, I didn't take pictures when I was playing with the clamps.  However, Armor has very good, detailed pictures of the clamps on their web site:

http://armor-tool.com/index.php/product/self-adjusting-line-dog-clamp
  Oh, thanks for the link. Interesting clamp system.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline #Tee

  • Posts: 786
Re: Armor Auto-Pro In-Line Dog Clamp Review
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2016, 10:09 AM »
saw a bunch of text and no photos so i didnt read lol
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

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