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  1. #1
    Pierce Butler is offline Hot Rolled
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    Default 123 blocks - different uses

    I have a feeling that I am missing something with 123 blocks. What are the various uses around your shop?

  2. #2
    Finegrain is online now Titanium
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    I use 'em as step blox on the mill table. These are the $8 ones, BTW :-).

    I also use 'em as counterweights when I've got something funky-shaped on the lathe faceplate.

    Finegrain

  3. #3
    AlexBanich's Avatar
    AlexBanich is offline Stainless
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    I use 123 blocks to set up my grind all fixture on the grinder.

  4. #4
    ImanCarrot is offline Aluminum
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    I'd like to know too- only ever used em for making right angles on the mill bed.

    There's got to be other uses? Why all them holes and why some threaded and why do the thru holes not fit the bolts for my t- slots on the mill? seems like they are useless paperweights?

    I must be missing something...

  5. #5
    thomj is offline Aluminum
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    You guys got to be kidding. There are a kazillion uses for 1-2-3 blocks. They are a must have tool for a job shop machinist. I keep four of them in my tool box. I use them on the mill when you want to mill or drill thru a part to big for the vise. You can use them to hold parts in place on the blanchard or surface grinder. You can mill on a long part by setting them under the ends of the part and clamping the part in the vise in the center, them toe clamp the ends down to the 1-2-3 blocks. I've used them to get extra height when my gage blocks will not go high enough. When I worked on large die cast dies, I would place them under the corners of large holders or inserts on the mill and most of the time I wouldn't even have to tie it down to the table. Just indicate and start making chips. Just another tool to keep in mind when doing set ups.

  6. #6
    David Utidjian's Avatar
    David Utidjian is offline Titanium
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    I have a matched pair of Starrett No 706BZ 1-2-3 blocks. They are so nicely finished that they even wring. I use them for gaging and inspection setups on the surface plate.

    I have a couple sets of the 'swiss cheese' 1-2-3 blocks that I got from Shars for setups on the mill, lathe, drill press, and band saw. I checked all of them with blue and they are not particularly flat but, on average, they are all within a few tenths of size and will fit both square and flat.

    I made up some special T-nuts and bought some long SHCS for bolting them directly to my mill table via the through holes. The threaded holes are metric in mine, I forget which size. The problem with using the through holes is that it 'uses up' some of the cross drilled holes. There was an article a while back in one of the HSM magazines on making 'rod-nuts' that were cross drilled and tapped. Slide the rod-nut into a through hole and bolt it together with another 1-2-3 block. My cheapo blocks have so many hardened burrs in the holes that it is not yet possible for me to do this. Some day I will use a dremel tool and grind them out. It would probably be cheaper to get some better finished cheapo 1-2-3 blocks though.

    If you have the patience to get together a selection of SCHS screws and make the other bits and pieces they can be quite handy for fixturing.

    -DU-

  7. #7
    Greg White is offline Titanium
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    Default I have a set of 10

    Yep 10,used em prolly on any machine i touched,homemade no holes,small slot(very small)
    with my intials in it.
    paralles
    spacers
    risers
    heel blocks(with a pc. of brass for softner)
    crude gage blocks
    shucks man,gotta have em
    gw

  8. #8
    Jerald MI. is offline Hot Rolled
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    I mostly used my blocks for setups as others have mentioned and we drilled them to lighten them up.
    Some blocks with holes were dipped in paint before finish grinding and when complete the paint added a bit of "beauty" to them.

    Most all blocks had a slot where the owner stamped his....and much later "her" initials; maybe a date.

    Those of us with several sets of 123 blocks reground them to 25/50/75 MM in the 70's.-Jerald

  9. #9
    Greg King is offline Aluminum
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    True 1-2-3 blocks should be within 0.0002 of an inch. They can then be used to extend your height gage by an even value. While I was a Model maker I even made variation of sizes that included 0.5 x 1.0 x 1.5 that got a lot of use.

    Independent CNC Programmer
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  10. #10
    ImanCarrot is offline Aluminum
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    Thanks for the info. I got three sets of them (Brown and Sharp, metric) and just thought there must be something else they're useful for other than parallells and paperweights.

  11. #11
    toastydeath is offline Hot Rolled
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    I use them for touching stuff off on the mill. Sometimes, the part is awkward and there's no way to get the edgefinder into a sane place. Throw a block in the vice against the stops, and now everything can be hit easily. Though lately I've been wishing for some 2x4x6's or a small box parallel set.

  12. #12
    PaulT is offline Stainless
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    Another way I use them is to set zero on a part wider than my vice. On my machine my vice corner is set to 0,0 so if I'm working on a piece that needs to overhang the vice on each end I'll grab a 1,2,3 block, choose 1 2 or 3 inches of offset, hold the block against the side of the vice, line the edge of the workpiece against the outside edge of the block and then clamp. Then just offset X on the machine by 1, 2 or 3 inches and my zero is set.

    I sometimes bolt them to an odd shaped part or casting to allow me to clamp the block in the vice to hold the part. I don't think I've ever bolted them to each other to make a 'mini" angle plate thou, I've got some small angle plates I use instead.

    Paul T.

  13. #13
    AlexBanich's Avatar
    AlexBanich is offline Stainless
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    I do mainly surface grinding and CNC thats off a fixture. So for all purposes for me I only need them MAINLY for my fixture. They are though the most versatile thing in the shop and surely you need more than one set!!

  14. #14
    Volitan is offline Cast Iron
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    I use one to hold the door open to my office. I put the block on the floor with a 3/8-16 socket head sticking out of it. I unscrew the screw a little bit to catch on the door when I get in, and screw it back down when its time to go home.

    Also, the forklift doesn't have a good parking brake anymore so I jam one under the tire on the uneven terrain.

    I have a third one, but I can't locate it right now. I throw it at the operators. It'll turn up.

  15. #15
    huntinguy is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volitan View Post
    I use one to hold the door open to my office. I put the block on the floor with a 3/8-16 socket head sticking out of it. I unscrew the screw a little bit to catch on the door when I get in, and screw it back down when its time to go home.

    Also, the forklift doesn't have a good parking brake anymore so I jam one under the tire on the uneven terrain.

    I have a third one, but I can't locate it right now. I throw it at the operators. It'll turn up.


    Oh, wait your serious

  16. #16
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    haha, I like this post.
    I use them for anything and everything. I never thought about a .5X 1.0 X 1.5. Neat idea.
    I always wondered, on a standard gage block why are half the holes tapped and the other half just holes?

  17. #17
    WA Toolman is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmari --MariTool- View Post
    haha, I like this post.
    I use them for anything and everything. I never thought about a .5X 1.0 X 1.5. Neat idea.
    I always wondered, on a standard gage block why are half the holes tapped and the other half just holes?
    The alternate tapped and clearance size holes are to allow you to make up all sorts of quicky fixtures using the 1-2-3 blocks. Moore, (the Jig Bore folks) put out a book showing many of the setups that can be done with 1-2-3 blocks. Also, Brown&Sharpe has a little book, and there is a book called something like "Inspection And Gaging" that shows many of the ways you can build up 1-2-3 blocks for fast, simple, accurate setups.

  18. #18
    huntinguy is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by WA Toolman View Post
    The alternate tapped and clearance size holes are to allow you to make up all sorts of quicky fixtures using the 1-2-3 blocks. Moore, (the Jig Bore folks) put out a book showing many of the setups that can be done with 1-2-3 blocks. Also, Brown&Sharpe has a little book, and there is a book called something like "Inspection And Gaging" that shows many of the ways you can build up 1-2-3 blocks for fast, simple, accurate setups.
    Yep, and Moore makes a smaller size that bolt up as well. Best part is the holes are counter bored for the caps screws so you can place the part right over the bolt. Second most useful things since fingers. You are only limited by your imagination and hole placements.

  19. #19
    Regal13's Avatar
    Regal13 is offline Cast Iron
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    Yes!!! You truly are only limited by your imagination as to how to use them.

    my 1-2-3 block use of the day:

    clamp them in the vice around the part for a good grip and still have access to mill details in the space between the vice jaws and the part.

  20. #20
    Jerald MI. is offline Hot Rolled
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    1/2" x 1" x 1 1/2"- we had them and called them "Half Blocks". I don't think I ever saw a set re-ground to metric dimensions.-Jerald

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