Quick and easy method for holding sheets together, drilling or riveting.
There is a tool you can purchase for every task required in sheet metal construction. Some of these are “must haves” and some are “nice to have”. Cleco’s are a must have.
The basic steps of sheet metal repair are: template, cut to size, bend/fold/shape, test fit, adjust, test fit, adjust, weld in final position. The most important part of the process is to create an accurate fitting piece, and the easiest way to do this is make the test fit repeatable.
That is where the word “Cleco” comes into play. A Cleco is a small metal holder that is installed in a hole to temporarily fasten two pieces of metal together. They come in different sizes, with 1/8” being the most common for automotive work. Clecos are colour coded as follows:
Hole size Colour
3/32 (#40) zinc
1/8 (#30) copper
5/32 (#20) black
3/16 (#11) brass
Once the patch panel is close a small hole can be drilled, a Cleco inserted, then another. These will hold the piece tight to the surface an accurately in place. Any changes can be marked, the piece removed, modified and replaced in exactly the same position. Clecos are installed using a special type of pliers —cleco pliers. Best to have a couple of pairs of cleco pliers around, as you will use this tool regularly.
Other types of clecos are known as side grip cleco clamps and wing nut clecos. The side grip clecos are used to hold material together without holes being drilled.
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