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There’s something about a jig. We all love and appreciate the tools in our shops and what they can do for us. They do all of the heavy lifting in processing and assembling the materials we’re using to create a finished product, but jigs are the things we turn to when we want to make that lifting a little easier on the back. Jigs are like the physical version of workshop tips, those little shortcuts, hacks, and workarounds that make the job so much easier and more efficient. A good jig can make all of the difference between a frustrating and tedious build and one that’s manageable, even pleasant. Here are 8 mechanical shop helpers that we think exemplify the wonders of the simple (and not-so-simple) jig.

3D Print a Rotary Tool Holder

_DSC2812_display_large_preview_featuredI’ve written about this 3D printed rotary tool holder before. I love the accessory jigs and holders I have for my Dremel tool, such as the flexishaft. I’m seriously thinking about printing one of these. A stationary Dremel opens up all sorts of additional possibilities.

Build an Adjustable Bottle Cutter

bottleCutter_3-620x465If you want to cut bottles using the 30-second cutting method, this simple jig will make scribing the glass so much easier.

You Need These Ultimate Helping Hands

Photo_19-620x413Anyone who does electronics knows how essential so-called Helping Hands (aka Third Hands) are in successful soldering. We’ve covered a number of Helping Hands projects here in the past. This “Ultimate” 3D printed version is great because you can print out and add as many arms as you desire.

Try Out these Wedging Corner Clamps

cornerClamps_1-620x348I love the simplicity of these wedging corner clamps from popular YouTube woodworker Izzy Swan.

Router Jig for Dovetailing

s121_004f01The woodworking site Woodsmith Tips has plans for building this straightforward and fairly easy to construct jig for creating dovetail joints using a hand router.

Make a Right-Angle Welding Jig

oMdVTmcVOmKIVRlTIn this Make: Projects post, Mister Jalopy shows you how to make an essential bit of welding kit, a corner welding jig.

Make Your Own Beading Tool

beadingToolYou can scribe a decorative bead along a board by simple screwing a wood screw into it so that the head of the screw becomes a scribe for cutting the bead. You can even grind a burr into the head to create a sharper cutting surface.

Bowl-Turning Table Saw Jig

bowl1OK, so this is not an essential or a simple jig, but it’s a great example of how a jig can take a tool in a whole new direction, in this case, allowing you to turn a bowl on a table saw.