Guest Post by Pat Mullery
I worked primarily with the Monarch MF-375 Z-Clip System for a year or so before I realized they made other sizes and shapes. I also only used them for hanging removable panels on vertical surfaces until I discovered some “magic” numbers embedded in their design. Let’s look at the MF-375 again to see what they are.
The z-clip is ¼” over all in thickness and each portion is 1/8” thick. The “lift-off” dimension is 3/8” (hence the -375). These dimensions allow us to use MF-375s in many other types of applications. In some instances we can attach the mating portion of the MF-375 to a horizontal surface by using a ½”x1/2”x1/8” sharp corner aluminum angle. The inside dimension of the angle is also 3/8” and although the sharp corner angle is not tapered like the MF-375 they mate perfectly (for that matter the same size structural angle will also work, but the architectural extrusion is more readily available). In some instances you will use an unequal leg angle but the “eighths” seem to be relatively easy to get and use. This modular “eighths” dimension seems to work in many applications.
We built a very thin millwork wall design which used 2 sets of 1/8”x 3” aluminum flat bars to span plywood studs and the extrusions were relatively inexpensive and easy to get and fabricate. The skins were readily removable ½” plywood panels with MF-375s on the back. The z-clips mated perfectly with the 1/8” flat bar and were located to allow the panels to align with the plywood studs to locate the panels both vertically and horizontally. This all allowed us to keep the entire wall thickness down to 4” without complicated notches in the studs which were already drilled for the electrician to run power and data in them.
The MF-375 is available in a clip form and also a longer continuous extrusion, with or without pre-punched holes. These come in handy for hanging large arrays of wall panels. The long extrusions which are 72” or 144” long, we call them z-bars, are easier to level over long runs than discreet clips and the additional cost of continuous extrusions versus discrete clips is offset by the speed and ease with which they can be installed.
When installing z-clips on large panel arrays or many columns in the same area we take some time to set the most convenient level with a laser and use a spacer or layout stick to set the ones above and below it. This allows us to set several columns in an area or several walls at the same levels.
The underlying theme in all of these applications is that using a set of mating extrusions or various compatible extrusions allows you to organize your project and fabricate and install it in the most elegant and efficient manner. This saves you money and results in a sharp, clean installed project.
About the Author
Pat Mullery is a Project Manager at Creative Concepts of Orlando, Inc. Pat has been in the cabinet and architectural millwork business for over 25 years with a short detour into theme park equipment manufacturing. In previous lives, Pat has been an aircraft electrician on AV8A Harriers and a prototype builder of defense department equipment.