Sometimes machine shops that develop a neat solution for their own machining challenge decide to turn it into a product line. KME CNC is such an operation. The company is well-known in radio-controlled (RC) helicopter circles, and the challenge of holding tight tolerances for its billet aluminum helicopter engine components drove it to develop an innovative fifth-axis tombstone device that enables HMCs to complete multiple parts in one setup.
KME co-owners Jerome Mezzasalma and Kevin Liboon first thought of installing rotary indexers on either side of a T-style tombstone, which would enable their HMC to produce two parts per setup. However, the men realized they could install servomotors that power individual rotary indexers within the hollow tombstone. As a result, the indexers extend only a couple inches from either face of the tombstone, taking up less space within the HMC’s work zone than surface-mounted indexers. Plus, the servomotors, circuit boards and all power and signal cables are safely housed within the tombstone.
The men say small parts less than 7 inches wide are ideal for this system, but it is possible to install virtually any size of servomotor into a tombstone to fixture larger parts. Check out this fifth-axis HMC tombstone concept in Booth W-1270.