Tooling & Workholding

Workholding

Workholding refers to any device that is used to a secure a workpiece and hold it in place against the forces of machining. The most basic workholding device is a simple clamp that is screwed into place on a machining center’s table, but workholding can also involve complex fixtures that are custom-built for particular parts. Other common workholding devices include vises and chucks, as well as indexers or rotary tables that are able to change the part’s position while it is held, so the machine can reach various features of the part without the setup having to be changed. In most machining applications, workholding also locates the part. In turning, for example, a chuck not only holds the part securely but also holds it precisely on the centerline of the spindle. On a machining center, the vise or fixture that holds the part may also hold it in the precise position and orientation where the machining program expects to find it. For this reason, components such as locating pins and workstops that make it easy to place piece after piece in the same location are also common workholding components.

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Featured Zone Content

The Case for Custom Fixturing


Photos of custom fixtures illustrate the types of applications that call for non-standard workholding.

Small Engine Precision Fuels Fifth-Axis Production Workholding Concept


The challenge holding tight tolerances for its billet RC helicopter engine components drove this company to develop an innovative fifth-axis tombstone device to complete multiple parts on an HMC in one setup.

Get That Part off the Table


Vertical machining centers with simultaneous five-axis machining capability have become popular in recent years.

Incremental Automation


This machine tool supplier sees shops searching for just a little bit of unattended capacity. Many shops are closer to obtaining this extra capacity than they realize.



Dillon jaw nuts and keys

Heat-Treated Jaw Nuts, Keys Provide Durable Workholding

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
Dillon’s jaw nuts and keys are made of 4140 heat-treated steel and provide high wear resistance, impact resistance, higher tensile strength and extended jaw nut life compared to jaws made from case-hardened 1018 steel.

Modular Vise Offers Three Setup Modes for Flexibility

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
Glacern Machine Tools offers its Glacern Modular Vise (GMV) designed for flexibility and fast setups in three modes.

MarkForged printed jaw

One-Offs Without Tradeoffs

By: Peter Zelinski
Does it have to be expensive to produce a one-off part? Does the one-off have to fall short of the manufactured part’s properties? A Boston-area 3D printer maker has an idea for how to produce components that are both low quantity and industrial quality.

Indexing Technologies MBT manual tables

Indexing Tables Support Moving Work between Machines

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
The MBT series of manual indexing tables from Indexing Technologies incorporates a precision Hirth coupling (face gear) for optimum positioning accuracy, repeatability and rigidity.

Vise System for Quickly Clamping 16 Parts

By: Peter Zelinski
A New York job shop minimizes setup and change-over time with a homegrown system consisting of closely spaced double-acting vises embedded into a plate. After using it for decades, the shop is now supplying this system to other shops.


Self centering vise is a cost effective and universal workholding method for five sided machining.
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