An adjustable fixture is a type of work holding devices that is used to locate, support, and fix the workpieces securely, in order to allow the cutting tools to perform their works on them with accuracy and efficiency.
In the precision machining fields, no matter the traditional milling machines or the advanced ones that are in conjunction with computerized systems, in addition to the workpieces and cutting tools, which are the musts, there should be reliable forces to support these components as well.
The reliable forces of the machines are the work holding devices. There are various work holding devices, which are applied for the same purposes, but with different design and serve for different works.
The most common work holding devices must be the vises and chucks. The vises have two jaws that holds the rectangular workpiece in between, with one movable and the other stationary. Through the adjustment of the distance between the two jaws by the lever, the workpiece can be fastened for the machining works to perform. The chucks usually have more jaws than the vises, and are more suitable for clamping uneven shaped workpieces instead.
As for the adjustable fixtures, they are the counterparts to the vises and chucks. However, they don’t have jaws to secure around the workpieces. Instead, they allow the workpieces to rest on them, and hold them by the clamps.
Although there are no jaws on the adjustable fixtures, they can still provide the workpieces with sufficient support, and have more spaces for the adjustment, which result in their conformity and compatibility with a wide range of workpieces.
An adjustable fixture simply consist of two parts, which own the similar functions between one and another models but have slightly different design or features, including the plate and the clamps.
The plate of the adjustable fixture is shaped as a wide rectangular board. On the plate are multiple holes that are arranged with equal intervals, which can come in different sizes, and are used for setting up the clamps or other elements for the securing of workpieces.
In addition, some models are designed with slots that separate the plate with several parts, and are compatible with the rests, which are made up as frames for the workpieces to rest on, so as to facilitate more work holding methods on the plates.
The clamps on the adjustable fixture function like the jaws on the vises or chucks, which are applied for holding the workpieces in place in order to withstand the forces that are given from the cutting tools.
However, unlike the jaws on the vises, which are set on the fixed position, the clamps on the adjustable fixture are adjustable instead. This allows the fixture to accommodate to different sizes of workpieces even better than the independent chucks.
Besides, for the adjustable fixtures that are specialized in the drilling works, there would be several bushings, which are inserted into the holes, and have protruding parts for the purpose of guiding and aligning the drill bits when they are advanced into the workpieces.
● provides support for the workpieces
The first and foremost benefit of using a fixture lies in the main purpose of it, which is to provide sufficient support for the workpieces. As the above paragraph has mentioned, the important elements in the precision machining fields are not only the workpieces and tools, but also the work holding devices.
In other words, the fixture is one of the indispensable elements when it comes to machining works, which makes the processes of the works perform with smoothness.
● ensures accuracy of the works
The sturdy and firm support for the workpieces matters in the smoothness of the works. In addition, it has a lot to do with the accuracy of the works as well.
If a workpiece vibrates or deviates as the cutting tool advances toward it, it may lead to the deformation of the product that is made afterwards.
To prevent this situation from happening, a fixture plays a vital role, since it is able to locate and secure where the workpiece is supposed to be, so that the workpiece can be free from instability during machining works.
● increases efficiency and productivity
Once the fixture holds the workpiece firmly before the machining works, the time and efforts that may be spent on adjusting or replacing a new workpiece when the workpiece deviates are saved, which increases the efficiency and productivity of the works.
● reduces costs
Now that the adjustment or the requirements of supervising the works are prevented, the need of operators or employees would be reduced, and thus the costs on the failing products and the employment would be saved accordingly.
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