A jaws chuck, as what its name describes, is a chuck with jaws. A jaws chuck is one category of lathe chuck, which is used to hold the workpieces to do machining works. Unlike the vices, which usually use two parallel jaws to clamp workpieces. With different sizes and shapes of workpieces, they need more stable support to hold them without dropping off. Thus, lathe chucks are designed to accommodate to different need of the workpieces. Lathe chucks are mounted to a spindle, which rotates within a headstock. They provide a variety of jaws chucks, including 2-jaw, 3-jaw, 4-jaw, or 6-jaw chucks. There are relatively more spaces for how the jaws are placed. With the various forms of the jaws chucks, they are able to hold workpieces with different shapes, such as round, square, hexagonal, or other irregular workpieces, which are what vices cannot work on.
There is another type of chucks called drill chucks. A drill chuck consists of only one jaw and is used to hold workpieces with round shape. Comparing to drill chucks, the lathe chucks with multiple jaws provide higher diversity of applications in the machining works.
Since a jaws chuck is operated by the rotating of the spindle in conjunction with the clamping of the jaws, it should ensure the workpiece is placed in the center. Therefore, jaws chucks are differentiated into two categories depending on the centering procedures, including self-centering chucks and independent chucks.
● Self-centering chucks
Self-centering chucks come in combination with 2 jaws, 3 jaws, 4 jaws, or 6 jaws, depending on the forms of the workpieces, which are also called universal chucks. They are mounted on lathes and indexing heads and usually used to hold round or hexagonal workpieces, which require the middle of the workpieces stay concentric. In other words, the angles of each jaw are not removable in order to keep the force that the workpieces receive stay equal. When it comes to the stability, 4-jaw chucks and 6-jaw chucks are more commonly used in self-centering chucks.
● Independent chucks
Instead of staying the same angle or position, each jaw of an independent chuck is removable, which allows the operator to do different setup depending on the shapes of the workpieces or the need of the machining works. Independent chucks are usually made of 4 jaws, and are used to hold irregular workpieces due to the adjustable jaws. Independent chucks provide more control of the operators, so they are also applied in the holding of heavy-duty workpieces.
In some cases, a self-centering chuck and an independent chuck would be combined together to accommodate to special need of the machining works, which is called combination chuck. Combination chucks takes more time to setup since they are the compounds of self-centering and independent chucks. With a combination chuck, more versatile applications of machining works can be achieved. What’s more, a combination chuck enhances the efficiency of the machining works, since the functions of a self-centering chuck and an independent chuck are added up together.
Typical jaws chucks can be simply divided into two types depending on the number of jaws and the centering procedure, including 3-jaw universal chuck and 4-jaw independent chuck.
1. 3-jaw universal chuck
A 3-jaw universal chuck consists of three jaws, each jaw is placed beside another with equal intervals, and the jaws are not removable so as to keep the workpieces in the middle concentric. There are two small categories in 3-jaw universal chuck, including 3-jaw scroll chucks and 3-jaw power chucks. 3-jaw scroll chucks is operated by receiving pressure given from the operators’ manual force, while 3-jaw power chucks is operated by hydraulic pressure. During the process of clamping workpieces, the three jaws would move at the same time, which give the same pressure to the workpieces in order to ensure the force is equally distributed to the workpieces.
2. 4-jaw independent chuck
A 4-jaw independent chuck consists of four jaws, each jaw can be moved independently to accommodate to different shapes of the workpieces. Comparing to a 3-jaw universal chuck, a 4-jaw independent chuck provides more powerful and stable force to hold heavier or irregular shapes of the workpieces. Furthermore, a 4-jaw independent chuck offers better accuracy in different need of machining works, since the angles or positions of the workpieces are adjustable. During the process of the clamping works, the operators should adjust the jaws chuck manually so as to keep the workpieces staying in the right place and prevent deviation of the products made from the workpieces.
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