Square Chuck Guide

What is a square chuck?

A square chuck is a subtype of the scroll chucks. The other types of the scroll chucks that are applied widely are the three jaw chucks and the four jaw chucks. The chucks are a member of the so-called work holding systems. The work holding systems are the devices or instruments to secure an object in place by clamping or other measures. The object to be held is called a work piece. It is secured firmly so that it can be further processed in a turning-work operation.

As one of the work holding systems that are commonly implemented, the square chuck shares more identical features with the four jaw chucks whether in their configuration or clamping mechanism. Despite the differences and the similarities they have, these three types of scroll chucks are all important elements to the lathe tooling and lathe machining in the modern manufacturing industry, and the features of them are so different that the use of each of them are not interchangeable.

The structure of a chuck

The structure of a chuck can be narrowed down to as simple as jaws and the base. The base is the body of the chuck. It is a plate-like device to hold control to the movements of the jaws. The base of a typical four jaw chuck or three jaw chuck is called the faceplate. The faceplate is a circular plate with slots and screw holes to control the jaws and for the chuck to be mounted to the lathe spindle. The slots, or the t-slots to be specific, are configured radial symmetric to the center of the faceplate. However, the faceplate of a square chuck is different from the other two. It is the only scroll chuck with a square faceplate, which makes it look like the tombstone of a universal vice almost.

The jaws of a chuck are also called dogs. When it comes to scroll chucks, no matter it is a three jaw chuck, four jaw chuck, or a square chuck, there are two pieces of a jaw: the top jaw and the bottom jaw. The top jaw has a step edge facing the center of the plate and a long edge facing outward. They are bolted to the faceplate through the t-slots which connect the top jaws and bottom jaws. The bottoms jaws determine if the top jaws are tightened or loosened the clamp, which means to open or close the jaws. The three jaw chuck is different from the four jaw chuck and the square chuck because there are only three jaws on it while there are four on the other two. The mechanism of the three jaw chuck unique as well because the bottom jaws of a three jaw chuck are interconnected to each so that the movement of the jaws are in unison. This mechanism is called self-centering. The jaws on a four jaw chuck or a square chuck are not locked to each other and can move independently.

There are two ways of securing a work piece with these three types of chucks. The jaws can be tightened, or closed, to clamp the work piece with the step edges. It works exactly the same as literally grabbing something with the claws. The clamping is similar to that of the universal vices except that there are only two jaws on a vice. In addition to the clamping work holding, the configuration of the jaws allows the chucks to hold a work piece by opening the jaws and leaning the long edges against the inner recess, or mortise, of a work piece. Since the stability is not enough to secure a work piece this way with only two jaws, a vice is not capable of this way of clamping.

Overall comparisons between the chucks

The square chucks, three jaw chucks and four jaw chucks share similar features to each counterpart while they also have some differences at the same time. There are four jaws on both the four jaw chucks and the square chucks; the three jaw chucks and the four jaw chucks both have a circular faceplate. With four jaws, the square chucks and the four jaw chucks provide more powerful clamping force. With the round-shaped faceplates, the three jaw chucks and the four jaw chucks allows much greater turning mobility than the square chucks. They can all be useful in lathe machining if the correct type of chuck is properly applied.

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