A workholding system refers to any mechanical devices that clamp a workpiece firmly and keep the clamped object stationary for machining works. The mechanism that a workholding system applies to secure the work piece comes in a wide variety of possibilities. A work holding device can clamp a workpiece with jaws such as vices, chucks, or jigs; it can also attract metal objects by magnetic force such as magnetic bars; it can secure a workpiece with suction such as vacuum chucks; still, a work holding system can clamp a workpiece with the bolts and slots on the surface such as an angle plate. Angle plates are essentially a type of workholding system that secures a work piece in place during a machining operation. The angle plates can be divided into two basic categories: the adjustable angle plates and fixed angle plates.
Whether it is a fixed angle plate or an adjustable angle plate, the general configuration of these workholding devices is akin. An angle plate is often made of cast iron. On the surface of an angle plate, slotted holes or T bolt slots are machined. The slots are where a work piece is attached. The adjustable angle plates have a set of moving parts, usually screws, at the base which allows the plate to incline or tilt to fit particular machining angles. As a result, the adjustable angle plate is also called a tilting table. The primary goal of an angle plate is to hold a metal workpiece for marking out, measuring, or general purpose milling operations.
The clamping surface of an angle plate is basically a piece of flat made of cast iron. There are usually slots on the flat where a workpiece can be attached and temporarily fixed for machining operations. Regardless of the type, adjustable angle plates or fixed angle plates, the bolt slots on the plate can be machined in any shape. It is typically long slots that are machined across the plate surface; it can also be small holes that are drilled on the plate in any pattern.
The configuration of the angle plate differs by its types. An adjustable angle plate is usually a square or rectangular plate. On the other hand, a fixed angle plate is two plates combined with each other perpendicularly on the sides which form an L shape from its side view. Based on the end application of the plates, the angle plates can be as small as a bookshelf on the table and it can be large enough that the top side of the plate reaches the ceiling. The large adjustable angle plates are used for clamping workpieces in larger size.
The use of an angle plate for clamping workpieces requires fixtures, bolts or other types of fixture accessories. The angle plate only serves as a platform to place the work piece. The work pieces to be clamped are positioned and secured with the tiny fixtures screwing into the bolt slots or holes. With these slots and holes, the work pieces can be fixed in any position possible according to the pattern and size of the slots and holes.
The first difference between a fixed angle plate and an adjustable angle plate is that the adjustable angle plate allows a certain level of movement for the workpiece when the workpiece is fixed on the plate. The adjustable angle plate is attached to a base by pins or screws. Therefore, the plate can incline or tilt along the radial axis of the screw. To adjust the incline angle, the screw has to be loosened first. After the plate is adjusted to the desired angle, the screw should be fastened again.
The other difference is that, with an adjustable angle plate, a workpiece is clamped on a horizontal basis and tilted if necessary. However, a fixed angle plate has the work pieces clamped in vertical position. A fixed angle plate is applicable when the machining operation is performed by a horizontal machining center while the adjustable angle plate works better with a vertical machining center.
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