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In a modern machining process, a workholding system is commonly applied to assure the precision and accuracy of the operation. The primary goal of a work holding system is to hold a work piece in place so that machining operations can be performed onto it. There are several ways to keep a workpiece stationary. A workpiece can be secured by a chuck, a vise, a vacuum, or a magnetic plate, etc. A V block is a kind of working holding system which has the ability to properly secure work pieces in certain shapes.
The most typical clamping mechanism that most work holding systems apply is a clamping force created by means of closing up the jaws on the system. When the jaws come closer to each other, the workpiece placed in between the jaws is secured; however, there are no jaws on V blocks. In order to hold a workpiece in place with a V block, a fastening bolt is needed. The fastening bolt is a screw which is hung over the block by an arc. Sometimes there are more than one threaded holes in the arc so that multiple fastening bolts can be used to secure the work piece.
V blocks are also called Vee blocks. They are manufactured from cast iron and accurately ground to produce precise surfaces. Sometimes, small V blocks are made from mild steel or other steel-based materials. Generally speaking, a V block has a V shaped top surface where a work piece is placed. The base of a V block often comes in with two legs which is symmetrical to the V shaped top surface of it so that the entire V block has an X configuration. Though there is a wide variety of base design the V blocks have, the V blocks in X configuration are one of the most common types.
The fastening bolts are composed of two parts: the knurled head and the thread. They are screwed through the arc to fasten a work piece. The arc is called a clamp. As the bolt is screwed and advanced to the V channel on the top surface of the V block, it clamps the workpiece. The V blocks can be used to clamp cylindrical materials or cubic materials. They are paired and used as a set to clamp work pieces with longer length: one to clamp and the other to support.
Instead of holding a workpiece in place for machining operation like other types of work holding system do, V blocks can be used to make marks on cylindrical materials with round cross section. To mark a round cross section material, a key seat rule is used. The key seat rule is a ruler that has a V cross section. It is placed on the body of the cylindrical material to measure the length.
The V block sets can not only clamp a cylindrical material, but also clamp work pieces with a square cross section. In this case, the work piece is positioned on the block with one vertex fitting into the V channel. Therefore, the thread of the fastening bolt is fed through the clamp at a 45 degree angle onto the flat surface of the material.
In general, a tubular work piece is secured by a V block set with a block clamp on one end of the material and the other block clamps or supports the other end of the material. This way, the tubular workpiece can be either measured or machined. The block set will be fixed onto a lathe or a work table by bolt clamps.
Besides the regular V blocks that clamp the workpiece with a clamp and bolt fasteners, there are also V blocks that apply other clamping mechanisms to secure a material, such as the magnetic V blocks. The magnetic V blocks are ideal for pulling and securing iron- and steel-based materials. By applying magnetism, a workpiece can be clamped firmly and without the fastening accessories, there is more room to perform machining operations on the work piece. In addition, since they do not rely on physical clamping methods, they are less likely to fail while in operation.
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