Design and Development of Fixtures and Jigs for Adaptive CNC Machining

Jack Lie CNC machining expert

Specialize in CNC Milling, CNC Turning, 3D Printing, Urethane Casting, and Sheet Metal Fabrication Services.

Fixtures and Jigs frequently assist as key production floor manufacturing tools that can help smooth out part assembly, make effective work process measures, improve overall assembling quality, help reduce production costs, and automate work.

This blog post discusses the design and development of fixtures to empower a successful and adaptive CNC machining. Even though fixtures are most regularly created by utilizing CNC machining, this post additionally explores how industrial 3D printing can be an astounding choice or option in contrast to machining when unpredictable, complicated, or smaller jigs and fixtures are mandatory.

Dedicated Fixtures vs. Modular Fixtures

Most fixtures are intended for a specific workpiece, hence being called ‘dedicated fixtures‘. Because of the latest trends in manufacturing development a bigger product blend, adaptability, also, quality, numerous organizations are requesting fixturing frameworks to be more ‘adaptable’. Adaptable frameworks allow a variety of individual parts to be held during machining or assembling, hence limiting the expense to create each dedicated fixture and decreasing the capacity of a variety of fixtures. With ordinary expenses of dedicated fixtures adding up to 10-20% of the total assembling costs, the financial effect of adaptable fixturing could be sensational.

The conventional technique has been to design and make a ‘dedicated’ fixture with the sole goal of creating a high amount of a similar part. But, the pattern toward more prominent adaptability in production volume and product variety requires more multi-purpose fixtures.

With the requirement for adaptability and the expanding plan unpredictability of products, ‘modular fixtures’ have arisen. A modular fixture attempts to accomplish adaptability using multipurpose fixturing components. A particular fixturing framework comprises of an enormous number of standard fixturing components, for example, base plates, locators, clips, and supporting components. Utilizing these standard segments, components are chosen to manufacture a fixture arrangement to hold the workpiece. Modular fixturing components can be re-used for different products once disassembled, and they are produced with high resistances to meet workpiece requirements.

Two other fundamental factors that have made the requirement for modular fixtures include smaller cluster sizes in production and the more noteworthy use of different pivot CNC machine tools. The compatibility of modular fixture components has these patterns.

Why Use Jigs & Fixtures in CNC Machining?

There are two key reasons to use while you are attempting to have a successful and adaptive CNC machining process. One is the key role player in the manual processes while the other one plays out its role in the automated process. Let’s discuss in detail below:

  1. Jigs Help in Manual Processes

Manufacturers may utilize different kinds of jigs for a variety of manufacturing tasks inside assembling gear, however, basically, a jig holds and helps in the situation of a device to perform an assembling task. Drill bushings are a genuine example, helping guide a drill through a workpiece to keep up precise location and angle. A drill bushing can prompt greater work and speed up.

  1. Fixtures Help Automated Processes

Instead of managing an assembling tool, fixtures hold a workpiece in a protected position, direction, or area. A typical machining model is the fixture wherein a square of crude material is braced inside a CNC machine. Fixtures are key assembling tools that empower the automation of various processes. A car mechanical production system, for instance, is made possible by the fixtures that secure and move vehicles through the welding and assembling process. Moreover, they are regularly used to hold a product set up for optical and laser checking to evaluate manufacturing quality. For sure, you would be unable to find an automated mechanical cycle that doesn’t include fixtures.

Putting Jigs and Fixtures Together

Utilizing jigs and fixtures together accomplishes manufacturing accuracy for products to work appropriately. Let’s look at some of the examples for better understanding. Think about doors, cupboards, and shelves. The openings for the door handle, hook, and pivots require accurate situation and direction for drilling. The same applies to cupboards with dovetail cuts or the shelves openings on the cabinet sides. Without jigs and fixtures in place, books would slide off the shelves, drawers would be shaky, doors wouldn’t close appropriately… all things considered, and you get the thought now.

Finally, not all jigs and fixtures require to be made of metal. Much of the time, plastic can reduce expenses and meet your performance necessities.

Industrial 3D Printing Alternative for Jigs and Fixtures

Moving over machining, modern industrial 3D printing can likewise be a feasible alternative for jigs and fixtures, and, once more, both in metal or plastic. This is particularly the situation when the product is excessively hard or expensive to machine. The key is choosing which innovation fits better for a specific application.

The overall standard is: if it very well may be 3-axis CNC machined, it should be machined. Machined fixtures ordinarily have predominant surface finishes, more grounded materials, and more exactness. Likewise, for lower volume runs, expenses and turnaround times are about the same as 3D printing.

As said, 3D printing comes in to play when jigs and fixtures have irregular or complex shapes or are smaller than expected. Also, while delivering various jigs and fixtures, 3D printing can be a decent way to minimize expenses.

Stereolithography is an ideal choice for building smaller and complex jigs and fixtures in the plastic material, due to the amazing surface finishes possible on final segments. Multi Jet Fusion is likewise getting progressively famous for creating jigs and fixtures—delivering useful nylon models and end-use production parts in as little as a day.

For 3D printing metal jigs and fixtures, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) can deliver incredibly amazing things. DMLS surfaces, however, will in general be unpleasant and turnaround times are longer a result of post-processing needs.