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  • Grid o' holes

    I'm thinking about making some more generic (universal?) fixture plates than the ones I currently use.

    Do you use a grid of holes fixture plate? What do you think of yours?

    Are there accessories you wish were available?

    Are there things you think could make it better?

    What are the things you don't like about your "universal" fixture plate?
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

  • #2
    3/8 tapped holes are preferred. 5/16 is the tap drill ( ream) , so you can use dowel pins in holes. Use set screws to plug holes so they dont clog up with chips / swarf. I now prefer no holes and drill / tap as required. Too many times the grid is not right for the job. If a large table ( cnc mill ) the grid 1/2-13 is the way to go.

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    • #3
      Used a 1/2-13 on my father-in-laws Hurco. Liked it except when someone did not plug the holes back up. We used rubber plugs we made a mold for. I would think threaded plastic with a slot would be ok also. The grid was 1.5" and there will always be a job where they just don't meet perfectly for the job.
      There are times I wanted 2 or 3 keyways for Mitee Bite type clamps when I needed to machine the whole top without remounting a vise back on the plate etc.
      It all depends upon what space you have and what types of clamps you have available.
      I do like the spherical collar nuts for the threaded rods. These flex so the force matches the angle of the clamp so it is even. I have used these on Sherline CNC mill (#10-24) up through Hurco CNC mill. They are worth it in my opinion.
      Also have 4 toe clamps (angle style with movable toe) which work great. Reminds me of using the Starrett No 54 hold down edge clamps that I use in my shaper.

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      • #4
        I was thinking of a master grid with drop on adjustable hardware. I've had dozens of ideas run through my head, but ultimately when I walk through it step by step slightly more purpose made fixture plates always seem like they will give me easier fit up and higher part density and better use of the available work envelope. I'm not giving up on it. I'll just let it percolate on the back burner for a while until a better idea boils up.
        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a piece of MIC 6 that's 3/4" x 16" x 24" that I needed for one specific job. I just drilled and tapped
          the holes I needed for that job. I've used it two or three times since and I've just added holes as needed.
          Couldn't see the point of drilling a bunch of holes I might never need. As to plugging the holes, that's a
          pain in the ass too. A good blast of air is all I've ever needed to clean out a hole when I need it.,,
          Keith
          __________________________
          Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

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          • #6
            Saunder's Machine Works sells little rubber plugs for the fixture plates that they sell:

            https://saundersmachineworks.com/col...re-plate-plugs

            These are black, but they also sell a small package with various plug colors. I've been using them with my Tormach mill and SMW fixture plate and have had no problem with them, though I only use a Fog Buster for coolant so the plate doesn't see flood. They are easy to pull out with an O-ring pick and seem to seal (and re-seal) well.
            Mike Henry near Chicago

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            • #7
              Here is the inspiration for looking at the whole Grid O Holes thing again. This machine has a 24K spindle, but it only has a 6.8 x 11.8 inch work envelope. By using this little fixture plate I can make 4 - 2 x 5 mold plates in one setup. (By the time I finish this run I'll have made 200 of these mold plates (100 complete molds)). I rough these blanks 9 at a time on another machine using a different semi purpose built fixture plate. I made two of the fixture plates you see in the picture and I have a second identical machine I can use it on. The problem is I have another quantity mold order to fill and I had to swap out fixture plates (can only cut two plates at a time on that mold). I'd love to be able to drop standoffs, pins, and clamps (on a spacer probably) onto a more universal fixture plate depending on what I'm going to be doing a run of. At this moment I've got a machine tied up making.... another fixture plate. LOL.

              For those who would say "just use a vise", or "just use 2 vises," that would be very inefficient compared to fixture plates that can hold a lot more pieces of stock than that. (and if you look close I am using a vise. LOL)

              Click image for larger version

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              *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

              Comment


              • #8
                Vise's are great if you're doing a lot of different stuff. It's a one size grips all kind of situation. Dedicated fixtures rule the day if you do same/similar sized parts, and a lot of them like you do. Have you looked into the peirson pallet system? I got one with my Tormach, and I'm going to make a dedicated fixture plate for it much like yours in the photo some day..... It's actually a pretty decent system IMO.

                I really don't like the giant grid of holes type plates. They're a bitch to clean, and you'll probably find you don't use half the holes anyway.

                I've worked with machines that had ball lock fixture plates, and they we pretty quick and handy. It was a pallate pool machine, and it was handy being able to swap a vise on/off quickly, or 3r plates for trodes, etc. Swapping between them all was really quick and efficient. Have a look at carr lane for some ideas on how to implement them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
                  Have a look at carr lane for some ideas on how to implement them.
                  .

                  The clamps on just about all my fixture plates are Carr Lane Tiny Vise edge clamps. Mostly CL-5-TVLP.

                  *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Check out this system https://www.carrlane.com/product/jig...machining-kits .

                    That's the one I used, and they work great for swapping fixture plates.

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