More Fixture Plate Ideas for Workholding Setups

Last week we talked about using fixture plates for quick and repeatable  setups, and asked blog readers to send us pictures of their fixture plate set ups as part of a contest.    The winner of last week’s blog contest is Fred Francouer from Universit√© de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada.  Fred’s designed a clever setup that allows him to quickly attach several vises, a 4th Axis, work holding chuck, and even the Duality Lathe to his PCNC 1100.  Thanks for sharing, Fred – you’re the winner of a custom Tormach Shop Shirt. What we really like about this fixture plate system is how the individual components are designed to stack and install on each other.  Check these out:

  • First, several dowel pins have been installed on the table along with custom T-nuts.  The pins let Fred quickly install his Duality Lathe when needed without having to align the lathe each time in X or Y.

Duality Lathe Locating Pins Duality Lathe Locating Pins 2

  • A second fixture plate is design to accept the dowel pins on the table.  Additional pins on this plate are used to locate the vise.

Vise Pinned to Fixture Plate Vise Pinned to Fixture Plate

  • On this same plate, slots have been milled to accept the 4th axis Table.

4th Axis Pockets on Fixture Plate

  • With the vise removed, another smaller fixture plate can be mounted that accepts a 3 Jaw chuck for holding round bar stock vertically.

3-Jaw Chuck Mounting Plate 3-Jaw Chuck Pinned to Fixture Plate

  • The same plate also takes another smaller fixture plate as well.

Stacked Fixture Plates

  • And finally, here are 2 smaller tool maker vises on separate tool plates sitting on top of the large fixture plate.  These are used to support the ends of long stock.

Tool Maker Vises Pinned to Fixture Plate

Andrew Grevstad

With over ten years of professional experience in advanced manufacturing systems, digital design tools, and applied software, Andy Grevstad has worked in product development and technical support for Tormach since 2008. Grevstad has received engineering degrees from Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a regular contributor to Digital Machinist magazine and also blogs weekly about CNC milling and related topics on the Tormach blog, Milling Around.

Andrew Grevstad

5 thoughts on “More Fixture Plate Ideas for Workholding Setups

  • Avatar
    04/04/2013 at 10:25 am

    Very clever, Fred Francoeur!

  • Avatar
    04/04/2013 at 11:04 am

    Do you guys have a picture of the lathe mounted to the plate? I wonder how much working space remains with the lathe standing on the table?

    The pins are nice, I imagine aligning it every time you mount it would be a real hassle. So, are the pins permanent? Did he have to drill the table or does the table come with the holes for pins?

  • Avatar
    04/04/2013 at 8:58 pm

    @Polytech, the table does NOT come with pins or holes. But the machine can easily be used to place these holes. … and correspondingly place matching holes on any number of fixture plates. I think the whole idea is brilliant. Potentially a great time saver. Hm, how to do this for the vise on my PCNC 770…..

  • Andrew Grevstad
    04/05/2013 at 8:37 am

    @MacMarty, @polytech. That’s right, you need to drill/ream the holes for the pins yourself. Its really easy, you just need to get over the initial hang up of milling into your table. I’ve seen that done on very expensive machine tools as well.

  • Avatar
    04/06/2013 at 10:29 am

    There are Dowel Pins available which are already tapped on center for a screw. Install these and the pins can be readily removed and replaced with a shorter one to clear the table.
    An alternative is to make a set of longer keys for the table slots which have the locator pins and a locking screw to keep thm in place. Best of both worlds and no holes in the table. A long bar with properly spaced holes to reset the keys between uses.

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