Workholding of the Month: 3D-Printed Fixtures

3d printing

Fixturing and workholding is not only important for milling and machining, but it’s also vital for prototyping and QC processes. While 3D printing may not be as rigid or robust as other forms of workholding, these can be part of the advantage to 3D-printed fixturing.

Read: Workholding of the Month: Double-Sided Tape

3D printing is quite simple – depending on the printer, it can be as simple as click-and-go, once you have a CAD model. Because it is plastic, 3D-printed fixtures can easily be adjusted or tweaked.

3d printed tool storage

3D printing your workholding may feel a little sacrilegious, but it can save time and money, depending on the type of fixturing you’re working on and the cuts you’re making.

3d printed workholding
Credit: Modern Machine Shop

Modern Machine Shop has an article about how 3D-printed vise jaws “provided an inexpensive solution to what otherwise might have been a costly workholding challenge for the shop.”

We’ve even seen it used in production environments with Tormach’s Cast Iron Tombstone and a 4th axis.

Though some might consider 3D printing to be the enemy of traditional manufacturing, it definitely has a place in the world of CNC and workholding.

Chris Fox

Chris comes from a publishing background with years of experience in science, technology, and engineering publications. Previously an editor with Product Design and Development and Gizmag, he has a keen eye on the maker community and the changing landscape of the world of prototyping, product development, and small-scale manufacturing. Chris has been working with clients to create Tormach's customer success stories since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheChris_Fox

Chris Fox