Workpiece Fixture Design Principles

With over 70+ years in the industry, Carr Lane Mfg. has established itself as the industry’s source for workholding products as well as information. Our engineers never stop innovating, with product patents dating back to 1962.

Carr Lane Mfg. believes design is a critical function to understanding how to best apply workholders to any application.

This section links to several of our most valuable engineering resources, including information on the principles of locating and clamping and clamping force calculations. Our Jig & Fixture handbook, available as a free Kindle download outlines in great detail how to design workpiece fixtures.

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Locating and clamping are the critical functions of any workholder. The fundamental principles of locating and clamping, as well as the numerous standard components available for these operations, must be thoroughly understood.

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The best clamping device for an application is one that can adequately hold the workpiece without significant surface damage.

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Clamping-force calculations can be quite complicated. Sometimes an approximate method is good enough. See table below for how much clamping force is available from manual clamp straps of various sizes (with a 2-to-1 clamping-force ratio) to compare with power-clamp forces.

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What are the three principal forms of locating a workpiece?

The three forms of location: plane, concentric, and radial. Flat surfaces are common workpiece features used for location. Locating from a flat surface is a form of plane location.

What are the functions of Positioning Locators?

The primary function of any locator is to reference the workpiece and to ensure repeatability.

How do you avoid redundant locating?

Redundant locators restrict the same degree of freedom more than once. The simplest way to eliminate it is to check the shop print to find which workpiece feature is the reference feature. Often, the way a part is dimensioned indicates which surfaces or features are important.

How do you prevent improper loading and unloading?

The simplest way to foolproof a workholder is to position one or two pins in a location that ensures correct orientation. With some workpieces, however, more creative approaches to foolproofing must be taken.

Download the Kindle version of the Carr Lane Mfg. Jig & Fixture Handbook (Third Edition) on Amazon. This handbook is a multi-chapter, illustrated reference manual. It features step-by-step instructions on Jigs and Fixture components with information on hundreds of components throughout the manufacturing process.

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