By Kip Hanson, Contributing Editor
Article excerpted from April, 2014 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering.
Similar to the mechanism that grips rotary toolholders on many machining centers, zero-point clamps employ a mounting knob and clamping wedge lock to pull a pallet, fixture or other workholding device—or even the part itself—against the ground face of a zero-point chuck. The retention knob sits inside the chuck bore and offers positional accuracy to within a few tenths of an inch and several tons of clamping force until released through mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic pressure.
For example, 6″-vise aficionados could permanently mount that all-purpose hunk of iron to a piece of precision-ground tooling plate. Bolt a pair of zero-point knobs to the bottom of the plate, then attach a pair of zero-point chucks to the bed of the machining center. Drop the knobs into the chuck bores, flip the switch and go. That means no more cleaning T-slots or looking for wrenches when switching the vise for a fixture or rotary table. If every machine in the shop is set up like this, changeovers can best be measured in minutes instead of hours.
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