More Than Five-Axis Machining

We often hear that self-centering vises and zero-point bases are only for five-axis machining, but we know that this is not true. Self-centering vises and zero-point bases also benefit three- and four-axis machining applications. The benefits offered by self-centering vises and zero-point bases can be more profound for three- and four-axis applications because they require more machining operations and workpiece movement to complete a part.

Tombstones and Pyramids Make Four-Axis Machining Easier

When used together, zero-point bases and self-centering vises create a workholding set-up with a fixed zero-point, meaning the material size, shape, or orientation does not affect the zero point. The fixed zero-point can be particularly important in four-axis machining applications, especially when multiple workpieces are loaded on a tombstone or pyramid. Utilizing zero-point bases and self-centering vises in this application fixes the zero-point for each workpiece to the tombstone or pyramid instead of to the workpiece itself. This eliminates the need to probe each workpiece because you can rely on the accuracy and repeatability of the workholding. Mate’s DynoLock bases offer 0.0002″ (0.005mm) repeatability, and DynoGrip vises offer 0.0004″ (0.010mm) repeatability.

Versatility is Critical for Three-Axis Applications

Workholding set-ups with zero-point bases are also beneficial because they offer better versatility with faster set-up and changeover times. DynoLock bases can be used with various workholding set-ups, including DynoGrip vises, ER collets, and top pallets with Mate pull studs installed. The best-in-class accuracy and repeatability offered by the DynoLock bases simplify changeover between different sizes of DynoGrip vises or other top tools. The improved versatility provided by a Mate zero-point workholding system is essential for the high-mix, low-volume production common to three-axis machining applications.

When selecting your workholding set-ups for three- and four-axis machine tools in the future, don’t limit your search to fixed jaw vises or fixture plates; keep zero-point bases and self-centering vises in mind. The Mate 52/96 zero-point modular workholding system offers numerous benefits for machining regardless of your machine tool’s number of axes. Mate’s best-in-class accuracy, repeatability, and holding force will deliver the high-quality performance you need to improve your productivity and keep you cutting chips.

Blog Author

Austin Heisick

Austin Heisick is Global Workholding Product Manager for Mate Precision Technologies.