Turning an Aerospace Customer’s Need into an Innovative, Workholding Component for Full, 5-Sided Machining

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A leading North American aerospace manufacturer having trouble machining some of their parts contacted Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME) chief engineer, Lonnie Miller, to see if he could design a product that would enable full, five-sided machining with a one set-up solution. 

“They needed a workholding solution that combined the screw feature of what they were already using with the ball component of our self-aligning fixture elements (S.A.F.E) designed for stress-free clamping so that they could machine the full sides of their parts without having to do two set-ups,” said Miller.


From Two Set-Ups of Multiple Components to One Set-Up of One Component

Inverted Stud Ball Element


The product they were using allowed them to eliminate clamps and vises by securing their stock and workholding materials from underneath the work table or grid plate. However, they were only allowed to machine down to a certain depth before needing to flip the part over or add rest buttons (risers) to machine the rest of the part.

The new, patent-pending inverted stud ball element incorporates the screw feature into the ball element. This design raises the workpiece up from the work table, grid plate, or tombstone allowing full-profile machining on all sides of the part. It also condenses the need for multiple components and set-ups down to one.   

Stress-Free Clamping and Machining

Inverted Stud Ball Element

The swivel ball element feature has six degrees of rotation in any direction. It conforms to whatever the surface flatness is of the part and holds it in place with the stud. This design feature allows less internal stresses for bent or angled parts that typically require clamps or vises for machining. In addition to
stress-free clamping that eliminates the effects of part distortion during machining, the inverted ball stud element:


  • Provides superior holding ability.

  • Features Vitron O-Ring protection that prevents penetration of chips and coolant within the ball element guaranteeing long life.

  • Reduces the amount of components and set-ups needed for full, five-sided machining.

  • Decreases the machine time for complex and precision parts.

  • Features fixed and adjustable threaded ball element heights for various applications.

  • Reduces the amount of programming and indicating.

  • Increases productivity and overall ROI.


Learn More about AME Fixturing Components

Aerospace Customer's Need turned into a new Workholding Component