Origins of the Dovetail Vise
The traditional dovetail has its original roots in machining hardened steel where traditional gripper teeth or smooth jaws could not provide enough clamping force to hold the workpiece. But its roots go back even further than the first machine shop.
The dovetail joint is the basis for dovetail clamping—any carpenter or furniture maker is intimately acquainted with this style of joining, as it is considered to be one of the strongest ways to join wood. In fact, it has been around for so long that the Egyptian Pharaohs were buried with furniture containing dovetails. It is even argued that dovetails have origins traced back before written history.
Advantages of Dovetailing
The dovetail’s longstanding history of use is paired with good reason.
In a machine shop, dovetailing is primarily used for 5-axis workholding—this offers equal downforce and lateral forces so parts are held stably with lower torque. This also makes dovetail pieces ideal for both 4 and 5-axis machining.
Efficient CNC Vise Usage
By having a dovetail on machine stock, clamping a part larger than the vise itself becomes possible. Generally, it is not recommended to clamp parts that are greater than 75% larger than the dovetail width, however, that limit is flexible.
By using a dovetail, a larger percentage of the stock is available for machining—meaning the machinist can purchase smaller stock, or machine larger parts with the stock they already have.
Easier Access for 5-Axis Machining
Remember how the addition of a dovetail can allow a part to overhang its clamp? In some cases, that additional overhang gives the machinist the opportunity to access the sixth face of the part. This capability may even allow the part to be completed in a single operation. The overhang also allows the machine tool improved access to the sides of the part, eliminating the need for using extra stock to machine the sides near the CNC vises.
As previously discussed, since dovetails provide equal downforce and lateral force, parts are mechanically locked in place and are more stable than any other CNC clamping method—all with minimal torque required.
Why Should You Convert from Other Workholding Clamps?
A Flexible Solution For Your CNC Mill Fixture
With the 5th Axis Deuce vise system, machine shops can combine the advantages of a dovetail with the familiarity of a standard CNC vise system. The gripper teeth have excellent gripping on softer stock. For harder materials, the dovetail provides superior clamping force without the need for stamping.
With the 5th Axis Deuce vise, the vise jaws are allowed to tighten independently giving the operator the ability to clamp parts of different sizes on the same vise or offset small variations in stock size. This also allows the operator to support a secondary operation or even completely different jobs in the same cycle.
Let’s Talk Solutions
For more turnkey workholding solutions, visit us at AMROK.com or give us a call at +1 815-962-6076.
It's only fair to share...