Machining using soft jaws is a highly versatile and precise process. These jaws provide for secure and reproducible clamping with minimal setup work. They deliver reliable precision, frequently to 0005′′.
They are also gentle on fragile workpieces, preventing them from being damaged or distorted. They thrive at holding varied shapes and, with careful machining, can even manage unusual components.
Why Are They Important In Metalworking?
Soft jaws are useful in metalworking because they enable machinists to grip workpieces that would be difficult or impossible to handle using normal jaws.
They are often constructed of a soft material, such as aluminum or copper, and can be tailored to the exact workpiece being machined.
Some of the reasons why they are crucial in metalworking are as follows:
- To decrease vibration: It can help reduce vibration during machining, which can improve the completed product’s quality. This is because they absorb some of the vibration, but regular jaws may transmit the vibration to the workpiece.
- To avoid marring: These jaws are less prone than normal jaws to mar the workpiece, which is important when cutting finished surfaces. This is because these jaws adhere to the shape of the workpiece, whereas normal jaws may grab the workpiece more tightly, resulting in marring.
- To boost holding power: These jaws can provide more gripping force than normal jaws, which is helpful when cutting fragile or difficult-to-hold workpieces. Because flexible jaws conform to the curvature of the workpiece, the surface area in contact with the workpiece is increased.
- To hold workpieces with intricate features: Jaws with sophisticated characteristics, such as internal or exterior splines or gears, can be custom-made. This is because they can be molded to meet the contours of the workpiece, resulting in a secure grasp.
- To handle irregularly shaped workpieces: They can be created to fit odd-shaped workpieces that would be difficult to grip with normal jaws. This is because they can be molded to match the curvature of the workpiece, resulting in a secure grasp.
Choosing The Best Jaws
Soft jaws can help minimize material distortion during clamping, providing precision in intricate machining tasks.
These flexible accessories prove invaluable in accommodating an assortment of shapes and sizes in your workshop – creating efficiency and adaptability!
Investment in various materials for these jaws, such as aluminum or rubber, broadens your clamping capabilities and enhances grip for delicate or irregularly shaped workpieces.
Furthermore, periodically inspecting and replacing worn-out jaws ensures consistent precision while prolonging the overall lifespan of machining tools.
Taken proactively, taking this proactive stance not only reduces downtime but also optimizes efficiency by eliminating unscheduled soft jaw adjustments and freeing your shop to effectively tackle an array of tasks from metalworking supplies to new challenges with greater efficacy and adaptability.
Common Types Of Soft Jaws
Copper jaws are an excellent alternative for machining fragile or completed workpieces. Because copper is a softer material than aluminum, it will adhere to the shape of the workpiece, lowering the chance of marring.
Copper jaws are frequently used to mill precise items like gears and splines, as well as parts with fine finishes like jewelry and medical components.
Steel soft jaws are an excellent choice for machining difficult or abrasive materials. Steel is an extremely strong and durable material that has a lot of holding power.
Hardened steels, titanium, and other exotic materials are frequently machined with steel jaws.
These jaws are an excellent choice for machining workpieces with intricate features or those that are sensitive to vibration. Nylon is a soft material that absorbs vibration, cushioning both the workpiece and the cutting tool.
Machine parts with complex geometries, such as turbine blades and impellers, as well as parts that are sensitive to vibration, such as electronic components and optical lenses, with nylon jaws.
Aluminum soft jaws are good general-purpose machining tools. They are reasonably priced and simple to work with.
These jaws are frequently employed in the fabrication of soft metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper, as well as polymers.
Soft jaws are versatile and effective work-holding equipment for machining a wide range of workpieces.
They come in some materials, including aluminum, copper, nylon, and steel. Custom-made jaws for specific workpieces or machining operations are also available.