Fab Lab Skill Builder: How to use a Fixture Plate on a Milling Machine

Getting started with Fixture Plates

In our latest Fab Lab video, Mike C. demonstrates some basic techniques for setting up and using fixture plates on a PCNC mill. 

Using Fixture Plates as Pallet System

Fixture or Tooling plates can be a big time saver if you find yourself making more than one or two of the same part.  For example, this setup uses a bunch of mini clamps to hold 4 separate sets of parts on a single fixture plate. I sometimes hear this referred to as a "part pallet" or "pallet system".

Fixture Plate

This setup was developed by one of our staff machinists, Rory DesJardin.  The parts are housings for shifter control modules he designs for 4x4 enthusiasts.  Fixture plates  allow him to quickly and easily set up for a job whenever he needs to run a few parts; he manufactures several different models for Nissan, Jeep, and Toyota, and has separate fixture plates designed for each different  housing.  In other words, they are a great choice for flexible production. Fixture Plates on Tormach PCNC 1100

Here's the final RADesigns Shifter Product

RADesigns Shifter Manufactured on Tormach PCNC 1100

Pre-made Fixture Plates for PCNC 1100 and PCNC 770

The plates you see in the Fab Lab video can be purchased from the Tormach e-store and are pre-cut to size to fit nicely on the PCNC 1100 or PCNC 770 mill.  The plates come mill thickness and not ground - they're designed to be milled flat on the table with a fly cutter or shell mill.  We also carry the specialty T-nuts with locating pins and stops.

  • Buy Plates.
  • Buy T-nuts

Blog Contest - Fixture Plates

Do you have an interesting fixture plate setup to share?  Share your ideas - best submission wins a shirt.  Send me a note: blog@tormach.com, or post directly to our new Google+ community. More Tormach Fab Lab Videos: