The Boring Bar

Welcome to the future of CNC workholding. Innovative workholding solutions that save you time and money.

Authored By Sarah Cumming

Set up times are the pain point of every workshop. Modern machine shops need to stay competitive by utilising products that increase efficiency.

5th Axis is leading the way in their fully integrated line of workholding.

It's important to consider when purchasing zero-point work holding systems these 3 factors:

1: That it will not be made redundant if a machine shop chooses to robotically automate their production.

2: That it's modular enough to accommodate many different styles of fixturing (vices, chucks, tombstones, and jigs).

3: It can adapt to holding a high density of components.

5th Axis work holding system utilises the same components through its entire product range allowing users to expand as needed.

When a customer is ready to automate, a readymade “cleat” can be fixed to existing vices/fixtures to accommodate a robotic gripper and pneumatic base. It uses the same stud pattern mounted to the machine eliminating the need to purchase a new system.

MSC Moto started back in 1995 when Mark Cumming offered to make a motorcycle steering damper for a friend and was told it would be too challenging. Since then, it has moved from a hobby to a full-scale production business in many different types of products.

Motorcycle steering damper’s help motorcycle riders control the side-to-side motion of the front wheel by dampening sudden hits that might turn your front wheel and send you in an unintentional direction.

Their passion of manufacturing quality components comes from their obsession of motorcycles, with the whole team riding, competing and sponsoring race teams.

Vaughan Cumming has followed suit like his father, machining world class motorcycle parts. When we asked Vaughan why he chose to use 5th Axis he said, ‘It’s a well thought out product for everyday machine shops.’ The modular feature of the product also appealed to Vaughan as it is, ‘user friendly to our shop which does a mix of low and high production runs.’

The biggest benefit for Vaughan is the way he’ll be able to run more parts on a machine at the one time. With having the machines run for a longer time they don’t need someone standing at the machine. They have moved their existing cycle time of 25 minutes to 3 hours by adding more components into the machine using integrated tombstones and vices.

By utilising 5th Axis products to increase component density, Vaughan has had more time to focus on developing new products for his passion of motorcycling.

CNC Solutions is a prototype and jobbing machine shop owned by Charlie Lewis. They design and manufacture components for the mining, oil, and gas industries. His goal for the company is to provide quality service and grow the business. He is focused on coming up with solutions for the problems they are presented with. Charlie would call his business a ‘high mix low volume shop.’

5th Axis helps to reduce their set up times, so they can have their machines running for more time instead of sitting idle. Charlie manufactured his own sub plates so he can, ‘drop and go’ with his work without the need to dial in vices/fixtures to the machine’s axis. The reduction of set up times is the reason Charlie uses 5th Axis in his workshop.

Charlie’s aspirations are to expand his business further with buying new machines and purchasing his own factory.

K&R Hardy Engineering manufactures products for a diverse client base ranging from aftermarket automotive, mining, industrial processing, prototyping and plastic moulding. With such a diverse range of clients comes a variety of workpieces and materials.

A low volume / high mix of workpieces presents a competitiveness challenge.
Their goal using 5th Axis is to improve their competitiveness by utilising products that save set up times.

Brent Allwood, a machinist for K&R, uses the RockLock (zero-point system), in combination with the vices for his set-ups. He has permanently set up two RockLock bases which means he can have a job up and running in a matter of minutes. By relying on the repeatability of the system, he has no need to spend extra time dialling up a job.

The speed of set up’s is the best part.’ Says Allwood

The vices help with all the plastic work they do as soft material can be held securely with dovetailing.

‘Aside from low volume work we do, occasionally we will get production runs. Quickly changing setups from 1 offs to production is the advantage of the system.’ Says Allwood

He has manufactured custom tombstones to use in combination with the 5th Axis system to accommodate for longer production runs.

Challenges are all part of the job for Brent, as he looks to maintaining consistency in high quality parts and in furthering his abilities in machining.

All machine shops are committed to manufacturing high quality components, improving productivity, and looking to further themselves and their businesses. In an evolving market this is the key to remain competitive.

These businesses work in a range of industries but the one thing they have in common is the reliability of their workholding. 5th Axis workholding is distributed by Livetools. They offer a wide range of workholding solutions needed to get the job done.


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