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Jaclyn Schindler Adhoh January 08, 2024
January 08, 2024

What is a CMM Fixture?

Coordinate measuring machine fixtures, referred to as CMM fixtures, are devices or tooling that hold and position workpieces during measurement on a coordinate measuring machine (CMM). CMM fixtures help manufacturers achieve accurate measurements by determining the precise dimensions, leading to higher-quality products. With the workpieces correctly in place, CMM fixtures minimize potential errors that may be caused by the part accidentally moving or becoming unaligned during measurement.   

What is CMM?

A CMM is a precision measurement device utilized in quality control and manufacturing. This device is used to measure the geometric features, dimensions, and other identifying characteristics of certain objects. Fixturing ensures that the workpiece will stay in place and be correctly measured by the CMM.  

 

CMM-Machine

Value of CMM Fixtures for Engineers

CMM fixtures play multiple roles for engineers including: 

  • The accurate positioning and alignment of the workpiece 
  • The stabilization and support of workpieces during measurement, leading to repeatable and consistent results 
  • CMM fixtures enable easier access to certain areas of the workpiece which require machining  
  • CMM fixtures boost safety measures by properly holding the workpiece in place, reducing the potential of an accident or damage occurring 

How to Produce CMM Fixtures

There are two main ways to manufacture CMM fixtures. One way is by custom machining fixtures, the other is by utilizing additive manufacturing.  

In terms of custom machined fixtures, the fixture is produced through traditional methods such as CNC machines. While these machines can create multiple thousands of fixtures at once, there are many drawbacks. Producing fixtures with traditional processes is tedious and time-consuming. This leads to elongated wait times for outsourced fixtures which slows down overall the QA process​. Additionally, customization isn’t possible for complex parts. This may lead to time wasted designing and sometimes even redesigning fixtures 

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3D Printing CMM Fixtures with FDM Technology

FDM printers utilize a large range of polymers which create CMM fixtures that exhibit strength and stiffness, temperature stability, UV resistance, or chemical resistance. These fixtures can be produced in complex shapes, applicable for all types of workpieces. CMM fixtures produced with FDM also enable the ability to incorporate additional retention features, such as magnets, to hold fixtures in place. Notably, one customer printed their CMM fixtures within 20 hours as compared to the typical 4–6-week time frame. They also lowered the cost of a specific application from $2,700 to only $270. Another customer saved 93% in lead time and 80% in cost. 

By producing CMM Fixtures with additive manufacturing and FDM printers, the fixtures will be customized, cost less, and be ready within a faster timeframe. This leads to more accurate measurements, a better use of your budget, and valuable time saved for your business. 

Learn more about 3D Fixturing applications by reading our new 3D Fixturing Guide!

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