Locking ball joint
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  1. #1
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    Default Locking ball joint

    Hi everyone,

    I'm working on a design which requires a small joint with 6 degrees of freedom, and also the ability to lock the position of the joint when needed.

    I've seen locking ball joints on very cheap indicator stands, that look like a ball bearing sandwiched between two plates with hemispherical depressions in them. The joint is locked down when the plates are screwed together.

    I haven't seen any more robust/higher quality versions of a locking ball joint, though. I'm sure they exist, but I don't know the name or what to search for. Can anyone point me in the right direction? The size of the joint would require at most a 1/2” ball, and the more compact the other components, all the better.

    Edit: the only example I found would be the ball mount on e.g. a panavise. But that is still too bulky. I'm wondering if there's a ready made component/fastener available, or if I would need to make something.

    Thanks in advance,

    Lee

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    Lee,

    Have you looked at the Noga style clamp? They use hollow tubes with balls inside(I think) to allow movement but lock securely when the locking knob is turned.

    Holding System | Noga Engineering

    Stuart

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    Details would be nice. How heavy are the loads, what accelerations must they resist and how big are the moments?

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    The Mitutoyo indicator set I have has a "collet type" ball clamp with a threaded thimble closer.

    I can say where to find them else where, but alternate designs exist!

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    Like this? Also did a search for "balljoint vise" and came up with a lot of ideas...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 10082_um-01_ossumount_main__52041.1461143025.jpg  

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    Default

    You might look up rod ends and find something you could use.

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    I have a Wilton Pow R Arm swivel assembly. It is the large model with hydraulic actuation. I has been stored outside. If you want it, just pay me for shipping. I am not sure the cylinder bores are not pitted.
    John

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. Tapatalk plays weird sometimes, so I didn't get any notifications until illinoyance's post - sorry!

    Illinoyance: thanks for the offer, but a powrarm will be way too big for my design. My balls are around 1/2” diameter or smaller (fnar fnar).

    I think after digging around and using some of the search terms suggested here, the best compromise will be 2 balls sandwiched between two plates with spherical seats, and a single screw in the center to tighten. Along the lines of a 5 axis mill stop.

    The loads it will see are very light - it's more of a guide arm, but it will have to resist some vibration.

    Thanks again,

    Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeko View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm working on a design which requires a small joint with 6 degrees of freedom, and also the ability to lock the position of the joint when needed.

    I've seen locking ball joints on very cheap
    The locking ball joint has only 3 degrees of freedom. Pitch, Roll and Yaw. It has no translation freedom. X, Y, and Z
    ...lewie...

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    Thanks for the correction Lewie, you're absolutely right. I ended up using a double ball joint to give the needed additional movements

    Thanks,

    Lee

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    Other folks have already mentioned that smaller (e.g., under 3/4" diameter) locking ball joints are used a lot in photographic accessory mounts and also in professional audio mounts. One refinement I've seen on an Audio-Technica double ball joint (AT8459) is three small, crisp-edged grooves machined in the face of the ball, presumably to give a bit more "bite" to the holding (more likely this serves as relief of minute high points to allow better contact).

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    In addition to pro audio and video, try looking at mobile PC mounts for cars and trucks. They might be a middle ground between hot-shoe video mounts and PanaVise stuff.

    Also, video mounts are available in 3/8-16-level stuff, in addition to the lighter-duty 1/4-20 stuff.


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