Best way to automate workholding for automatic part loading
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    Default Best way to automate workholding for automatic part loading

    The job is 2nd OP drilling and tapping 3 M3 holes in turned parts on a ROBODRILL. I've got a robot ready to load parts, but I'm still scratching my head over the best/cheapest way to automate the workholding.

    Currently it's done manually with two vices, soft-jaws, two in each. For testing I'm happy with loading a part or two at a time, but to make it worth it, i'd really like to be loading tens of parts at a time (even without the robot arm to be honest).

    What i've seen on the market is too expensive per vise ($1000 and up). I'm thinking of buying a bunch of cheapo pneumatic rams and having a crack at it myself, but I want to get another option before I go down that rabbit hole.

    Any thoughts?

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    I've got a solution for you. Let me get to my shop and I'll better reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    I've got a solution for you. Let me get to my shop and I'll better reply.
    How many pieces do you have to do?
    How big are they?
    What brand of vises do you currently have?

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    Currently 250 per run. Customer plans to double that in a few months.
    About 36mm in diameter. With a 38mm dia flange at the bottom about 6mm tall.
    Unfortunately I don't know. If it's really important I can get you a photo of them. Jaw width is about 150mm if that helps.

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    Personally id just run them manually without a robot but I get the want of a robot to change out parts.

    I recently had the same issue as you for automated vise clamp/unclamp and what I came up with is a pneumatic rotary vane.


    Buy Semi-rotary actuator DSM online | Festo USA

    I made some brackets to mount this to our chick vises with a few 5 way solenoids. Depending on the clamping force needed...you will have to find the right one, we are doing plastics so I opted to buy the small version which gets me 30 ftlbs torque.

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    I actually remember seeing this being talked about in an older post, but I have my concerns. The vices are old and have almost a full turn of backlash in the screw. I'm confident the robot could get the part out, but getting a new one in when the jaws aren't opened properly i'm not so sure about.

    Maybe I could preload the jaws with a spring to bias them to being open when they're not compressed.

    I just went and checked the rough amount of torque I'd need and it's a comfortable 10 ftlbs. Your approach is looking more and more attractive by the minute

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    If I were you... I would invest in a single Chick 1540 vise or even a onelok from chick and use this method to automate it. The chick vises have zero backlash and require less force than kurts to open/close



    img_20191006_170625.jpg

    I made these custom top jaw plates that I can swap out instead of buying a whole Chick set of jaws. If you did go this route, I can email you all my cad files for the jaws and depending on your machine, could send you the Gcode for milling the jaws and vise top plates.

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    You won't believe this... we have 4 of the exact same Chick vises sitting around from an old failed job...

    If I had of known about them I'd have already stolen them for my machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    If I were you... I would invest in a single Chick 1540 vise or even a onelok from chick and use this method to automate it. The chick vises have zero backlash and require less force than kurts to open/close



    img_20191006_170625.jpg

    I made these custom top jaw plates that I can swap out instead of buying a whole Chick set of jaws. If you did go this route, I can email you all my cad files for the jaws and depending on your machine, could send you the Gcode for milling the jaws and vise top plates.
    Whats actually controlling those vises? im having trouble making out what I'm looking at, it looks to me like 1 vise with no way to actuate it on the side, one in the middle with what looks like a couple air lines running to it, attached to a fixture on a rotary?

    Am i missing how Vise #1 is controlled, or is it unused and the access for a vise handle plugged in the front?



    I apologize for the ignorance, I'm just starting to dip my feet in pnuematics and automating on a small scale so I am trying to absorb everything I can. I love the idea of that Rotary Vane and will read more about it, does it just rotate to one of those stops and then back to the other(lock and unlock vise) with air at each side of a cylinder, at whatever set force you order?


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