Fixturing Obsession

Hi Everyone,

After getting bit hard by the CNC bug after receiving my Nomad it wasn’t long until I decided to scale up a bit. I purchased a Tormach PCNC770 in April and then became obsessed with fixture plates, vacuum chucks and various other workholding solutions. To that end, I decided to spend some time designing a modular fixture plate for the Nomad.

You can see the general idea in the following photo album:

I’m curious as to what people think about it in general as well as the overall level of interest in the idea. I’ve ordered the taps and reams and once they arrive I plan to cut one out of a mic-6 aluminum plate I have on hand.

Trade offs with something like this is the cost, loss of a 1/2" of your “Z” axis and the need to use a more advanced CAM solution so that you can add your fixtures to avoid collisions. One other problem is the lack of a truly accurate way to set the work coordinate on machines like our Nomads to prevent cutting into the plate. I have a Haimer New Generation 3D-Sensor for my Tormach and it is a great piece of hardware … they or some other company needs to develop a smaller/affordable solution to cater to this market. Free business idea! :wink:

I also think it would be quite interesting to have a public model repository of various clamps/widgets/whatevers that people want to share as they come up with solutions to various workholding problems.

Everything was designed and CAM’d in Autodesk Fusion360 which I highly recommend if you haven’t checked it out already.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.


That looks like something I would be interested in.

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@jonniemac last night I modeled exactly the same thing for the same reasons… work I’m doing can’t be taped down, and the vice also won’t quite work for much of the style of work I need to do.
Funny, I also spent weeks hunting around for something similar to the Haimer 3D but not so long so as to fit a smaller mill like the Nomad.

Hopefully that justifies both your ideas as good ones and the type of thing I think is natural for others to need. Certainly the flat fixture plate with a matrix of threaded holes and unthreaded for pins seems like it would have a lot of applications, along with a variety of cleats to hold down work.



This is really cool. I’m very interested in ANY solution that keeps me from having to use the tape.

Could a modified version of this be milled out of MDF or similar and used in place of the spoil board? With threaded inserts in place of the threaded holes? I expect it wouldn’t be practical to have quite as many…but maybe that’s not useful. Hm.

I can’t wait to see the real version!

On a side note, Carbide Guys, please please please get the flip jig onto the store, I’m dying to have one!


Thanks for the feedback @warba … I’ll be sure to post back with more pics and info after I get my chuckable reamers and cut the first one. I actually designed a 6x10" modular plate to be held in my 5" CNC vise after seeing a recent youtube video on the NYC CNC channel. Fixturing is usually at least half the battle so I decided to play with this idea for the Nomad.

@MrHume … Thanks! I was contemplating a less densely populated MDF version with threaded inserts and did a little research on them. The ones I found on McMaster ran about $12 for 25 of them. It’s a good idea and definitely worth exploring.

Holy sprockets and work-holding widgets Batman!

I’m impressed with your time and thought in this, and envy your budget for toys and garage-space!

If you’re gonna go big into fixturing, you should check out for some ideas :wink:

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