Utilizing locating features in a metal fabrication project can save time, reduce tooling expenses, and improve the ability to repeat processes. In this article, we are going to talk about a few of the most common locating features used in metal fabrication and how they may be useful in your project.
Why to Avoid Fixture Locating
Historically, many metal fabrication projects have used fixtures to properly locate component parts during assembly. But there are some inherent downsides of fixture locating, such as:
- Increased cost
- Increased time
- The potential for misalignment
Integrating Locating Features into Part Design
A great alternative to fixture locating is integrating locating features into the part design. This can help save time and reduce the cost of a project. There are several types of locating features that can be used in a fabrication project. Here are a few of the most common:
- Parallel Surface Locating Features. When working with parallel surfaces, you can create a dowel or other protrusion in one part that then aligns with a hole in the corresponding part. Bridge lances are also commonly used with parallel surfaces. They involve creating a cutout in the corresponding piece that matches the outside perimeter of the lance, or by creating a tab feature to slit-fit under the bridge of the lance.
- Perpendicular Surface Locating Features. When dealing with perpendicular surfaces, there are several options for integrating locating features. One would be to create a slot in one part, and a tab on the edge of its mating part that fits snugly. You can also create a locking tab feature to can be used in conjunction with a rivet to lock pieces into place.
Data Metalcraft Inc. – Customized Metal Fabrication in Chaska, MN
Data Metalcraft offers turnkey, customized metal fabrication services to clients throughout the state of Minnesota and the Greater Midwest. We have decades of experience helping clients with all types of fabrication projects – large and small. Our team will work with you through the entire fabrication process and ensure that your project completes on time and within your budget. Contact us today at our Chaska facility to learn more about the full range of our services and to chat about your next fabrication project.