5-Axis Machining in Two Steps

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AR-15 Charging Handle Components

Firearms manufactures are hard at work designing new unique components and parts for the AR-15 platform. Northfield has the task of holding these parts for many aspects of machining operations.

This project is for AR-15 upper receiver components, with a unique contour and light design. For this, we developed a custom solution for multiple automated machine cells. 

Custom Air Chucks 5 Axis
Custom Northfield Model 470W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck

Initial Brief:

High precision custom work holding, finishing all part machining operations in only two setups. Reducing error and saving time. 

Our Customer is a well-established high precision machine and automation provider. They required a custom solution to complete all machining operation in two steps.  

  1. Work holding on a rotary table within a 5-axis machine.  
  2. A chuck with custom hardened jaws to grip the finished side of the work piece from the first step. 


Northfield Precision Model 450W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck (0.0001” TIR) with special top tooling attached
Northfield Precision Model 450W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck (0.0001” TIR) with custom top tooling attached

The first stage chuck

is based on the 450W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck, for mounting to a rotary table in a 5-axis machining environment. This handles the first side of the final product. 

To ensure a good grip on the customers rough turned blank, the custom top jaws are hardened and ground to size before coating with 150. Grit diamond.

Northfield work holding solutions include air detect axial locators. This case has, 3 air ports on the 3-part banking surface. These ensure positive part-seat confirmation before the machining process begins. 


The Second Stage Brief:

The process involves gripping the complete side of the part from the first step without damaging it, to finish machine the second side.  

To accomplish this, we added custom hardened and ground sub jaws to a Model 470W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck. These hold specially Electro Discharge Machined (EDM) inserts, that grip the finished side of the part produced in the first machining operation.

Additional machine clearance was required at this stage, so the chucks are also mounted to custom Vertical base plate risers. This accommodates for the machine clearances. 

Additionally, this chuck also includes a special air detect axial locator, with 1 air port on the part banking surface, for positive part seat confirmation.  

Model 470W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck with custom Vertical base plate risers.
Model 470W Sliding-Jaw Air Chuck with custom Vertical base plate risers.


Are you looking for a custom work holding solution that includes a collaborative design process? Then get in touch today and discuss your projects with the Northfield engineering team.  



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