Tool Holder TLC – Part I

Part I: Protect your tools at their most vulnerable.

Tool assembly is a critical moment in the overall machining process, as tools are vulnerable to inevitable operator errors and general mishandling. And often, no real error needs to happen to effect tool life. Outwardly imperceptible damage comes in the form of wear and tear from day-to-day handling. With tools expected to perform within a micron’s worth of tolerance, a micron’s worth of wear can make all the difference.

The Tool Pro helps reduce damage to expensive tool holders, shanks and machine spindles

Minimize damage, maintain precision and extend tool life averages with bench-mounted tool assembly devices like the Tool Pro, designed for safe, mistake-free handling during assembly and disassembly of tapered v-flange tooling. Tools are simply lowered into the integral tool pot (“Standard” model) and automatically clamped into place with a spring loaded pin that locates precisely into the v-groove of the tool holder. Depressing the large gold dial on top of the unit permits the arm to rotate 360°, and lock in 45° increments. These ergonomic features allow safe and simple access to all sides of the tool holder while changing inserts, tightening a collet nut, installing pull studs and building modular tooling systems. The “Spin” model features full 360° radial tool rotation for easy access while changing inserts on very large face mills without having to remove the cutter from the drive keys. A modular model, the “Vario”, offers a single base unit and easily exchangeable adapters for nearly all taper types.

For HSK & polygon tool holders, which don’t require pull studs and only require access to the “business end” of the tool, units like the Kombi Grip offer safe and secure clamping of the flange periphery through an  innovative two-way clutch and needle roller clamping system. This eliminates the possibility of damage to the taper shank during any tightening process.

The Tooling Mate is a safe and secure tool assembly fixture.

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Kombi Grip's safe design eliminates any possibility of damage during the tightening process.

A nice feature of the Kombi Grip is its versatility. A Kombi Grip model fitting HSK-A63 will also accept a polygon C6 taper due to their shared flange diameters. The one drawback to the Kombi Grip is that it is a dedicated size – which is why we also offer the Tooling Mate – a unit which features the same clamping method for HSK and polygon, yet is modular by design. One base can utilize multiple adapters for different shank sizes. A modular unit is also available for steep taper tooling.

ST Lock is an ideal fixture for the set-up of cylindrical shank tool holders

For setting up straight shank assemblies, less risky alternatives to squeezing them in a vise exist. The ST Lock features a single benchmounted basewith replaceable sleeves for quick, easy and concentric clamping of cylindrical shanks during collet nut tightening. And speaking of collets, using a screwdriver to pop a  high precision collet off of a high precision nut does indeed fall under the “operator error” category, and does create vulnerability to your precision down the road. BIG Daishowa created the Collet Ejector to easily install and remove New Baby collets from Mega Nuts and New Baby Nuts safely without causing damage.

There’s a real disconnect between what many operators expect out of their tools when compared to how they handle their tools. If hair’s width precision is the goal, remember this last piece of advice: cheater-bars, hammers and vice grips are the enemy of a high precision tooling assembly – the input of tool assembly correlates directly with the output of performance. Get into good habits and rely on systems and performance enhancing accessories to get the most life and precision out of your tools.