Did You Know?

Photo and text by Michael Hanemaayer

When working on projects, efficiency, accuracy and cost effectiveness are critical. Jigs and fixtures assist in the manufacturing of products, whether for machining, positioning or assembly, and help to increase productivity and predictability in addition to increasing workplace safety. 

Jigs are meant to guide materials during machining process, but are not attached to the cutting tool or the material an individual may be working with. For example, a drill jig will remove human error when drilling into the corner piece of wood.

Fixtures hold an object in place and aid in tasks such as assembly, inspection or 3D scanning for reverse engineering.

Printing a fixture or jig in a 3D printer instead of machining it reduces the cost for and also reduces the amount of waste product to nearly zero in most instances. The 3D printing of jigs and fixtures also reduces the amount of both human labour and error that might occur in the process of machining, since the human involvement with the printing process is minimal.

The materials used in 3D printing in many instances cost a fraction of what the steel or aluminum material would have costed, and, in addition to their cost effectiveness, they are lightweight, which reduces strain on the manufacturer.

The flexibility in use, as well as the low price-point, predictability and high turnaround, makes the 3D printing of jigs and fixtures an excellent option in the manufacturing process.

To learn more about how the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre can assist you with manufacturing projects, contact the Centre Manager, Jim Lambert, at [email protected].