How to Make 2D & 3D Jigs for Laser Cutting? | MachineMFG

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How to Make 2D & 3D Jigs for Laser Cutting?

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With the increasing overcapacity in the manufacturing industry, it is becoming increasingly crucial for companies to enhance their market share in a saturated market. This requires enterprises to significantly improve their market demand sensitivity.

Due to their strong flexible processing capability, fast production transformation, and low initial tooling investment, planar laser and three-dimensional laser are gaining popularity in the market.

The realization of these advantages is closely tied to the production of jigs.

Properly designed jigs can fully utilize the flexible processing capacity of the equipment and guarantee the quality of the final product.

Discussion on the manufacture of different types of jigs

Different equipment utilizes various jigs, which can be broadly classified into two categories: 2D and 3D jigs. These are explained below.

2D jigs

Two-dimensional jigs are mainly utilized in laser cutting of flat steel plates. Their primary function is to support the steel plate and ensure smooth cutting operations by the equipment.

Due to the cutting being performed in a single plane, the required jigs are relatively simple and only need to ensure smooth processing on a two-dimensional plane.

When designing and manufacturing the jigs, the first step is to determine the processing range of the equipment, which is the maximum size of the processing plane.

Once the maximum size is determined, the cutting jigs are designed based on data such as the processing blind area and boundary size of the equipment.

Steel plate is usually chosen as the base material, and a reasonable support clearance is selected during the design process to prevent deformation of the raw materials due to their own weight during the cutting process.

To guarantee cutting quality and extend the lifespan of the jigs, secondary processing of the steel plate is necessary during jig manufacturing, resulting in the support of raw materials and steel plate being point-by-point.

The entire jig uses points on the steel plate to support the raw materials. To avoid scratching of the raw materials caused by sharp points, it is best to design the contact point as a circular arc surface, as illustrated in Fig. 1, with the structure of the contact point shown in Fig. 2.

Steel plate structure for support

Fig. 1 Steel plate structure for support

Structure of contact point

Fig. 2 Structure of contact point

The steel plate used for support is attached to the foundation bridge.

The foundation bridge can be constructed by welding angle steel to meet specific requirements, ensuring adequate strength.

It is important to note that the screw connection method is the preferred method when attaching the steel plate to the foundation bridge.

Laser cutting jigs are delicate components and, after extended use, the supporting steel plate can become damaged from the laser and will need to be replaced regularly.

The screw connection method reduces replacement costs and speeds up the replacement process.

Additionally, during assembly, it is crucial to ensure that the clearance between the supporting steel plate does not exceed 100mm to prevent products and raw materials from falling after cutting.

3D jigs

Three-dimensional jigs, as the name implies, are used for processing products in three-dimensional space.

They can be categorized into three types: grid jigs, jigs positioned by profile, and electromagnetic jigs.

(1) Grid jigs.

Before creating jigs, inspect and evaluate the components to ensure that they are not prone to deformation.

Grid jigs can be employed if there is minimal discrepancy between the final components and the digital simulation.

For three-dimensional thin plate workpieces that are elastic and easily deformable, grid jigs can also be used for correction.

First, the logarithmic analog is analyzed, and the digital-analog cross-section of the component is created in three-dimensional software, as illustrated in Figure 3.

After creating the cross-section, draft a plan with cutting notches based on the cross-section projection, as illustrated in Figure 4.

Once the plan is drafted, use 2 to 5mm steel plate to cut and process the components as needed, as shown in Figure 4.

Making digital and analog section line after part modeling

Fig. 3 Making digital and analog section line after part modeling

Plan view with cutting notch

Fig. 4 Plan view with cutting notch

Cutting according to the plan

Fig. 5 Cutting according to the plan

During the manufacturing process, it is important to keep in mind that the necessary openings and assembly points should be reserved beforehand to ease the final assembly. After the assembly is finished, the components should be assembled, dimensionally corrected, welded, and secured in accordance with the digital-analog design, as shown in Figure 6.

Assembly, dimension modification, welding and fixing

Fig. 6 Assembly, dimension modification, welding and fixing

Once the final welding and fixation is completed, the dimensions should be measured and verified once more.

If there are any discrepancies, they can be corrected using hand-held grinding tools, such as a grinder.

(2) Jigs positioned by profile.

For parts with complex profiles, jigs can be utilized. First, select a part with a large division R angle on its complete profile as the jig’s support surface.

Then, use laser or plasma cutting to segment the product sheet, ensuring that the cut sheet does not undergo overheating deformation during this process.

Finally, place an intact product workpiece upside down on the ground or working platform and fit the divided product wafer onto the inner surface of the workpiece, following its profile, as shown in Figure 7.

Positioning workpiece with profile positioning jigs

Fig. 7 Positioning workpiece with profile positioning jigs

The application program developed for the Windows operating system platform is capable of performing multiple tasks, but it is limited to the Windows operating system only.

On the other hand, the application developed for the embedded system platform must not only be able to perform multiple tasks but also have the ability to run across different operating system platforms, which requires the embedded system to possess high portability.

Finally, during the final welding process, the fabricated frame support should be placed upside down on the surface of the product sheet for spot welding. Round steel should then be used to reinforce the support sheet through welding, as illustrated in Figure 8.

Round steel for welding and strengthening the support sheet

Fig. 8 Round steel for welding and strengthening the support sheet

The following points should be taken into consideration during the manufacturing process of these jigs:

  • The maximum size of the divided sheet should not exceed 150mm.
  • During the final welding process, care should be taken to prevent welding adhesion between the surface of the segmented sheet and the workpiece.

(3) Electromagnetic jigs.

Electromagnetic jigs have become widely used in recent years due to the increasing use and promotion of automation equipment in the field of sheet metal and welding.

Their advantages include: improved workpiece positioning; reduced manual decoration time; and increased ease of operation while decreasing labor intensity.

By further optimizing its basic structure and adding an electromagnet, electromagnetic jigs provide rapid workpiece positioning and ensure a stable position during processing.

To determine the position and length of the electromagnetic fixed support, the completion of the two jigs must first be completed.

Next, the required size of the electromagnetic mounting hole must be processed on the square steel, followed by welding the electromagnetic mounting bracket. Finally, the traction electromagnet is installed, along with the power supply and control line, as depicted in Fig. 9.

Electromagnetic jigs structure

Fig. 9 Electromagnetic jigs structure

Please pay attention to the following points during the manufacturing process of electromagnetic jigs:

  • The diameter of the mounting hole should be larger than the diameter of the fastening screw to allow for later adjustments.
  • The electromagnet should be welded onto the fixed support before welding the fixed support onto the jigs.
  • The electromagnetic mounting bracket should be positioned to avoid the laser cutting track.
  • The cables used for the electromagnets must be heat-resistant and the routing should avoid the laser track.
  • The most important consideration is that the working point of the electromagnet should be located on the surface of the finished part.

Since the electromagnetic jigs require electricity during production and use, the electrical engineer of the unit must participate in production and conduct the necessary management and inspection according to the unit’s electrical management system, as depicted in Fig. 10.

Power supply structure of electromagnetic jigs

Fig. 10 Power supply structure of electromagnetic jigs

Inspection and commissioning of jigs

Before mass production, it is essential to inspect and debug the manufactured jigs, focusing on the following key points:

(1) The clearance between the jigs and the part surface should be within a controlled limit of 1mm to avoid excessive gaps.

(2) To ensure an efficient processing process, the position of the jigs on the table should be determined beforehand and checked for any dead corners.

(3) Once confirmed as free of dead angles, the jigs should be secured to the table using a triangular fixing method. It’s important to note that the hole diameter for the electromagnet mounting should be larger than the diameter of the fastening screw and the diameter of the fixing hole on the table for ease of fixing with the pressing plate.

(4) If simulation reveals that the cutting track intersects with the support point of the jigs and workpiece, it’s necessary to avoid this intersection by grooving the support point.

Finally, before creating jigs, it’s important to thoroughly consider the type and characteristics of the products being processed and choose appropriate materials and jig types based on the actual needs of the unit to avoid any unnecessary waste.

Conclusion

This post provides an overview of the commonly used 2D and 3D jig manufacturing methods and associated precautions.

Please note that these are just my thoughts.

The requirements for jig manufacturing vary depending on the product, production mode, and site conditions, and require a specific analysis by technicians to determine the most suitable option for the needs of the unit.

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