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Machining Systems: FAQS

Can I combine components from a smaller Bluco machining system with a larger Bluco system?

No. While every 4012 component is compatible with every other 4012 component and table, it cannot be used with 5016 or 8024 components or tables. The same goes for all of our machining systems – 4012, 5016 and 8024 components are only compatible with other components and bases from the same system.

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My machine bed already has T-slots, why would I need a modular baseplate?

Because your machine spindle likes to know where your part is, which means you need to know where your fixture is. On a T-slot bed, a fixture can be anywhere. It has to be located every time, which means you lose production time. A modular baseplate only has to be located at installation. After that, the precision grid of alternating tapped and bushed holes guarantees that the fixture will be in the exact same place every time. Learn more about the advantages of modular fixturing for machining here.

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Will I have to locate or probe my part every time?

No. Bluco modular tooling is accurate enough to guarantee your part is in the same place every time. So instead of wasting time unnecessarily locating and probing, after initial installation you can just load and go.

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How accurate are your machining components?

Extremely accurate. Our standard modular components have tolerances of +/- 0.01 mm, while our largest machining components have a tolerance of +/- 0.015 mm. For perspective, the width of a human hair is 0.075 mm. The variance allowed by Bluco modular machining components is seven times smaller than that.

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Can you provide tombstones for machining?

Yes, just tell us what you need. More commonly, however, we provide baseplates to fit your tombstone. We’ll discuss what works best for your application before preparing your proposal.

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What if I need a custom grid or hole pattern on my baseplate?

While the standard pattern of bushed and tapped holes must remain the same to work with our modular system, we can add extra tapped holes the existing grid to allow for additional clamping options. We can also add a custom pattern of mounting holes that match up exactly with your machine bed to attach your plate to your machine easily. 

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What's the difference between the 4012, 5016 and 8024 systems for machining?

In a word, size. The first two numbers in the system name designates the spacing between holes (grid pattern spacing) in mm. The second two numbers designate the size of the bushing/tapped hole in mm. Small parts are best suited for 4012 and 5016, larger parts should be reserved for 8024. Your application engineer will help you determine which size is best for your parts.

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Do you offer custom baseplate sizes and mounting options?

Yes. every baseplate is custom-made, and can be designed to fit any machine bed or pallet. We can add options like counterbored tie-down holes, mitered corners, custom mounting features (including permanent and quick-change options), as well as custom profiles to match a rotary table. Your application engineer will help you figure out which options will help you gain the most efficiency and the quickest ROI.

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I have large parts to fixture. Can I use one of your smaller systems?

While it is possible to fixture large parts with smaller components, you will see much better results when using a system properly sized for your part. You’ll use fewer components, so fixture setup time will be lower, and it will be easier to visually verify that each component is placed correctly.

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Are there any differences between the machining systems other than size?

Everything other than size (of components and of the tapped and bushed holes in the baseplate) is nearly identical. Even for a modular system as large as our 8024 line, the system tolerance only differs from the smaller 4012 and 5016 systems by +.- 0.005mm.

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Can I use my own baseplate or table with your components, or vice versa?

In the words of one of our engineers, “Even if you could, you wouldn’t be happy about it.” Our modular components, bases and tables are specifically engineered to be used together. They pin together flawlessly, provide repeatable precision, help improve final part quality and boost efficiency. When a Bluco modular system is contaminated with outside components, you might still be able to hold a part, but you’ll be sacrificing precision, quality and efficiency. In addition, you risk damage to your own equipment, the modular components or your part when mixing and matching non-compatible systems.

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