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Thread: Ways to lessen wear caused by a steel fixture

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
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    Ways to lessen wear caused by a steel fixture

    Hi,

    I am trying to design a precision fixture that will mount on various aluminum fixtures a couple of thousand times.

    I am concerned by previous similar projects that resulted in the aluminum frames wearing after 6-8 months, resulting in lower precision and consistency.

    I have looked into using a plastic coating, namely PEEK and PTFE, to help prevent damage to the aluminum frames by the steel fixture. While this would work, the plastic will wear off over time still. So, it fixes one issue and creates another.

    Does anyone have any experience with prevent a steel fixture from causing wear? Thanks!

    Best Regards,
    Harrison Czajkowski

  2. #2
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Regardless of the fixture structural members materials (Aluminum, fiberglass, or whatever..) the features/parts on the fixturing tools that contact the features on the part or assembly should be case-hardened steel. Moreover, those pins, brackets, gizmos should be design for service-ability or replacement.

    Search the internet for "Locating Pins" or "Hardened Location Pins" and maybe "Case Hardened Tools".
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  3. #3
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    Steel will wear aluminum. Period. Are you talking about a coating on the steel fixture or on the aluminum? If it is truly a costly problem, there are some aluminum coatings that do a really good job of preventing wear and abrasion. One we use in our facility is called Magnaplate.

  4. #4
    Associate Engineer
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    That's what I was afraid of. I am trying to find a way to coat the steel fixture to reduce the wear on the aluminum parts.

    We already have the aluminum parts (~30 QTY) that my fixture will go on, so I am designing around it and trying to minimize the changes we'll need to make to to the aluminum parts in order to save on the project expenses. If this isn't possible, we'll just have approach the problem from a different direction.

    Out of curiosity and mostly for future projects, is there a coating via Magnaplate or other that we could put on the steel fixture that could help with the wear on the aluminum parts? If it's impossible to prevent wear, would it be possible to delay it?

    Thanks for your help! I'm still relatively new to this industry.

  5. #5
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Also, you could Hardcoat Anodize per, MIL-A-8625 Type III which should help extend the life of the fixtures.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  6. #6
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    It sounds like it's the steel pieces that you are willing or wanting to alter and the aluminum component is the constant, or the part that you'd rather not make alterations to? Friction and pressure cause wear. Reduce either friction or pressure, or both and you'll reduce wear. Can you possibly, or more easily, polish and chrome plate the steel components? There are also places that can chrome plate aluminum. I used a shop in Kentucky once a long time ago.
    A picture and maybe a little more clarification might help... Or maybe I'm missing something?

    Like Kelly mentioned... hardened contact points is the common cure. Pins, drill bushings, plates etc...

    Good luck...!!

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