On each dovetail fixture detail product page it states it is for five-axis machining. Will it work on three or four-axis machining too?

Yes, all our Raptor Workholding fixtures will work on both four-axis and five-axis machines. You could even use them on a three-axis machine if you like.

Why should I choose Raptor Dovetail Fixtures?

Raptor was born out of necessity. We looked at some other options and developed a design that fit the needs of our shop and workflow. Raptor allows unprecedented access and clearance to all five sides of the workpiece and is designed to hold the fixture rigidly in place.

One of the concerns with other dovetail workholding solutions is the extreme force the operator needs to apply to tighten bolts and secure the workpiece. Raptor is specially designed to press the workpiece into a solid shoulder. The clamps can be engaged by hand with a simple T-handle without the effort of other solutions.

Workpieces are loaded and aligned with a simple center locating pin, locked in place with a quick turn of the T-Handle and ready to go. Even better, once the cycle is complete the workpiece can be unloaded just as easily– unlike other workholding solutions you do not need to pry the part off the clamp. Simply loosen the clamp and lift it off. Simple.

When using a dovetail fixture after machining the workpiece, is it normal for the material on the dovetail protrusion to sometimes distorted from the clamps?

Yes – it does occur when you machine softer materials, such as Aluminum.

See the two photos below of an aluminum body that display some clamp distortion in two places from the clamps. If it looks like this then you do not have to be concerned (it is normal). When you run harder materials, such as heat treated 17-4, there is no distortion from the clamps.

Be sure that you do not over-tighten the clamps. If you over-tighten the clamps you can crack or damage your workpiece and/or the fixture. The proper torque information is available on our Web Site.

NOTE: Clamps must be tightened between 120 and 175 inch pounds of torque.

DO NOT EXCEED 200 Inch Pounds.

What is a Dovetail Height and Width?

The height of the dovetail is the length of the dovetail protrusion on your workpiece. This protrusion is where the clamp(s) engage the workpiece. Most of the Raptor Dovetail fixtures have a 1/8″ high dovetail but there are a few fixtures which incorporate a 3/16″ and even a 1/4″ high dovetail. The width of the dovetail is the measurement of the width of the dovetail protrusion on the workpiece. See the Dovetail Fixture page for a complete list of the dovetail width and height classifications. This information is also displayed on the Information and Support page.

On the dovetail fixtures, the clamp area looks small. How big can the workpiece be?

On the detail page of each Dovetail Fixture, refer to the “Description” tab.  Raptor has listed the typical workpiece size range from minimum to maximum. Also take into consideration the maximum workpiece weight, which is listed as well.

Raptors’ dovetail fixture design of the small clamping area allows for increased accessibility & clearance to five sides of a workpiece. This allows for the workpiece to overhang the fixture.

All clamps are made with 17-4 stainless steel. The combination of the spring-loaded clamps with the dovetail design enhances the holding strength, prevents chatter and gives greater flexibility in operations. How it works: When tightening the clamps, they will engage with the the angles of the dovetail prepped workpiece, causing the workpiece to pull downward into the radius of the opposing solid shoulder. Super strength.

On the Dovetail Prep Sketches you require that the .1250 Dimension be held to +.000 / - .001. Is that really necessary?

Yes. This is a very important issue because if you do not maintain this tolerance the fixture will not work properly. This will allow the part to sit on the top shelf of the fixture properly. If this dimension is held on the plus side it will force the part up and therefore it will not be seated properly. Following the dovetail prep sketches will ensure proper holding strength and rigidity.

NOTE: With our Raptor Dovetail Cutters you can machine both surfaces and machine the proper edge break with the same tool.

What material are the fixture clamps manufactured from?

The fixture clamps are made from 17-4 Stainless Steel.