How to Pick the Right 3D Printing Technology and Material for Jigs & Fixtures?

Jig & Fixtures are specially designed for machining and assembling of large number of parts. They are unique manufacturing tools for guiding and holding devices.

Jig is a work-holding devices that we use to support, hold and locate a workpiece for the cutting tool to perform the machining operations. Fixtures are mechanical devices that are often fastened to the machine table to hold the work piece firmly to allow fast and precision machining but fixtures do not position and guide the cutting tools.

Jig & Fixtures consist of many different elements such as:

  • The Body
  • The Camping Device
  • The Locating Device
  • The Tool Guide/Bushes

The conventional way of fabricating the Jig & Fixtures are machining operations on the Steel, Bronze, Nylon, Delrin (POM), Aluminmum, and many more materials.

Making Use of Additive Manufacturing for Jig & Fixture

Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing, is a standout technology for manufacturing of jig & fixtures that shorten the lead-time, reduce scrap/waste, improve workers’ safety and increase productivity.

Why 3D Printed Jig & Fixtures?

Because 3D printing builds parts layer-by-layer, the design approach is not constrained by the same limitations of subtractive manufacturing. When paired with the material options available, these new design freedoms enable new features to improve functionality overall.

Beyond delivering components faster and more cost-effectively, 3D printing enables complex and customized shapes to be produced that would otherwise be impossible. The recommended approach to taking full advantage of 3D printing is to set goals around part performance and design to those goals.

3D printing delivers true-to-CAD parts directly from the design file to significantly reduce production expenses. The advanced material properties available through 3D printing make it possible to forgo machining for a wide variety of jig and fixture applications to directly print effective components.

Drill guide fixtures need to be durable and deliverable at a low manufacturing cost. Traditionally this has led to drill fixtures that are bulky, heavy, and the result of fast and simple designs. However traditional manufacturing is not the only way to achieve quick and cost-effective drill fixtures. 3D printing is highly competitive in speed and cost, while enabling several performance efficiencies to enhance implementation and improve downstream workflows.

The SLS drill guide fixture can be printed in DuraForm® PA and includes dust removal piping with a pulling vacuum to reduce operator exposure to airborne debris. The same channeling concept could be applied to incorporate a route for cooling fluid, or to vent in an inert gas to reduce oxygen and flame.


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