Drilling and tapping in vacuum clamping

As the bottom of a workpiece rests on a vacuum chuck, it is difficult to machine through-holes by way of standard drilling and tapping on vacuum tables. However, there are various solutions enabling drilled holes and tapped holes to nevertheless quickly be made in workpieces.

Workpiece-specific clamping

From small series upwards, it is worthwhile producing your own workpiece-specific adapter plate. This is relatively simple and brings a high return. As well as the option of producing the adapter plate in such a way that the workpieces can be machined with drilling and tapping, even more workpiece-specific things can be adapted to vacuum clamping. For example, height differences, the options of fully milling through products, multi-clamping, etc. The Tepas BaseChuck modular base plates are fully equipped for this. You can, for example, carry out the initial machining on a GridPlate for the highest clamping force and the second machining on the workpiece-specific adapter plate. To this end, standard CustomPlate adapter plates, that can easily be adapted, can be supplied from stock. In addition, specific vacuum mats can be used.

Would you like to learn more?

If you would like to receive advice on the best way of machining a workpiece, send your workpiece drawing, preferably a 3D model to engineering@tepasclamping.com.  

Vacuum pods

For workpieces that require a lot of cutting through operations, such as frames, panels for engineering, doors, etc. Vacuum pods can be placed on a flat surface, precisely where support of the workpiece is required. The underside of the pods are attached by vacuum to the surface. The workpiece is clamped by vacuum activated at the top of the pods. Workpieces clamped with Tepas vacuum pods can be fully cut through, even through drilling, tapping and thread milling. GridPods offer the highest clamping force with a sealing cord. PerfoPods allow cut through operations of the workpiece to also be performed above the pod.

How it works:

Vacuum pods are placed on a flat surface. The vacuum sealed zones at the bottom of the pods keep the pods clamped in position. The position of the pods is at the user's discretion. Afterwards, the workpiece is placed on the pods, after which the vacuum is activated at the top of the pods. The workpiece has then been clamped and is ready for machining. For machining on the surface, machining on the outside, but also for machining through the workpiece. One major advantage is the space beneath the workpieces, allowing drilling and tapping to also be carried out.

Clamping and positioning:

The vacuum pods are positioned and clamped on a flat surface. One option is to position a dowel pin in the flat surface, enabling the exact position of the pods to be determined repeatedly. This enables repetitive workpiece-specific clamping to be carried out.  

Flat drills and milling

By using the Tepas vacuum mats and carrying out machining with flat drills instead of drills with a point, milling and possibly thread milling, drilled holes and tapped holes can be made without damaging the vacuum chuck.

Flat drills:

Drilled holes up to 3xD can be made with flat drills. The main advantage is that through-holes can be made. The drill only passes a few 1/10 mm under the product and drills into the vacuum PerfoMat which only slightly damages the mat. Kennametal (plus other companies) stocks these drills as standard. More info.

Milling drilled holes:

With standard milling, drilled holes can be created through circular milling. As long as the drilled holes are not too deep, these operations are easy to perform. The cutter only passes a few 1/10 mm under the workpiece and mills into the vacuum PerfoMat which only slightly damages the mat.