We are heading into the end of another year.   A time to reflect on what we learned and what we have done to bring us closer to our goals.

A great number of engineers will be retiring in the United States in the next 7-10 years.  It is important that new CAD Drafters and Machine Designers begin learning from those who have been in the field.  It takes years of practice to get good at dance, football, and journalism.  It also takes years of learning to get good at Machine Design.  Even if you have a Masters in Engineering, if you haven’t been doing the kind of design that you are doing currently — automatic assembly machines, material handling machines, weld and assembly fixtures – it takes practice and learning from others.

Machine Tool Design is very different from Product Design.

As I have stated before, Machine Design is both an art and a science.  The measurements are precise and the dynamics takes a keen knowledge of math and physics (science).  How you go about holding a part in place while it is being welded or assembled takes creativity (art) because each project has different space constraints and properties.  There is no one right way.


This blog began in September 2011.

What have we learned together since then?

Here are some of the topics we have covered.  You may remember others that you liked better.  If you haven’t been following the blog since the beginning.  You might want to check out the archives for items you have missed.

 1)  Seven tips for Weld Fixture Design.

The very first blog included a video that has gotten over 3000 views on Youtube!

The Blog link:
Seven Tips for Lean and Efficient Weld Fixture Design
The Video:

2) What fasteners to use.

I have enjoyed the descussions that took place on linked in regarding fasteners following the blog postings.

Fine Screw Threads

Shoulder Screws






Button head Cap Screws

As we entered into the discussion of Button Head Cap Screws (BHCS) we found that they aren’t used real often in Machine Tool design except when needed for space constrains, sheet metal, or for appearances.  The small key and big head make it easy to strip out the socket when trying to remove the screw.

We will talk more about fasteners in the coming year.  For example: DOWELS and SET SCREWS … and we haven’t talked about the length of screws yet! 

3) Weldments

Creating a weldment drawing.

In the coming year we will be talking more about the design and use of weldments in machine tools.

4) Subassemblies in Machine Design

Six benefits to using Sub Assemblies in Machine Tool Design.

5) Clamps

11 Clamping  ideas  for holding the product part in a weld fixture.

Adjusting the location of a straightline action clamp.

We have so much more to cover.  What about clamping pressure and clamp attachments?


We have an exciting year of learning coming up.  We have more fastener information, more clamping topics to cover.

I am excited about our very next blog.  Because we have filmed George, the founder of Rentapen, who has been designing machine tools for over 35 years.  In the film he is talking about “Why design adjustability into your weld and assembly fixtures. ”  It’s pretty cool.

If you haven’t signed up already to be notified when the next blog is launched, be sure to sign up for education and updates using the simple form in the upper right of this web page.

AND if you haven’t visited our 3D CAD download page recently,  check it out.  We recently added clamp risers to use with Wolverine clamps!

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