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CMM Fixture Plates, Aluminum
Aluminum Fixture Plate / Breadboard
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These fixture plates provide the ideal platform for constructing modular fixture systems for use in CMM Metrology. See the Application Idea tab for details.
These solid aluminum, nonmagnetic fixture plates, also known as breadboards, have been hard-coat anodized for increased abrasion resistance and durability. They provide the ideal platform for modular CMM fixturing (see Application Idea tab for details), prototyping optical assemblies, conducting experiments, and mounting smaller subsystems.
Each CMM fixture plate features a pattern of 1/4"-20 tapped through holes, spaced 0.5" (12.7 mm) apart, that is offset by 1.0" (25.4 mm) from the edges of the board. This allows for an increased number of mounting options for components when compared to breadboards that have a standard 1" or 25.0 mm hole pattern or an offset double-density 0.5" or 12.5 mm hole pattern. The holes are threaded completely through these plates, allowing components to be mounted on both sides at once. Within the 1.0" wide, untapped region on each side are on-axis alphanumeric labels for identifying specific rows, columns, or mounting holes and allowing for repeatable experimental setups or modular fixturing.
Other Breadboard Options
For vacuum applications, we recommend using our selection of Unanodized Circular or Rectangular Solid Aluminum Breadboards. For limited space applications, Thorlabs offers the MS12B and MS12B/M Mini-Series Breadboards. These breadboards feature increased tapped hole density and thinner breadboard thickness.
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30 mm Cage Cube Fixed in Place Using Ø1/2" Posts, a Post Holder, a Base, a PM3/M Clamping Arm, and Setscrews
CMM Modular Fixturing
Thorlabs' CMMP1818 and CMMP2424 fixture plates provide the ideal platform for constructing modular fixture systems for use in CMM Metrology. Fixturing is the process of securing an object prior to scanning with a CMM. Modular fixturing is where off-the-shelf components are used to secure these objects without the need for custom machining. Compared to permanent custom fixturing, it is a cost effective method to secure prototypes, small or last-minute production runs, or one-time projects. Modular systems also allow for repeatable, accurate, and fast fixturing setups to be created at any time to hold any object that needs to be scanned. Thorlabs' solid aluminum CMM plates feature a durable hard-coat finish, 1089 or 2025 1/4"-20 mounting taps, and on-axis alphanumeric labels to help simplify the creation of these custom fixtures.
Material and Finish
A simple modular fixturing setup constructed on our CMMP1818 fixture plate is shown to the right. In this application a 30 mm cage cube is being fixed in place using Thorlabs' Ø1/2" post assemblies. Four TR075 0.75" Long Posts are used to create a corner base for repeatable positioning, while a fifth one is mounted on a BA1S Base to create an adjustable fifth point of contact that applies pressure on the cube, holding it in place. Finally, a post holder and metric post are combined with a PM3/M Clamping Arm to clamp the cube in place from above. Please note that our imperial Ø1/2” posts have 8-32 taps and are incompatible with the imperial PM3 clamping arms, which contain 6-32 mounting studs.
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Unanodized Aluminum Post Holder
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Type-II Anodized Aluminum Post Holder
The anodizing of aluminum is a widely utilized conversion coating technique applied to a wide range of materials and employed in various decorative and engineering applications. In the simplest of terms, anodizing is an electrochemical process that modifies the parent material’s surface hardness, reflectivity, lubricity, adhesion, light suppression, and electrical /thermal insulating properties. While the anodizing process can be performed on a variety of electrically conductive materials, it is predominantly used to plate aluminum, thereby improving the component’s surface properties.
Within the anodizing process, there are three alternative processes that, while similar, produce slightly different end properties: Type-I (Chromic Acid Anodize), Type-II (Sulfuric Acid Anodize), and Type-III (Hard Anodize). An explanation of each process is provided below. The main purpose of these three processes is to control the oxidation reaction that occurs naturally when raw aluminum is exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere.
The anodizing process starts by mounting the substrate/parts to be anodized onto a conductive rack/jig (usually constructed from titanium or aluminum); these racks are then immersed into an electrolyte solution, which has a composition that is similar to battery acid. A DC power supply is then added to the entire cell/anodizing system; this promotes electrolysis of water within the electrolyte via electron transfer and separation of water molecules, which in turn promotes oxygen evolution at the anode (hence the term anodizing).
This reaction forms a tightly packed hexagonal structured layer on the exposed surfaces of the aluminum components. Once hydrated/sealed (in most cases), the resulting item has improved corrosion resistance and is electrically insulated. The density, thickness, and sometimes color of the resultant anodic film can be precisely controlled through the use of various electrolyte solutions, concentrations, temperatures, and current densities. After this initial conversion coating has taken place, various different chemical species (i.e., PTFE, metallic species, or colored pigments) can be adsorbed / deposited into the oxidized film, which can further enhance the Anodic film’s performance or aesthetics.
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Type-III Anodized Aluminum Post
Most Thorlabs components feature a Type-II matte-black anodized finish to promote light-absorption and provide improved wear resistance, while maintaining the ability to be machined with common tooling. In certain Thorlabs designs, Type-III or “Hard Coat Anodizing” has been chosen to offer maximum surface-hardness and wear resistance due to the requirements presented by the product’s intended application, such as our TRA series non-magnetic, low-reflectivity aluminum posts.
Optical Breadboard Selection Guides
The selection guides below list every size offered for our honeycomb, solid aluminum, and acrylic breadboards. Simply locate the specific width and length needed and then select the type of breadboard. Expand each table by clicking the More [+] button within the header.