What is tooling?

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thalion

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"Tooling" is a word I see people throw around in an engineering context on this board from time to time. I've looked for a definition online in vain. What exactly is it?<br /><br />Any response would be appreciated; thanks in advance...
 
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vogon13

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Stuff you need to make things over and above the raw materials.<br /><br /> <br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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spacester

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I've worked as a Tooling Engineer. It's tough; machine design is a cake walk in comparison. I am not familiar with the breadth of Aerospace fixtures.<br /><br />Tooling is mostly comprised of Fixtures and Jigs. Jigs are simple setups that use the workpiece as part of the set-up.<br /><br />The purpose of Tooling is to hold the workpiece while you apply your manufacturing process to it. Thus the word 'fixture'. It ain't so much the holding of it as it is holding it precisely, and what's even more important is getting the workpiece(s) in and out of the fixture quickly.<br /><br />Weld fixtures can be all over the map from stuff not much more than a fancy anvil to customer-owned highly specialized productivity focused setup fixtures to pneumatic-assisted work tables designed and programmed to work in harmony with robotic welders. They have to withstand a harsh environment, including the fact that welders like to beat on things with sledgehammers. <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />Drill fixtures are very common. NC (Numeric Controlled) machining centers use a lot of fixtures, but conventional machinists using the Knee Mill and Lathe use very few. Other manual machines tend to call for more fixtures than mill and lathe IME.<br /><br />Metrology fixtures are a whole 'nother animal. These are smallish, precision engineered and custom machined highly precise and highly specialized measuring devices. Used in conjunction with high volume manufacturing IME, using SPC (Statistical Process Control) to make sure your high volume parts are staying in tolerance. An extreme diversity of gadgets are produced for metrology, it's cool stuff. The finest machinists are needed.<br /><br />Sticker shock is to be counted on when customers get the quotes back on what their tooling is going to cost. Many a business plan has been thwarted when the tooling cost projections turn out to be woefully short.<br /><br />There are essentially ZERO economies of scale with tooling.<br /><br />As I imagine <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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I left out an entire, huge area of tooling: Stamping, pressing and forging operations all require very expensive and tough 'tool and die' stuff. It's not easy making stuff that is extremely strong and durable while also maintaining high precision. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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thalion

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Thanks much, all. <br /><br /><img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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spacester

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I can't resist throwing in a space flight factoid; an argument for the practicability of off-earth manufacturing.<br /><br />The nickel-iron "natural alloy" of an M-type Asteroid can be expected to be an excellent source of material for tooling of all types. <br /><br />It's sometimes said to be a "natural stainless steel" but that's not really true because of (apparent) lack of Chromium. But hey, if you replace Chromium with Nickel, you've got superior material properties compared to almost all stainless steels.<br /><br />(That is another significant cost component in tooling: all the materials used are expensive. ) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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