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V-blocks: What are they and why are they so popular?

Welcome to the world of v-blocks! These precision measurement tools are ever so popular these days, but what are they? What makes v-blocks such an important commodity for a measurement workplace? We are going to provide you with an overview of v-blocks, what they are, what they are used for, and why they are a good idea to have around.

A v-block is sometimes referred to as a vee block and what you call it is just a matter of preference. V-blocks are very precisely designed block jigs that are used to hold a cylindrical workpiece securely in place on a milling machine or on a drilling press. As most of our readers know, working with cylindrical parts can be difficult, especially well-made ones, given their circular shape. Cylindrical parts can be difficult to hold in place, measure, or alter because they are prone to movement. Hence the v-block. A v-block solves the problems associated with working with cylindrical workpieces.

These tools are given their name because of having a v-shaped groove in their center into which the part you are working with can be placed. Typically, the v-shaped groove will be evenly spaced from both sides of the block as well as its base such that the part placed inside will be properly centered and balanced. The groove, or channel, will be positioned such that there is a 90-degree space at a 45-degree rotation from either of the sides. V-blocks can be used when working with pipes or rods and when doing jobs involving either milling or drilling, as well as for inspection jobs when checking for roundness.

V-blocks are versatile tools, able to hold a part in position either vertically or horizontally. V-blocks are typically sold in pairs matched in size and grade of accuracy. This is due to the fact that often when working with longer cylindrical parts, the operator might require multiple v-blocks in order to hold the part in place. Additionally, v-block sets are available and composed of different sizes and pairs in order to set you up for any job you may come across. Most v-blocks are sold alongside clamps that allow for the part being worked on to be fastened firmly into the v-block. You may already have a number of different clamps appropriate for this task and can save money by opting out of them when making a v-block purchase. Some v-blocks are designed to have internal magnets to add to the security of the holding mechanism.

There are a few important qualities to know about v-blocks. V-blocks generally come in one of two grades—Grade A or Grade B. Additionally, the tolerance of a v-block is defined as the maximum amount of distance that separates two imaginary planes, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the datum face of the part, between which the part is enclosed. A v-block can be built with either two vees or one vee. On a two-vee v-block, one of the vees will be deeper and wider than the other in order to work with differently shaped parts. You may also purchase a v-block that has a 120-degree angle included in order to check triangle effects or taps. When using a v-block in practice, one of the most important factors for proper measurement is that the cylindrical part you are working with rests stably on the sides of the vee and not on the edges of the vee. Finally, checking your vee block regularly for dents, nicks, scratches, or burrs will be vital to sustaining accuracy. Any small amount of waring or warping can have a negative impact on the precision of your measurement or adjustment. Be sure to check that the channel or groove is properly parallel, both before first use as well as at regular intervals after much use. If you are working with the same size workpieces often, there is an increased chance of wear occurring where the part is in contact with the v-block.

V-blocks are awesome little tools that are incredibly useful when measuring, altering, or inspecting cylindrical parts. Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to use a v-block as often as every day. However, at some point in time, every metrologist will need to stabilize a cylindrical part and the v-block is a useful tool to have on hand. If you have more questions about v-blocks or want to hear about the specific selections we offer, contact us at Higher Precision today!

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