What Are Tooling Plate Fixtures & Components

Categories: Modular Fixturing

Tooling fixtures and other components help improve repeatability, increase accuracy, and reduce costs in manufacturing processes. Continue reading to learn about fixture plates and other versatile components that can decrease your bottom line and produce consistently better products.

What Are Tooling Fixtures?

A tooling fixture is a typically rectangular metal plate used to create locked-in mounting points for workpieces on machine beds. Its purpose is to support manufacturing operations with greater precision, interchangeability, and dependability of finished components.

Aluminum, cast iron, and steel tooling fixtures reduce production times by accommodating faster set-ups, and by streamlining part-to-part transitioning. Fixtures also decrease unproductive loading, unloading, and fixing times.

They also help to reduce skill requirements for operators by simplifying workpiece mounting processes and improving conformity through production runs.

Types of Tooling Components

There are various types of tooling plate fixture components used in manufacturing, including:

  • Standoffs
  • Tooling Plates
  • Vacuum Components
  • Locating Components
  • Clamps & Other Holding Components

Let’s examine each type of tooling component to better understand their purpose and benefits.

Tooling Plates


A tooling plate, sometimes referred to as a fixture plate, is simply a metal plate with precise, grid-based threaded or unthreaded holes. They are mounted on machine beds and are available with an array of optional parts to support precise component positioning and manufacturing repeatability. Attaching and detaching components is fast and easy, allowing you to quickly change from one manufacturing setup to another.


R20-PCPusher Clamp

As the name suggests, clamping and holding components securely hold parts in perfect positions for machining. These components range from male centers to spring-holding devices to tension springs, each type providing a unique holding ability.


R20-SLD locating component for a fixtured plate

Locating components are devices that maintain a precise position of a workpiece in a work-holding setup. It’s imperative that the workpiece is affixed and immobile during machining to ensure precision. You may select between pin and button, cylindrical, conical, profile, and rest pad options.


R8-12-TB Tooling Ball with M8 thread

Like spacers, you use standoffs to separate components when necessary. However, standoffs are typically threaded to allow them to be screwed in place, whereas spacers are not usually threaded. Types of standoffs include pin, magnetic, rotating, rounded, spring-loaded, tapered, and tooling ball.

Vacuum Components

R6-50-EXSC vacuum suction cup with exposed thread

Vacuum components safely, but firmly affix parts in place. These parts range from vacuum hoses to suction cups to various vacuum pump assemblies. These vacuum-assisted components improve setup repeatability and are suitable for multi-component machining setups.

Get Custom Fixtures & Components From Rayco

Rayco Fixture is a leading manufacturer of modular tooling plate fixtures and components for CMMs. When you turn to us for your CMM fixture plates and components, know that always customize it to meet your unique needs. If you need help selecting the right components or want to design a custom fixture, contact us today.


Fixture Plate Guide: Mounting Versus Threaded Holes

Categories: Modular Fixturing

Fixture plates are tools that help increase process repeatability. They are designed to hold a wide array of components like clamps, manifolds, and thumb screws, which reduces time spent switching between components. All fixture plate designs include evenly-spaced threaded holes, but there are some fixture plates that come with mount holes, too. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about mounting holes and threaded holes.

What Are Mounting Holes?

Universal mounting holes are through-holes bored into fixture plates at precise locations to accommodate fast and easy mounting to machine beds. They also help maintain exact positioning of a fixture plate during machining.

Rayco recommends mounting holes for all coordinate measuring machine (CMM) applications that demand ultimate precision and repeatability. CMM machines are available in different sizes and mounting configurations, so be sure to make notes of the year, make, and model of your coordinate measuring machine when ordering a custom fixture plate.

Threaded Holes

All of Rayco’s fixture plates come with threaded holes. Grid-style modular tooling plates feature both threaded and unthreaded holes that support exact positioning and repeatability during machining. The threads in these holes are protected when not in use by short like-threaded cap screws that you remove when you need access to a specific hole.

Rayco’s tooling plate threading options include:

  • 1/4-20 (0.25-inch Diameter With 20 Threads)
  • M4 (4 Millimeter Major Diameter)
  • M6 (6 Millimeter Major Diameter)
  • M8 (8 Millimeter Major Diameter)

Additionally, tooling fixture plates feature an alpha-numeric coordinate system engraved on the bottom and left side of the plate, allowing the operator to identify each hole quickly and accurately. The numbers and letters enhance efficiency and organization in the manufacturing process, allowing the operator to keep track of each component in a multi-part manufacturing setup.

Threaded Holes Versus Mounting Holes

The primary difference between threaded holes and mounting holes is their purpose on a fixture plate. As previously mentioned, universal mounting holes are what operators use to fasten the fixture plate onto the coordinate measuring machine (CMM) or other machinery. Threaded holes are what operators use to fasten specific components to the fixture plate.

Can You Use Threaded Holes for Mounting?

No. Although many clients assume otherwise, the holes in a threaded fixture plate should not be used for mounting, which is why Rayco offers mounting holes as a customization option. Using a threaded hole as a mounting hole will likely damage the threads, rendering the hole useless for securing components in the future.

Learn More About Threaded Holes & Mounting Holes

A fixture plate can make your processes more accurate, simple, and repeatable. If you need a fixture plate with mounting holes, or have questions about what thread type your fixture plate should have, contact Rayco today. We’ve been an industry-leading manufacturer of custom fixture plates and fixture components for more than four decades. Please fill out our online form today to request a consultation with one of our experts.


Your Guide to Aluminum Tooling Plates

Categories: Modular Fixturing

Rayco Fixture has been a trusted name in the machining industry for more than four decades. We sell custom aluminum tooling plates, vision plates, modular fixtures, and portable measuring fixtures for CMMs (coordinate measuring machines). Our top priority is helping you decrease inspection times, enhance repeatability, and easily manage high-volume projects.

Keep reading to learn more about what aluminum tooling plates are, and how they can help you.

Aluminum Tooling Plates Offered by Rayco Fixtures

Rayco’s CMM aluminum fixtures improve the preciseness, duplicability, and throughput of your inspection process, providing fast, reproducible set-ups.

Our hard-coat-anodized aluminum plates are the most durable and cost-effective on the market. No matter the machine type or application, we can find the right plate for you. Our tooling plates are currently available in rectangular, square, and round shapes, with your choice of 1/4/-20, M4, M6, or M8 thread type.

We also offer a range of aluminum tooling plate grades and options to suit your exact needs. You can view some of our options below, or view our complete inventory here. If you don’t see what you need here on the website, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Whether you are perfecting components for aerospace, automobile manufacturing, CMM machining, or food production, Rayco Fixture offers a complete range of custom-produced products to suit your specific needs.

Aluminum Fixture Plate Applications

Rayco Fixture provides high-quality aluminum tooling plates that are perfect for any industry and CMM application. Our precise, quality products help remove variation from inspection, thus enhancing reproducibility and precision. Additionally, our tooling plates are perfect for a wide array of industry applications, including:

Automotive Manufacturing

At Rayco, we know that the automotive industry relies on precision. From component measurements to quality control, our CMM plates will help you drive manufacturing efficiency from start to finish.


Enhance your vision applications with our custom fixture plates. If your manufacturing facility utilizes 3D metrology technology, we offer custom aluminum plates that can be integrated into your existing vision system or robotic vision guidance system.

Food Machinery

Ensure precision in all food processing equipment by utilizing our fixture plates with your CMM. Whether you’re engineering parts for meat grinders or rotating drums, we can customize our fixtures based on your application and needs.


Rayco’s tooling plates help aerospace manufacturers achieve repeatable, efficient, traceable results that exceed the most exacting tolerance specifications.

Packaging Equipment

Create accurate components with help from Rayco. Our aluminum tooling plates can be customized for all types of applications, including large-scale measurements and quality control of shrink wrapping machines, banding machines, and more.

Printing Equipment

Our custom fixtures are designed to help with just about any setup. No matter what type of industrial printing machine you’re inspecting, we can design a tooling plate that works best for your application.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Fixture Plate

There are several key factors to consider when choosing a tooling plate, chief among them being the desired application. Does your application heavily rely on dimensional control? Are precision and dimensional stability important?

Next, you must also consider how the plate will be mounted (horizontally, vertically, etc.). Lastly, you also need to think about the fasteners you are using (their nominal diameter and their threads per inch or millimeter). We can customize our fixtures based on inch and metric thread sizes; as previously mentioned, we offer ¼-20-inch thread types, as well as M4, M6, and M8 metric thread types.

If you still have questions, contact us today. We’re happy to help you find the best aluminum tooling plate for your needs—we can even provide guidance through visual designs.

Steel Versus Aluminum Fixture Plates

Rayco sells both aluminum and steel fixture plates. You may be wondering which material is best for your needs. Take a look at our list of pros and cons below:


  • Durable: Steel is typically more durable than aluminum. You will notice less damage or threading wear with steel.
  • Vibration Dampening: Steel has a higher damping capacity compared to aluminum. If you experience frequent mechanical vibrations in your environment, you may want to consider using steel.
  • More Expensive: Due to its durability and strength, steel tends to have higher upfront costs.


  • Cost-Effective: Manufacturers looking to spend less money will want to choose aluminum. 
  • Lighter: Aluminum is a lightweight material and easier to move around.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum is usually more prone to corrosion when compared to steel. However, Rayco offers hard-anodized aluminum fixtures. Hard-anodized means that our aluminum goes through an electrolytic process. In this process, an electrical current causes oxide, which then hardens on the aluminum and makes it more resistant to corrosion. This type of aluminum is very corrosion-resistant and great for electronic equipment manufacturing applications.

As we mentioned earlier, knowing what type of application you need a fixture plate for is the first step in choosing the right type. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

Request a Quote Today

For more than 44 years, Rayco Fixture has served as an industry-leading supplier of high-quality steel and aluminum tooling plates. Our in-house design experts can expertly manage all your fixturing needs. Whether you need a CMM fixturing kits, or custom fixtures that will improve your quality processes, we’re here to help. Contact our team today with your questions or to request a hassle-free quote.


CMM Workholding Solutions

Categories: Modular Fixturing

Manufacturing companies rely on precision when developing new parts and products. Using CMMs is one way to increase accuracy, but custom-designed CMM fixture plates can also help reduce mistakes, increase production efficiency, and improve repeatability.

Keep reading to learn more what CMMs are, what types of CMM workholding solutions are available to manufacturers, and how Rayco Fixtures can help you.

What Is CMM?

Commonly called a CMM, a Coordinate Measuring Machine, accurately measures physical objects. Although today’s CMMs take advantage of next-gen technology, the first CMM was developed by Scotland’s Ferranti Company during the 1950s.

The Ferranti CMM design was a dual-axis model that conducted 3D tracing. Its precise measurements helped develop and advance military products. Three-axis units arrived in the manufacturing landscape during the 1960s.

Now, more than 60 years later, CMMs are still employed to ensure quality control and precision.

Common Types of CMMs

Some of the most common types of CMM uses in manufacturing today include:

  • Bridge: Ranked among the most accurate of CMMs, this three-axis machine uses a sensor that monitors a probe’s position at all times. Additionally, there are two types of bridge CMMs: moveable-table and moveable-bridge.
  • Gantry: Similar to the Bridge, this much larger CMM eliminates the need for heavy lifting and moving of large parts.
  • Cantilever: Differing from the Bridge and larger Gantry designs, this type of CMM is generally attached to a base. Its design makes it easier for technicians to load and inspect parts, and is often used when measuring small components.
  • Plate-Mounted & Runway-Mounted Horizontal Arms: As the name suggests, probes are mounted horizontally instead of vertically. They are most commonly used to measure long or thin components, or for parts that have complicated geometries.
  • Portable Measuring Arm: These mobile CMMs can be used to take precision measurements in real-time. Designed with six-to seven-axis points, they improve productivity because the unit can be moved to where it is needed.
  • Optical: These non-contact units use optical triangulation to gather 3D measurements. Their free-arm system increases speed and agility while ensuring accuracy.

What Is a CMM Fixture Plate?

A fixed plate, or modular fixture plate, gives workshops and light manufacturing operations the ability to secure components and materials in place. Standoffs and tension spring arms can be hand tightened into the fixture plate to hold objects in place. Alternatively, CMM fixture plates can be fixture plates can be custom-built, based on the part or component you are measuring.

Rayco’s Workholding Solutions

Rayco Fixtures is proud to offer a wide array of custom CMM workholding solutions for clients in many industries. We understand that every business has unique needs and requirements, which is why we work closely with you to ensure you get the right product.

Our workingholding solutions include:

  • Fixture Plates
  • Fixture Kits
  • Clamping & Holding Kits

We design every product to be versatile to any application and part. Additionally, when you work with us, you can have peace of mind knowing that all of our products are made in-house in the United States, and we back every CMM workholding product with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Our top priority is ensuring that you’re happy with our work.

Have Questions? Call Rayco Fixtures Today!

If your business relies on CMMs, you need a custom-built fixture plate. At Rayco Fixtures, we design our CMM workholding solutions to help you improve overall accuracy and reduce waste. We’ve been a trusted U.S. manufacturer for over four decades, and take pride in our long list of satisfied clients. If you have questions about our CMM fixture plates, contact us today.