February 6, 2020

Beginner's Guide to using Dovetails for 5-Axis CNC Workholding

For 5-axis machining, dovetail workholding is a great way to increase manufacturing efficiency.
With automation becoming more and more of a reality for our shop, the benefits of dovetails are abundantly clear. Ideally, all machinists try to minimize the amount of workholding setups while completing as much machining as possible in that first setup.

Dovetails check a lot of boxes in terms of access to the workpiece, rigidity, cost, and something called poka-yoke (an awesome anti-error mechanism). Plus, if we use something called a zero-point system, there's no need to probe!

First, let's explore the benefits of dovetails, cover the Fusion 360 design, CAD & CAM workflows, and how we mill dovetails in aluminum and steel. Finally, to get the creative juices flowing, let's look at dovetail workholding examples from people in our community. Hopefully this video will help you start thinking about ways to improve your workflows!

Links for this video

Dovetail CAM Template F3D File Download

Workholding Examples on IG:

5thaxis IG

revgrips IG


View this post on Instagram

Let's throw some flow in there for good measure #instamachinist

A post shared by Dr.Phil (@the_dr.phil_experience) on

Poka-Yoke Definition | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke

Reach us / CNC Info:

Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Resources:


Better Speeds & Feeds? https://provencut.com

Online Fusion 360 Training: http://bit.ly/LearnFusion

Hands-On CNC Classes: http://www.nyccnc.com/events

I discovered machining as an adult and am grateful to have found something I love and can share with others. We hope NYC CNC not only makes you a better machinist but helps you understand and learn more about how to succeed as a manufacturing entrepreneur!

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