VILLA MACHINE ASSOCIATES INC.

Trusted Manufacturing For Tight Tolerances And Tough Materials

DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURING: DOWEL PINS

by: Matthew Viau on Oct 15, 2015


When it comes to dowel pins, one of the most common methods of alignment, the most tried and true method is to mate two dowel pins with a hole and a slot. The hole locates the first dowel pin, and the slot aligns the second dowel pin, completing the mating process. We as a manufacturer believe it's better to make two holes to line up with one plain dowel and one diamond dowel. This is much easier to make especially with deeper holes and slots.

We use the Magafor brand of reamers almost exclusively for making tightly toleranced dowel holes. Of all the tools and brands we have tried, they are the most consistent. This brings us to our next point, hole sizes. If you are specifying a hole size for a dowel press fit, it's easiest for us to simply make it 0.0004" (0.01mm) under nominal, conversely a slip fit could be the same amount over nominal. The high accuracy series of Magafor reamers come in steps of 0.01mm, so we stock nominal +0.01mm, and nominal -0.01mm of all popular dowel size reamers. While you certainly don't have to make your sizes and tolerances to suit us, it certainly helps us lower our costs and lead times when allowed the option of using what we have on hand.

Below you'll see a few examples of a plain and diamond dowel pin setup.

TL;DR - Using one diamond, and one plain dowel pin is cheaper than making slots.

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