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1. (WO1998052719) CLAMPING SYSTEM
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CLAIMS
1. A jaw for a workpiece clamping system, the jaw comprising a first member having means for mounting the jaw on a suitable support structure, a second member mounted on said first member and having means for receiving a portion of at least one face of a workpiece, the jaw including means for allowing rotation of said second member relative to said first member.

2. A jaw according to Claim 1, wherein the suitable support structure may be a machining table, or an intermediate structure which is itself secured to a table or other work surface.

3. A workpiece clamping system comprising four jaws, each jaw being in accordance with Claim 1 or Claim 2, two jaws being fixed and two being re-positionable (for example, slidable) with respect to the machining table.

4. A clamping system according to Claim 3 , wherein in the two fixed jaws, the mounting means comprises an internally threaded hole extending into the interior of the first member, for receiving a threaded bolt to fix the jaw into the required position on the machining table.

5. A clamping system according to Claim 3 or Claim 4, wherein in the case of the two slidable jaws, the mounting means comprises a protrusion extending generally downwardly and outwardly of the first member, this protrusion being received in a corresponding slide channel within the machining table, such that the workpiece, typically held by a jaw at each corner, can be clamped to the table by forcing the two slidable jaw members towards the two fixed members.

6. A clamping system according to Claim 3 wherein both the fixed and re-positionable jaws include location pegs which are received within matching holes either in the table itself, or in an intermediate rail member which is itself then secured to a standard machine work table.

7. A clamping system according to Claim 6, wherein the sliding jaws each include an additional third member the position of which is fixed with respect to the worktable and the first and second members are slidably mounted on the third member.

8. A jaw according to Claim 1 or Claim 2 , or a clamping system according to any of claims 3 to 7 , wherein the second member is a ball bearing out of which approximately one quarter segment has been removed, the remainder representing approximately three quarters of a sphere, with the missing quarter providing the edges which, in use, engage with the faces of the workpiece at a corner thereof.

9. A jaw or clamping system according to Claim 8, wherein the second member fits within correspondingly shaped slight recesses (ball seats) in vertical and horizontal faces of the first member, and is retained within said recesses by suitable retaining means.

10. A jaw or clamping system according to Claim 9, wherein a suitable retaining means comprises a spring one end of which is inserted into a hole drilled into the first member and the other end of which is inserted into a hole drilled into the second member, the two ends being retained within their respective holes by means of spring retaining pins inserted through channels drilled into the two members from the outside to the first mentioned holes at right angles thereto.

11. A jaw or clamping system according to any of Claims 8 to 10, wherein the ball bearing is preferably coated with titanium nitride to improve resistance to wear and corrosion.

12. A jaw or clamping system according to any of Claims 9 to 11, wherein the ball seat on the vertical face of the first member is disposed at an angle (typically 81 to 82 degrees to the horizontal) , the effect of which is to push the ball downwards to the horizontal ball seat thus locking up the ball so that it can be carried from setup to machine.

13. A jaw according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, or a clamping system according to any of claims 3 to 7 , wherein the second member takes the form of a cylinder having approximately one half cut away along a vertical section line - the cylindrical "back" face of the second member is received within a correspondingly shaped recess in the first member.

14. A jaw according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, or a clamping system according to any of claims 3 to 7 , wherein the second member is approximately hemispherical, such that four jaws with such hemispherical second members can be used to clamp a cylindrical workpiece.

15. A clamping system comprising at least two jaws, each jaw comprising a first member having means for mounting the jaw on a suitable support structure, a second member mounted on said first member and having means for receiving a portion of at least one face of a workpiece, the jaw including means for allowing rotation of said second member relative to said first member .