Abstract The development of a knowledge model applied to fixture design is a complex task. The main purpose of such model is the development of a knowledge-based application to assist fixture designers. It comprises a detailed specification of the types and structures of data involved in the execution of the inference process needed to create a fixture solution for machining a raw part. A development method together with a knowledge model for automating fixture design is proposed. The development was divided into three parts: Design Process Model, definition of Top-level functional functions and Product Knowledge Model. Adopting a functional design approach, the fixture design solution was created in two levels: functional and detailed. The functional level is based on fixture functional elements and the detailed one is based on fixture commercial elements. The definitions and concepts used in the application are specified in several Units of Knowledge (UoK) that comprises the Fixture Knowledge Model. Common Knowledge Analysis and Design Structuring (CommonKADS), Methodology and software tools Oriented to KBE Applications (MOKA), Integrated DEFinition for Function Modelling (IDEF0) and Unified Modelling Language (UML) are the methodologies and techniques used in the proposed method. Finally, a prototype KBE application for fixture design was developed.