View Full Version : Vice for Mill/drill

04-02-2009, 07:42 PM
Hey all;

I'm fairly new to machining, and looking to tool up my mill - a RF31 Mill/drill.

What would you recommend for a vice?


Is a 6" vice a good size for this machine?
I don't really have money for a Kurt. :) What importer makes good vices? Phase II?
Is there anything I should stay far, far away from?


04-02-2009, 08:14 PM
When I started with my RF45 I bought a 5" kurt clone, it works pretty well. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it will lift on the moveable jaw, only 2-3 thou but still a pain as you have to tap your work down. I built a 3" tool makers screwless vise and it is way more accurate to work with and does not lift the work at all. I don't even use the Kurt clone now, but I'm sure I will again it's just I can clamp the larger stuff to the table. Just my opinion.

04-02-2009, 08:25 PM
There are several "good" import clones, but generally not the names you'll recognize. Eeven those that used to be good were pilfered by MBAs "leveraging the brand" to improve quarterly numbers. I've got a Taiwanese Homge that is VERY good.

04-02-2009, 08:35 PM
Come and get one of my Harbor Feights. Seriously. I've hot rodded them all I can and still not happy. Got a Kurt on fleabay for a couple hundred. Haven't used it yet but looks like the difference between a D9 Cat and a Yugo.

Bill Pace
04-02-2009, 10:21 PM
A 6" vise will probably be overkill on your mill-drill - a 5" fits them pretty well.

Its probably a toss-up on "this-un bein better'n that-un"in the clones. It actually amazes me that they can sell that big a chunk of iron as cheaply as they do - and for that small amount the vises are really a pretty good buy. Yeah, they wont come up to a Kurt, but it'll get you by till later, -- maybe you can come up on a Kurt. (thats how I did it;))

You may as well get the ENCO version and take advantage of the free frt, these things are heavy. The 5" is $92.95 and qualifies for the free frt.

04-03-2009, 12:05 PM
Thanks for all the information.

I've also found a whole heck of a lot out on the internet.

At this point, I'm seriously tempted to spend the money for a 6" Kurt, new from Enco.

It's expensive, but with care it should last the rest of my life. Buy once, cry once. :)

My only real concern is that the D675 will be too big for a RF31. That said, I do plan on upgrading to a Bridgeport-style knee mill someday, and I want the vise to be useful there, too.


04-03-2009, 01:16 PM
When I got my RF31 I found a used 4" Kurt on E-bay. I figured If I do move up in mill size and need a 6", I could sell the 4" to some one else with a small mill. Cost me almost as much for the vise as I gave for the mill though. If I remember correctly I gave just over $300 for the vise.

Before you buy the bigger vise, take a look at the weight, and also the length. Then figure out how much of it will be hanging over the edge of the bed. Way to much for me, that why I stuck with the 4".


Bill Pace
04-03-2009, 01:21 PM
but with care it should last the rest of my life. Buy once, cry once. :)
Heh, even with abuse, it'd still last ferever in a HSM atmosphere...they really are nice vises.

Free ship from Enco on the Kurts right now IS a big plus.

I've got a mill-drill and have a Enco 5" clone on it and it pretty well 'fills' it up,-- you'll probably hurt the Y travel pretty good with a 6". However, mounting the vise along the X axis will open up the Y - a bit awkward for some set-ups, but doable.

As I moved out of the mill-drill and on to a BP clone, I started scouring ebay for a Kurt, taking my time waiting for one where everybody else went to sleep;) and after bidding on about 25-30 of them, I finally landed a 675 for $167 + frt - bout $200. Its sweet!

Roy Andrews
04-04-2009, 01:51 PM
you will always regret it if you don't get the curt. if you can afford it even remotely get it. i have more money in my vice than i do in my Bridgeport and i don't regret it. i swap it back and forth between the two mills if i have to do good work. if you already are thinking of getting a bigger mill you should get the big vice. if you want to come and get it i have a nice SMALL 7" kt vice with about 12" opening and rotating base. should go right on your mill drill. will probably help to quell vibrations to.

Mike Burdick
04-04-2009, 03:05 PM

You might consider a screwless toolmakers vise like ClintonH said above. Enco and others sell them. The "imports" are nicely made and usually cost under $70.00. Unless you plan on doing very large jobs these work well for a mill/drill and don't use up a lot of the limited space.


I know you didn't ask this but if you don't have a Step Block and Clamp Set for your mill/drill yet - get a set, it's a must! This will handle all the larger items. Again, the imports don't cost that much and will work great. Here's an example at Enco...