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View Full Version : Small bench vise ?



rollin45
12-13-2009, 07:50 PM
Greetings all,

I am wondering what you guys that do small work use for a vise. I have tried half a dozen different types/brands and so far haven't found anything that is worth a damn.

At present I'm using a Stanley, but like I say, I've tried several brands and nothing seems to work right. I have a great Wilton machinest vise, with 3" jaws, but it is actually pretty big overall, I am hoping there is something out there that is small, but will actually do the job. I've had three "little parts" go twanging out this afternoon, because the jaws don't line up exactly and the silly thing springs all out of whack when you tighten it up. I want something that is small enough to where a guy can loosen the bench holding clamp and move it over out of the way without standing up and clearing off some real estate further down the bench.

I'm wide open for suggestions as I have lots of small stuff "on deck" and I sure am tired of hunting around for little bitty stuff on the floor.

rollin'

JoeFin
12-13-2009, 08:20 PM
I use a medium size grinding vise to hold small widgets on the bench. I just pick it up and set it in the draw when I'm done.

I'll try to add a picture later

gary hart
12-13-2009, 09:09 PM
Vise that clamps in a vise.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/ghart3/SICvise2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0903/ghart3/SICvise.jpg

Plans in Strictly I.C. April/May, 1999 #68

JoeFin
12-13-2009, 09:19 PM
It was thrown in with a truck load of tooling I got.

Has you can see it was severly abused, pock marked with drill marks. I welded the holes best I could with Ni rod, made a new set of steel jaws and ground it flat again. I don't feel its quite finished at this point nor have a tested it for parrallelism

But it's still handy to have around

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa83/Freakindj/Lathe/vise.jpg

It has enough weight to it that I can do lots of small chores with it that I wouldn't want leave "Jaw marks" in.

KIMFAB
12-14-2009, 02:18 AM
I use a Panavise for the real small stuff and for electronics. They have all kinds of different configurations.
http://www.panavise.com/

tyrone shewlaces
12-14-2009, 03:02 AM
Hate to bring up Harbor Fright, but I saw one of these there and it made me curious enough that I want to pick one up when it goes on sale just to check it out. The one on their shelf seemed nice & tight.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=97160

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/97100-97199/97160.gif

darryl
12-14-2009, 03:34 AM
I have a vise that started out as an angle vise, 3 inch wide. It was a piece of crap as an angle vise, so I took the base off, mounted the vise upside down on the mill and cleaned up a surface all around. Now I just use it as is, don't bolt it down anywhere.

I don't recall, but I think I did a bit of work on the moving jaw so it wouldn't lift (much) when clamping something. I often use it on the drill press- those low profile drill press vises, those affordable to me anyway, are such crap that this one becomes perfectly suitable.

Another vise I have came with the unimat lathe. It's all of - what - 1 1/2 wide, 1 inch opening- I faced a piece of 3/8 plate large enough to mount on the mill table, then mounted this vise onto that plate. That makes a large enough base for this tiny vise that I can use it also without bolting it down (except on the mill where I do secure it).

Sometime this winter season I want to make a low profile vise with jaws maybe 4-6 inches wide, but only 5/8 or so high. It will be made from hot rolled plate, milled flat on both sides, with both jaws being maybe 1 1/2 wide front to back. (4 - 6 inches side to side) I'm considering making it a dual screwless vise of sorts, if I can figure out how to do that. I want to be able to secure both ends of the movable jaw towards the workpiece separately while keeping the jaw tightly down on the base. I'll get better holding power that way and won't need to rely on a slot or something to keep the jaw aligned. Any workpiece down to about 3/4 high can be directly laid on the base before clamping, and I'll be assured of accuracy since the base will be milled while it's aligned with, and clamped to the mill table. The t-slot bolts that hold this low profile vise to the table will go thru the fixed jaw, so the table gets to help the vise stay rigid when things are clamped in it. This should be good for all those jobs where the workpiece might have some length to it, but is otherwise quite narrow. If I need to attach some custom jaw faces I can do that easily.

rollin45
12-14-2009, 10:05 AM
Thanks for the suggestions guys, some good ideas ... not sure which direction I will go, but I am going to do something here in the very near future.

During my working career, one had to be careful of stuff coming out of the vise and breaking your foot, this "parts flying around the room" is a whole new ball game.

rollin'

lynnl
12-14-2009, 01:44 PM
'Rollin' - that's a good name for this topic.

Pretty much sums up my experience in working w/small parts.
i.e. they're always fallin' on the floor and rollin' into some inaccessible place. :)

rollin45
12-14-2009, 06:52 PM
'Rollin' - that's a good name for this topic.

Pretty much sums up my experience in working w/small parts.
i.e. they're always fallin' on the floor and rollin' into some inaccessible place. :)


ain't that the truth!

Well, there is a Harbor Freight near the house and that being the easiest solution I figured I would check it out first. No go . Same wobble and mismatch as is common. There was only one of that particular vise out on display where I could get my hands on it, and maybe other examples wouldn't be as loose, but I kind of doubt it or if you did find one, it would be pure luck and my luck don't run that way.

So I will go down the next trail and see what comes up.
rollin' ,, still rollin'

Your Old Dog
12-14-2009, 08:47 PM
If you can get your hands on some copper pipe, slit it lengthways and use it to line your jaws. I find my vices hold small parts better with the copper jaws not to mention I don't damage them.

tyrone shewlaces
12-14-2009, 08:54 PM
Well, there is a Harbor Freight near the house and that being the easiest solution I figured I would check it out first. No go . Same wobble and mismatch as is common. There was only one of that particular vise out on display where I could get my hands on it, and maybe other examples wouldn't be as loose, but I kind of doubt it or if you did find one, it would be pure luck and my luck don't run that way.

Well that's good to know. HF being what it is, I doubt that any of their other stock is any better. If you are inclined to make a good one from scratch, the best thing about the HF version is that you could start with it and just tune it up rather than starting from a solid block. Even then, you may (probably) be looking at something that will break in half if snuggled too tightly. Oh well.