View Full Version : use Palmgren milling vise or Bridgeport milling vise?

10-13-2011, 12:42 PM
When I bought my Bridgeport step pulley machine last month it came with three vises. All three vises from my recollection have 6" jaws.

1) Bridgeport brand with swivel base, or at least it has a large Bridgeport logo cast into it, and it looks very old
2) Palmgren brand with swivel base, looks newer, could not find any marking as made in USA or wherever
3) TTI brand with swivel base and swivel jaws, basically it swivels in two axis, says made in India on it

Last weekend I installed the new adjustable worm gear and shaft and put the head back on. This weekend I plan to tram the mill and would also like to install and tram a vise at the same time. I don't plan on installing the TTI at this time because I don't think I want to deal with the dual swivels for now.

In your opinions, which is better, an original loks like it's 50 years old Bridgeport vise, or a newer looking Palmgren? I can take pictures later tonight if they are needed.


10-13-2011, 01:25 PM
Palmgren never made particularly high quality stuff. Sears used to sell their rotary table. I wouldn't go with the India vise either,so that leaves the Bridgeport.

Why don't you tram the head to the surface of the TABLE on your mill?

Or,do you mean just indicate the vise until it is parallel or square with the table's motion? Unless the Bridgeport is really worn out,I'd still use it. But,try to get a Kurt.

10-13-2011, 01:32 PM
Or look at getting a new one from Glacern. We have one and they are very nice.

10-13-2011, 01:32 PM
I was going to square the mill head to the table, and the square the vise to the head. Or is there a better way?

10-13-2011, 02:08 PM
Tram the head to the table and then indicate from the spindle to the fixed jaw of the vise.

10-14-2011, 12:38 AM
I've used both a Palmgren milling vise and a Bridgeport. The Bridgeport was beefier by far. Neither had a lock down feature as found on the Kurt or its clones like the Glacern referenced above.

10-14-2011, 09:35 AM
Tram the head to the table and then indicate from the spindle to the fixed jaw of the vise.

I am pretty sure we are talking about the same thing. I'm not a machinist, I have no formal training. I used machine tools throughout my collage career and for a short time during/after when I worked at a couple places building custom machines for factory automation. I've always like doing metal fab, and have done it since high school (20 years ago) but this is my first machine tool. I have alot of hobbyist sheetmetal fab capability but I've forgotten about 98% of what I learned regarding machine tool operation.

My intent was to tram the spindle to the table so I know it's perpendicular relative to the table, and then use the dial indicator to ensure the fixed vise jaw is parallel to the travel of the table. I suspect this is what "indicate" means but in a much more verbose fashion. Thanks for the help.

It would be nice to have a "nicer" vise, but these are what I've got and they are a huge upgrade compared to what I had before, which was nothing. If I end up having problems with the Bridgeport I'll try the Palmgren, and if I have problems with that, I'll try to find something nicer.

Thanks all.

10-14-2011, 10:28 AM

First thing, remove the swivel bases off of all your vices. And just bolt the vice down to the table for use, (after tramming the head). You'll get much better results that way.

If you leave the India made vice sit outside in the weather for a couple years to age, it might become an OK vise. After regrinding it of course. I've done a couple that way and have gotten noticeable improvements. Still the castings tend to be a bit thin and fragile. It seems they do end up breaking after 5-6 years of continuous production shop use.

I've used both Bridgeport and Palmgren vises. I personally don't care for either one. But of the two, I'd choose the Bridgeport as being a bit stouter to use.


10-14-2011, 10:51 AM
Not much point in traming to the table then putting on a vice that's out, or, if you are using a vice, traming to a table that's "rough".

I do 90% of my work in my vices, so I typically tram to the vice. My table is far from perfect - the vices are still (mostly - only one accident :mad: ) good. I use the large flat area on the kurt for traming - If I really care about the result, I tram to the top surface of the vice slides. If I mount both vices, I try to find a happy average between both. Moving the table some distance make it harder... BP tables are made of rubber. Lately I've been using soft jaws more often - no need to tram the fine details- just cut the jaws.

Vices - I have a pair of Kurt 618. Nice, crazy expensive, but I got them separately as great deals. Prior to that I had a 40 year old BP vice - it was actually pretty good.

Yes... remove the swivel base unless you need it for a particular job.

10-14-2011, 12:51 PM
I just "reconditioned" my Bridgeport vise and I'm finally happy with it. It was pretty beat.

I started by disassembling everything...ran a file over the bottom of it to debur it, then mounted the main casting to the mill table and indicated it in referencing off of the fixed jaw mount surface. I made a large flycutter so I could resurface the bed of vise in one pass...took off just enough to clean it up. Then I took the same amount off of the bottom of the moving jaw casting, plus a little more to tighten up the gibs....reasembled it all and took a light pass at over the tops and clamping surfaces of the jaws (It already had the "built in parallel" steps machined into the jaws, so I just cleaned 'em up) to square them up with a 123 block clamped in it. Works much better. Hold firm with about 1/2 the clampling pressure it needed before.

I'd use whichever vise is biggest/heaviest, then go through it to make it work right.

10-14-2011, 06:57 PM
The tool and die maker in the basement of the engineering lab at college, a crusty Swede, used a Bridgeport vise and thought it was a good design. I think, however, that 1969 may have been before Kurt came out with its AngLock patented design. (Does anybody know when that happened?) At any rate, at one point in time the Bridgeport vise may have been one of the best available. While a Kurt vise may be better in some respects, I suspect a properly-fitted B'port vise will do quite well after you get the hang of knocking the work back down after tightening the movable jaw.