View Full Version : Polishing a Turd

09-21-2012, 05:03 PM
My Enco mill came with a 4" tilting vise. What a piece of junk. The jaws aren't square. You take the jaw faces off and the casting looks like it was hobbed out with a cold chisel. But I don't have anything else. Just spent my allowance (for may years) on the mill. Let's see what we can do.

Took it apart, set it upside down on 123 blocks so the part of the casting that the jaw slides on is setting on the blocks. Milled as little as possible off the bottom to make if flat. Flipped it over and milled the surface that the movable jaw slides on, again just enough to make it flat. Also took that chance to true up the fixed jaw. Back over on the 123 blocks to smooth out the surface under the moveable jaw, where the holding plate slides.

Side note: Saw in another thread some folks never use their 123 blocks. I find them handier than a shirt pocket.

Did similar operations on the moveable jaw, just enough to make it square and flat.

Put it back together and found that having taken a little off both the moveable jaw and the top of the base made the clamping screw misalign just a bit, so I drilled the hole in the moveable jaw out a little bigger.

Put it back together (without the tilting base) and clamped it to the mill table. I have a piece of stainless, about 1" wide, 2.5" long, 3/16" thick. Wanted to get it closer to 1/8". Put parrallels in the vise and tapping the piece down while tightening the clamping screw, was able to hold the piece and not be able to slide out the parallels.

Holy crap! It work! World class? No. But maybe it will last me until I can get a nice milling vise. Maybe one of those Shars that keeps flashing at the top of the screen. And did it all with a half inch end mill. Don't think any cut was more than 10 thou deep.

Whadaya know? I polished a turd.

09-21-2012, 05:18 PM
Glad it worked for you.

Reminded me of the episode on Mythbusters where they did the same thing with different animal "scat". Can't remember which polished up best but they did do it.


09-21-2012, 07:01 PM
Glad it worked out for you. I hate to get poor quality tooling and have to overhaul it before I can use it. I use my 123 bocks and 246 blocks often.

A.K. Boomer
09-21-2012, 09:25 PM
Good duty Browne - that's what it's all about (and nice catchy title post lol)

CC if I had to polish a real turd I think Id freeze it first, most likely with dry ice, then take about 80 grit disc sander - then 150, then put on some latex and go at it with 400 hand sanding - 800 - rubbing compound - then polishing of course, then a nice coat of wax... yeah - that's the ticket, and never ever let it thaw out...

09-22-2012, 04:38 PM
I work at a trophy shop, so we buy turd polish by the 55 gallon DRUM. Mostly for the artwork customers bring in on their jumpy-dos (flash drives); they think they're graphic artists. We'd be MUCH happier with artwork generated on an Etch-A-Sketch, or maybe a Lite Brite. You've shared a nice example of how a bit of elbow grease and Turd Glow (tm) can go a long way.

09-23-2012, 12:10 AM
Well done, Thats why were in this mad hobby i think, it is surprising what you can achieve with determination and you get to learn skills too.
Think thats why i liked college so much, it was they made you do things you would have no reason to do otherwise, its probably why a lot of bushiness exists, reckon they like a challenge.

09-23-2012, 01:57 AM
I bet that vise came out of the same factory that mine did. I had to do exactly the same things as you, probably on the same spots. I have the advantage though- mine is 15 yrs old, so there's probably less melamine in the cast iron :)

09-23-2012, 02:24 AM
If I was so inclined, I could probably sue you for patent infringement.



John Stevenson
09-23-2012, 05:36 AM
Years ago was at a steam rally and had a look on a vendors stall, this was the time that the cheap imports were starting.
They had a tilting vice for 12, had a look and it didn't seem bad except for the thread, for one it was plated and ran in the end lug of the body.

Main problem though was it was a square thread and instead of being 50% thread, 50% space etc it was 25% thread, 75% space but I sill bought it.
took it back to where we were based and one of the guys looked at it and said "Total rubbish, why have you bought this " ?

My reply was for 12 I couldn't buy the castings and when the thread stripped I'd just replace it with better.

Funnily enough it's still the same today as it was then, the thread has held up but in all fairness it's never used for heavy work, it's only a 3" wide jaw vice and spends more time of the surface grinder holding jigs at an angle.

09-23-2012, 12:50 PM
In the early 70's I bought a universal tilting vise,which I just regarded as a set of castings. I re machined all the necessary surfaces to make them flat and true. The main problem now,and with MANY imports is the swivel base is just not thick enough,and you can see it lifting up under much of a cut.

09-24-2012, 10:30 AM
Thanks, all. There were two things that made this project fun for me.

First, the Enco Hot Deals ad I bought the mill from didn't mention I'd be getting a vise, so in my mind, it was a freebie. I had nothing to lose.

Second, I was really surprised at how little work it took to make the piece so much more useable.

Now I think I'll look into hobbing together some sort of tilting base for it. The bolt downs on the one it came with are front and back instead of on the sides. It doesn't fit my mill.