View Full Version : heavy mill vice

10-30-2004, 03:09 PM
Does anyone have trouble lifting the mill accessories onto the table... I am a 125 pound woman and I always get my old man to come lift the mill vice. It must weigh a hundred pounds and our antique dividing head almost makes him lose a nut he says. I saw a gizmo in the penn tool company on page 75 in a flyer i recieved called swing a way vise lift. Does anyone have drawings or an invention that would enable myself to move the vice on and off the moill table and also perhaps the lathe chucks. Thanx Guys Im too old to go too the gym and try to get 12 inch arms which probably still wouldnt be big enough. I measured the old mans pipes they are 19 and a half inch dia hes a big boy. He isnt always around to help me in the hobby shop though. Thanx Audrey

Ian B
10-30-2004, 03:48 PM

Making a swinging accessory table for my mill has been on my 'round tooit' list for a while. What I'm thinking of is as follows:

Fix a vertical shaft *firmly* to the side of the mill's column. Arrange to have a strong braced arm that pivots around this shaft, about 18" - 24" long (depends on the size of your mill). The other end of the swinging arm should have a bush a few inches long with a bore parallel to the first shaft (ie a vertical hole).

Make a square flat steel table, large & strong enough so that 4 accessories can happily sit on it (a vise, a rotary table etc). Fit the table with a central spindle that fits in the arm's bush.

To use, adjust the height of the mill table to be the same as the square table, turn the table to line your wanted accessory up, swing the square table to the back edge of the mill table, and slide the vise etc across.

The whole thing will need to be capable of holding about twice your weight without sagging, and the mill will probably need to be bolted down (or it may fall over sideways, depending on the table's position!).

I wouldn't use antifriction bearings - a bit of friction will stop it swinging by itself.


10-30-2004, 04:18 PM
Another option would be an engine lifter. Kind of like a little crane on casters. I'm sure there are plenty for sale around in your area and not that expensive (better than a hernier or accident). Only 2 concerns, one is space. Yu need a bit of room to move it around. The other is you need to be able to get the feet of the lifter under your mill table, possible do this from one end. Rig something up so you can easily attach your vice/RT and keep it hanging how you want it to land on the mill table, should work well.


[This message has been edited by zl1byz (edited 10-30-2004).]

10-30-2004, 04:27 PM
This is a table I made for my mill/drill it would not work for a knee mill but I am not sure what type of mill you have. I have since bought a bigger vise. This was a project out of either HSM or MWS I don't remember. If you do not subscribe to these magazines you might want to look into it. They have a lot of articles on machinery and projects + it helps pay the bills for our sponser VP.

[This message has been edited by gundog (edited 10-30-2004).]

10-30-2004, 04:50 PM
Swing arm and chain lift.... saw one posted here somewhwere...


10-30-2004, 06:41 PM
Hey Gundog,

How the heck do you keep your mill so clean?

Paul (still looking for my mill under a pile of chips)

10-30-2004, 06:49 PM
Well it doen't look like that now. I do usually hit it with the shop vac after each project. I do really like the table though that super spacer is really heavy and so is my new 6" vise (by the way the vise is a little to big for the mill that is why I need the new Bridgeport to fit the vise)I just need to get the wife to buy the whole idea.

Paul Gauthier
10-30-2004, 06:58 PM
A simple jib crane attached to a wall, post, or side of mill, a small block and tackle and you could pick the vise up from a shelf or floor and swing into place easily. Been thinking bout something like this for sometime, will soon have the time to do it, I hope.

Paul G.

10-30-2004, 07:04 PM
Hey Gundog, what is that wooden box on the right? The one that looks like a Model T coil. You connect that to the machine to keep you awake? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Michael Az
10-30-2004, 08:03 PM
Audry, some good ideas here. If you have a welder, maybe the easiest thing to do is weld up a little table with a steel plate top like 1/4". Put castors on it {good ones} and then when you want to remove the vise roll the table over to your milling table, adjust mill table to the same height as the tool table and slide it off. Be sure to stand behind the tool table so your body can capture the table preventing it from moving. You sure don't want to drop that vise on your toes!

10-30-2004, 08:06 PM
That wooden box has my set of cheapo silver and deeming Chinese crap drill bits. I got one hung up with my 1/2" Milwaukee hole hog and you can drill around corners with it now.
I have never had a metal bit bend they usually break. I was laying on my back drilling a hole in the frame on my motor home when the offense took place scraped knuckles and a few choice words then went to the hardware store and replaced that one with a good one. I am not sure my body will hold up to replacing the whole set.

10-30-2004, 08:51 PM
Michael Az. I think your idea of the table on casters is a good one. You can get braked castors too, that might help. Still got to be comfortable transfering the vice/RT on/off it though.
Hmm just had a thought, "scissor lift". You could incorperate one of those into the table, that would make it easier to transfer onto a shelf/cupboard for storage.

I don't know how Gundog keeps his clean, maybe his little mill hasn't the nads to through stuff everywhere. I couldn't have stuff stored that close it would be permanantly covered in crap. Anyway you sem to have it under control Mike.


10-30-2004, 08:52 PM
I lucked out a few years ago and acquired by trade a surplus man-lift from a nursing home. It looks like a minature engine hoist. It has a 400 pound working load limit, a selfcontained hydraulic handpump/liftram and 4 swivel casters on it, plus the legs will open up from straight ahead to a splayed position. It has more than enough reach to handle anything I want to lift onto my B.P. clone mill. This thing is easy to handle and doesn`t take up much room either and can be used to lift anything you can sling from it, providing the weight isn`t too much. It could even be brought into the house if there was a need. This little lift has saved my back many times, and just for the princely investment of $35! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

10-30-2004, 08:57 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Arcane:
I lucked out a few years ago and acquired by trade a surplus man-lift from a nursing home. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif</font>

Sounds like just the ticket. Any chance of a picture?


10-30-2004, 09:40 PM
Patient lift is what they are called,like this one. http://www.spinlife.com/images/product/14/jumbo/5079.jpg

[This message has been edited by Arcane (edited 10-30-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Arcane (edited 10-30-2004).]

10-30-2004, 10:28 PM
OK OK the first picture was taken right after I made the table this is what it looks like now. That is my oversized mill vise in the picture. Maybe if I had a bigger mill my chips would be bigger.

[This message has been edited by gundog (edited 10-30-2004).]

10-30-2004, 10:56 PM
Hi all. I'm in the same boat as Audrey, having just acquired an 8 inch Troyke rotary table. I'm going to build a hydraulic lift cart similar to what Harbor Freight sells. Shouldn't be too difficult.


Gary Westfall
10-31-2004, 01:13 AM
I am with you on the hydraulic lift cart!! Finally got one. Those 75 pound vises are killers (I have 3 of them that I can get on my table at one time). Also, the 4th axis is way too much for me to do more than scoot it around. I also got one of those ball-bearing parallels to use to scoot the 4th axis on. There are many days that I wish for an overhead trolley arrangement - but the garage door is in the way.

G.A. Ewen
10-31-2004, 07:00 AM
Here is an inexpencive solution. It is a piece of railing used to hang garage doors on. Screwed to the ceiling joists with 4" lag bolts it is very strong. A small electric winch would make it fast and efficient for loading heavy stuff on either a lathe or milling machine.


10-31-2004, 04:17 PM
Can't take credit for these, but maybe they will inspire you on how to make one...


and a better way is to follow this, dug out of the past...


I have a shaper on the back of my bridgeport, so using one like this wouldn't work. Mounting a plate over the ram, using the four bolt pattern that holds the ram down (changing existing bolts) allows for one to be used, and brings the center of gravity a little closer to the middle of the machine, also shortening the mechanical disadvantage of the arm, allowing it to pick up more weight with less chance of something going wrong. (I hate it when a mill gets tipped over!!!)
Although I machined the parts out, I have never replaced the bolts so that I could use my little cranearm. Just haven't needed it enough to spend the time to finish it.
David from jax

Have gun, will travel.

Al Flipo
10-31-2004, 05:58 PM
You staged that massy mill deal. Admit it, you are a clean freak like me, nothing to be ashamed of, we are perfectly normal.

10-31-2004, 06:11 PM
How about a couNter balance tool.
you could have a pulley over head of your Mill .
With some wire rope going thru it attatched at one end to a pile of scrap about half the weight of the rotary table.
You then pull wire down from the pulley , this lifts the weights ....you then attatch other end of wire to a three pronged or something or other lfting device to your rotary table ...and bingo, your only lifting 50lbs instead of 100lbs.
This idea I've not tried out but am thinking of as a cheap solution to some of my problems ...them being ...that I'm minus two discs in my back.
All the best...mark

[This message has been edited by aboard_epsilon (edited 11-01-2004).]

11-01-2004, 07:26 PM
How much does a regular mill vice weigh like those in the pictures? i lift em all the time... i didn't think they were 100lbs? i woulda guessed around 50 or 60, though i've never weighed one.. Or do you have one that's like twice the size of those?

11-01-2004, 07:35 PM
well I was talking generally about rotary tables as well.
but my vice is an eight inch cincinnati one and this must weigh close to one hundred pounds.
all the best...mark

11-01-2004, 08:35 PM
I have a table on the left side of my b-port such that when I lower the knee, and move it to the rear it's right at the table edge and I slide the stuff off and on.


Alistair Hosie
11-01-2004, 09:09 PM
Mark I can make you two discs on my new lathe what size shall I put you down for large medium or skinny I have an electric winch installed above my lathe I got the idea from John Stevenson he even showed me where to buy it on offer http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gifAlistair

[This message has been edited by Alistair Hosie (edited 11-01-2004).]

11-01-2004, 09:14 PM
I just got back from the doc today seems I need four of those new disc's. They say they can't do much for me. Oh well may have to find a new quack.

One more thought somehow I think if I were getting paid millions to play for some pro team they would find something to do for me.

[This message has been edited by gundog (edited 11-01-2004).]

11-01-2004, 09:27 PM

I had both elbows rebuilt, so lifitng is not easy for me. I took a microwave stand and added some height to it and slide things on to the mill table from either end. I do have an engine hoist, but that is generally gross over kill. When I need to move something from a stand to either the mill table or my surface grinder table, I use lengths of 1/4 inch rod and roll it from the stand on to the machine.

Some times simple is easier.


11-04-2004, 01:45 AM
Wow lots of replies. Thankyou to everyone. I have a few new ideas to try out. At least the old mans pushing round 250 and hes six foot four . That helps with some of the shop work. The table behind the mill sounds great but it sure would get full of chips, Thankyou again everyone Audrey