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Thread: Tramming a mill...Table vs vise ??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Tramming a mill...Table vs vise ??

    When you guys tram a milling machine head do you tram the head to the table or do you tram the head to the vise mounted on the table. Just curious as I was thinking about doing some fine tuning by tramming the head to the kurt vise.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Harrisburg, PA


    I would tram the head to the table. It is the table that moves and tramming the head to the vise may result in the end-mill not being perpendicular to it's path.

    If the vise is still out, shim it.

    Bear in mind, however, that I am pretty new at this machining thing and may be wrong.

    There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    New Jersey, USA

    Default Tramming

    I was taught to tram the head to the table. Then recheck whatever you may mount on the table, whether it's a vise, a rotary table, or the workpiece itself. But then, I'm pretty new to this stuff. Wait for some of the more seasoned heads to chime in. Pete in NJ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Pleasanton, CA

    Default My way

    I was taught to tram off the table.

    But that doesn't work on my mill, (A decent Taiwan KO.)

    My mill was abused as a child, the first owner milled 500# injection molds, and the knee dovetails are damaged/worn at the column.

    So, I clamp the vertical dovetails. Open the vise all the way, tram the vise, (just close). Then put 6"wide x 3/8" plate sticking vertical, at the solid jaw, and at the movable jaw, with a 5" spacer between. Machine off the top of the plates with a 1/2" endmill. Then tram off the plates.

    Edit: Yes, I am aware of parallelograms, and use machinable jaws, or machined fixtures. PITA.
    Last edited by mechanicalmagic; 10-26-2007 at 06:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Kenosha, not the pass the other one


    Depends, my last job I had two vises set-up spanning 18" on the table and they were both the same height and I often set-up jobs using both vises. So I pretty much had to go off of the vises
    Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Hazel Park, Michigan


    I would say that since this is a new set-up, I would first tram the table in.
    Then install your vise, tram in the back jaw parallel to the X axis, and then just to make sure all is good, check the bed of the vise with your indicator.
    You can use a solid 1-2-3 block to bridge the gap in the vise. Unless your vise slipped past QC (New Vise?) it should read the same as your table. (No chips, dings, or dents on table or bottom of vise.)
    Once you see that the vise always reads the same as your table, you will
    feel more comfortable with taking/making quick checks off the vise.
    Of course the larger the swing of your indicator the more accurate the tram.


  7. #7
    radish1us Guest


    Why not just scroll to the top of the page and you will find the word SEARCH, it's in that darker bar at the top, type in the words "tram mill" and you should be able to get tens of thousands of answers to that ONE question.

    Some times it pays to use what is freely available to everybody, it can save time and that was what it was meant for anyway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    SE OZ

    Default Table

    Quote Originally Posted by krems
    When you guys tram a milling machine head do you tram the head to the table or do you tram the head to the vise mounted on the table. Just curious as I was thinking about doing some fine tuning by tramming the head to the kurt vise.

    Hi again Krems.

    I remember this topic from another recent thread of yours.

    The general consensus of opinion is right.

    Tram to the table.

    As your vice is a "Kurt" it should be 100%.

    But check it never-the-less.

    If the inside base face (that you mount your jobs on) is not "in tram" the vice itself needs a "lick" as the top is not parallel to the base.

    Just up-end the vice onto 2-3-4 blocks or similar parallels while you have your head trammed to the table, fasten the up-ended vice to the table, mount a fly-cutter and remove the smallest/least amount of material you can from the (now inverted) under-side of the vice. The vice when re-mounted "right side up" should have little or no "tram error" when checked.

    This would be a good time to check the verticality of the fixed jaw of your vice. If it is "out" then just take a light cleaning-up cut with the side of a new or very sharp solid end-mill that will not deflect.

    Check the fixed insertable (hardened) jaw for the fixed jaw for flatness and parallelism. If its out - surface grind it. You can "pack/shim" it in as a temporary fix if needs be. Same for removable jaw insert.

    Your vice should be set to go.

    Best of luck.

    Replace the fixed vice jaw (hardened) plate

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Western New York U.$.A


    I tram off the table first like so....

    Then make sure the bed of my vice reads correctly I use an inexpensive set of parrallels to rest the work on before clamping it down. This methode works for my backyard machine projects.
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