# Thread: Squaring in vise

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## Squaring in vise

This one has me baffled. Pretty dumb but...I have some 6"X4"X1/2"thick plates that need to be squared up(6" dimension is true/parallel). Usually I use a square on the vise bed to square small plates up. How do you square them up if there isn't room to put a square on the vise? A DI moved up and down with the quill? I tried putting the square on the top of the jaw and eyeballing the plate but there isn't enough of the square in contact with the plate to be sure. Only other thing I can think of is to measure how far off it is with the square and add that number of shims under the end. Am I even close here? I used to do them on the table with an angle plate before I got my big vise. It was easy to check them for square then. Has to be an easy way to do this in the vise but I'm missing it. Thanks.
Russ

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Maybe I am misunderstanding what you are wanting to do, but it seems as simple as clamping the parallel ends of your plates in your vise jaws (plate oriented flat) with a bit of the edge you want to square sticking out one side of the vise - feed the side of an end mill across that side (y-axis) to square it up. If you want to use the end of the mill to finish rather than the side, use the side you just squared up on the bed of the vise and mill the last remaining edge to size, or leave some extra and flip it over once more to mill the opposite edge with the end of the mill until it's to size.
I might be missing something. I feel like I'm going off half-cocked.

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As long as the vice is square to the table. You could put the square to the side of the vice, and extend the squareness of the blade to the piece in the vice with another slab of known parallel sides.

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If you want to grip the plates by the 1/2" dimension and square the edge to the table, use parallels or 1-2-3 blocks to raise the square to the needed height to reach the edge.
Using the vise bed as a reference is not always the best method. The mill table is the best reference.

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I should have explained this better. I'm clamping the 1/2" thickness, they are standing up in the jaws with the 4" dimension up. This is 6" wide plate sawn into 4" lengths. The sawn edges are very slightly out of square. JC...that makes sense. The rotary base of the vise sticks out quite aways from the edges of the vise jaws. I never thought of stacking blocks on the table to raise the square. Also should have bought a bigger square I suppose.
vinito...the vise won't quite open wide enough to hold 6". Thank you all!
Russ

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Hey,

Stand the plates with the short side (4") up in the vise, between your 1-2-3 blocks to reduce the "boingy" effect. Do side one, flip over and reference off the side just cut to do the opposite side. After that, you now turn the piece 90 degrees to do the third side (side adjacent- long side up). This is the tricky side! You can still use a machine square but go off the table with the square if there's not enough room on the vise. I have two sets of 1-2-3 blocks, just for something like this. With that third side up (6") and the piece still between blocks to reduce "boingy" effect, lay another 1-2-3 block on the table alongside the vise and set your square on the 1-2-3 block. Now eyeball one of the edges you cut on the workpiece (should be running up and down) with the square- Voila! Now the fourth side is simple like the second, just flip over 180 degrees!

If this were a grinding operation, I wouldn't use a square. I have "square up" blocks that are precision angle plates for doing the third side on the grinder! But for the mill, a good square and piece of white papaer to put behind the square to "see the light" should suffice for the third side.

Howard

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by torker:
..... A DI moved up and down with the quill? .........Russ</font>
So why can't you use that DI reading to square it. Loosen the vise slightly and tap the plate until no change on the DI.

Of course this assumes your quill is perpendicular to the table but you did check that, didn't you?

Paul A.

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I square up aluminum plates in the lathe. Chuck in the four jaw and take an interupted cut on one edge. Flip 180 so the newly cut edge is tight against the chuck face. Cut again. Turn 90* and the third edge alignment is found by running a DTI clamped to the tool post along the edge of the plate. I wouldn't do this with steel though, too hard on the lathe.

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torker,
The block-stacking method sounds like the quick and easiest solution.
But I thought I'd mention for future reference. Kurt-style milling vises almost always have a provision on the outside of both the fixed and movable jaw so you can remove the jaw faces and bolt them on the opposite side. Doing this you can clamp something over 12" wide in a 6" vise! I have found it prudent to sweep and check the vise alignment again if you move the fixed jaw pad though, and insuring that the part is parallel to the table is a little trickier since you aren't referencing from the vise bed. Still, it's quite useful.

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This is a problem for me too. Often enough I can't get a square to sit against the table, and the workpiece at the same time. Now I'm thinking, why not make up an 'overarm' which straddles the vice. From the arm, a squared piece hangs down, and is free to slide sideways. The legs of the arm bear directly on the mill table, and in use, it's just slid to where the hanging piece can be brought up against the side of the workpiece in the vice, the piece is oriented to this square, and the vice tightened. If you make two hanging squares, they can be used to sandwich the workpiece from both sides, which gives you control over the workpiece with one hand while you tighten the vice with the other hand. These hanging squares can be thin, so that any material which is thicker than them can be oriented and clamped without clamping these squares as well. If you make the overarm's legs long enough, you can have two different height settings depending on which way you set the legs down on the mill table.
Once the vice is mounted, just set this thing over it, align the workpiece, clamp, then set the overarm assy aside. You could also have differing hanging squares, cut to certain angles, to quickly set up those angles.

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