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Thread: Mill Vise Accuracy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Default Mill Vise Accuracy

    Hello all,
    I have been a longtime lurker but never had much to contribute to the discussions. I have slowly been acquiring tools and machines with the intent of making live steam engines and other small shop projects. I need to purchase a milling vise (I have a full-size Bridgeport clone) and I am a little stumped on how accurate of a vise I should be looking for. Many of the cheap import vises say: "Accurate to 0.002" on parallelism and squareness." I asked a local machinist friend and he told me that was pretty bad, however I am just a hobbyist and I am not trying to make parts for NASA. I was told by my friend to buy something accurate to 0.0002 but the prices jump quite a bit to get something with those tolerances. Looking for any further advise and input on this subject.
    Thanks in advance,
    ~Frank k.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    985

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    If you choose based on price in order to save money it will cost you more money and time in the long run than you can possibly imagine.
    If you benefit from the Dunning-Kruger Effect you may not even know it ;-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    For your purposes, you can probably get a "cheap" vise, tram it as best as you can relative to the spindle. Then install soft jaws and machine the jaws in place so they are true to your end mill.
    Work hard play hard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Toronto
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    Quote Originally Posted by FKreider View Post
    "Accurate to 0.002" on parallelism and squareness." I asked a local machinist friend and he told me that was pretty bad, however I am just a hobbyist and I am not trying to make parts for NASA. I was told by my friend to buy something accurate to 0.0002 but the prices jump quite a bit.
    I know its sort of an expression, but I pushback on the NASA thing as the saying shouldn't be an excuse for sloppy work. Accuracy required is determined by tolerances which are driven by the part's function....not who the customer is.

    Any way, I like an accurate vise. While no one mills to .0002", you can't work to say a thou if your vise isn't accurate to some fraction of that and as the inaccuracies of the vise will come through in anything you do with it you can start to get accumulated error.

    The other problem with the lower quality producers is do you even trust their claims? Some feel they are getting better, however trust of claims has been a long standing issue in that manufactures from some places will simply tell you what you want to hear. I'd have a high degree of confidence in say Kurt's claim for accuracy, but little for a low cost offshore claim. What if that .002 vise (bad enough) is really .005"? Not even good enough for NASA trailer hitches lol
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 08-07-2018 at 01:05 PM.
    .

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Welcome to the forum, Frank, firstly it helps to know what part of the world you come from, then people can recommend things that are available easily without huge shipping fees. I would think a 5", 125mm or maybe a 6", 150mm vise would be ok for a Bridgeport size mill. That is unless you intend to start out with smaller projects where a 4", 100mm would be a good starting size. Your budget for the vise would be a good start, this forum abounds with multi millionaires who regard the price of Kurts as just small change, whereas there are a lot of us who have to manage with less.
    You really need some means of checking the alignment while setting up something like a vise, I use mag bases with adjustable arms holding a lever type dial test indicator, its much easier to use than the plunger style.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    103

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    Take a look at Shars V series. They are reportedly very accurate for the price. Abom (popular youtube machinist) did an assessment and it beat spec i believe. I will be buying one if I ever get around to really assessing my $100 4" import that came with my mill and it lets me down (my mill is smaller than a bridgeport/clone). The shars 440V 4" vice actually opens to 6" which is a unique feature.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Brampton, Ontario
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    My old 4" import vise was very bad, so I put the swivel base back on it and shimmed between the vise and the swivel base, I was able to improve it a lot. As long as the swivel stays on forever, the bottom was flat and the fixed jaw was square. If the fixed jaw and the bottom of the vise aren't square to each other, you can shim the fixed jaw.

    Or mill some steel "soft" jaws, as suggested.

  8. #8
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    If your vice is crap then your work will be crap unless you take a lot of effort to set the work up right.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
    For your purposes, you can probably get a "cheap" vise, tram it as best as you can relative to the spindle. Then install soft jaws and machine the jaws in place so they are true to your end mill.
    Almost exactly what I was going to suggest.
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob La Londe View Post
    Almost exactly what I was going to suggest.
    And leave a little lip at the bottom of the jaw so you can use the lip to hold items up above the floor of the vice which might not be truly square/parallel.

    Work hard play hard

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