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Thread: Mill Vise Accuracy

  1. #51
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    Actually, in that picture, I am cutting a series of pieces which are prototype parts for work.

    I have found the vise to be good enough that I have not worried about getting another. But, when I do heavy milling, I do not use that vise, or any vise. The parts get clamped to the table directly. That makes a difference.

    And, of course, a Kurt would not fit on the table if I decided to use one. I made the vise setup, not because I thought it was "plenty good enough for hobby use" (that sort of thinking is just pure BS).... but because I could not find a better vise of a size to fit on the table. Most all of the "toolmaker's vises" were so thick and large as to steal way too much daylight.
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  2. #52
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    I just clamp work like that in a 4 way set angle and use bigger slitting saw.
    But mostly use my mill.
    I used to do a block for Western Star, a brake pedal for the OZ trucks RH drive conversion.
    Subcontract. . Any way steel block about 2.75 x say 1.5 by 3/4 thick. 1 INCH BORE on one end, the slit most of the way thru the part .156 wide slot..... to fit a woodruff key , I think.
    Anyway I was a proponent of use the most HP machine to do the job my lathe 7.5 hp vs may mill at 2 hp.
    And we happened to have a 10 inch cold saw blade .156 wide. So I made an arbor got the 3 jaw chuck to hold the saw blade with 2 drive pins and a collar.
    Then I clamped the blocks in my 4 way on the side toward chuck, touched off , and moved over required amount..
    Man did that saw on my fairly rigid lathe, ever cut thru that block at a rapid rate.. cut was about 1.5 to 1.75 long..

  3. #53
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    I'd maybe put a swivel base/vise on a drill press or work bench but would not want one on a milling machine.
    Work hard play hard

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
    I'd maybe put a swivel base/vise on a drill press or work bench but would not want one on a milling machine.
    Cannot see why it would even be necessary on a drill press.

    It is very useful on a mill or shaper. You do not need to have it if it offends you, but useful it is..
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers View Post
    Cannot see why it would even be necessary on a drill press.

    It is very useful on a mill or shaper. You do not need to have it if it offends you, but useful it is..
    It would never be necessary on a drill press, just like it would never be necessary on a mill. If I had a vice with an integrated swivel, it would go on the drill press and not on the mill.
    Work hard play hard

  6. #56
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    Disagree.... although it depends on the definition of "necessary". if you own a file, then even a mill may not be "necessary" in the strictest sense of not being able to make the part without the machine (or tool). But I don't think you meant to go that far.....

    If I had needed to cut the pieces off the stick of machined material at a 10 degree angle, instead of straight across, I would have spent 30 seconds turning the vise to the required angle, and commenced cutting them off. With a fixed vise, there is more fussing and fiddling required to set up and cut at the angle.

    "Necessary"? perhaps not, in the strictest sense above. Convenient and effective? Yes, for-sure.

    Not ONE thing wrong with having a swivel on a milling vise, so long as you understand and stay within the limits of the swivel vise.
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    Hashim Khan

  7. #57
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    For me, a quality non-swivel precision vise and a quality precision 10" rotary table is the ticket. Although I don't really need my RT anymore with CNC.
    Work hard play hard

  8. #58
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    Just because some people don't use the swivel does not mean they are not often used.

  9. #59
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    Your need for a swivel base depends a lot on how much accuracy you need.

    Take Jerry's example, for instance. He said " Not ONE thing wrong with having a swivel on a milling vise, so long as you understand and stay within the limits of the swivel vise. " That's obviously true, since it allows you to ignore all the things wrong with using a typical swivel. Just like saying "there's nothing wrong with shooting your self in the foot, as long as you stay within the limits of the foot."


    1) The most useful part of using a swivel is that you can quickly get your vice to approximately the right angle.

    1a)You don't get an exact angle such as you'd get using angle blocks or sine bar. You get within a degree.
    1b)You lose the time that you saved when you are finished and need to realign the jaws to the default position.
    1c)Since it's an approximate angle you will find it difficult to get it exactly right when you remount a piece to do a second op.

    2) The swivel adds another part that can move under heavy use. A part that moves while cutting often ruins the work.

    3) The swivel adds height, often more than an inch, that reduces the work envelope for your tools.



    I don't recommend a drill press vise for machining. They tend to flex a lot more than a machinist vise and they have lower jaws. The work is more likely to be pulled free. Jerry's vise appears to be the Miller's Falls "Bench drill vise" It has a heavier bed instead of rods and taller jaws.
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by FKreider View Post
    Hello everyone, thank you for all of the great responses, I did not expect to get so many comments on this topic. I will address a few of the suggestions that have been given:

    1) I have been keeping an eye on any local auctions for months, I am located is Massachusetts USA and as far as I can tell almost all of the auctions here on the east coast are geared toward business owners, they all operate during 9-4 work hours. I did acquire my milling machine through an auction and of course I had to take a day off of work to go pick it up but I could justify that since it was a very good deal. But with only so many vacation days a year I have a hard time taking a day off to go take the chance on a sight-unseen Kurt that might be in worse shape than a new Chinese knock off.

    2) I have only been looking at the 6" models, I could likely afford one of the higher spec vises if I went with a 4". I always considered the 6" as the standard size but reading some of your comments it sounds like a 4" might be just as good for my hobby needs?

    3) The comments about milling soft jaws and fly cutting the vise base are very interesting and this is something I never really considered as an option. I always assumed that to improve on a vise I would need a surface grinder, it sounds like my assumption was wrong.

    Also- are the swivel bases actually useful? I see many comments about how they are scrap and while watching YouTube videos I do not see anyone using one.
    There's still that promising "happy middle ground" of those Shar's V model vises that was raised earlier in this thread.

    On milling off your own vise? Instead of flycutting you'd want to go with a smaller size end mill such as 3/8" or 1/2". Why? Because if we assume that the head will always be off by some amount for tram from the table there will always be some slight dishing and potentially some angle to the cut. And that can show up as a fairly strong side to side or edge to center shift depending on the amount the tram is out by. It may not be much but it's always there.

    Now take the case of a smaller size end mill and multiple passes. The sweep of the end mill is still out by the angle. But now instead of being out by, say, .001 total across a 5 inch sweep we're out 1/10'th of that across a 0.5" sweep of a 1/2" end mill. But even more importantly we end up with a measurably flatter surface that will have multiple lines of contact with the fixed and moving jaws and provide far better support for them rather than potentially just two lines of contact at the edges if there's any cupping at all. Think of it as a bit like a well scraped flat surface where there's many points of contact.

    And the unavoidable swirl marks from using the end mill in this way will also act a lot like a frosted surface for holding oil. So here again using a smaller cutter offers somewhat of an advantage over fly cutting.

    So if the vise you have has a cast iron base with hardened jaws there's no doubt that there's something to be said for doing an overall truing job with your mill. Do try to set it up with a good head tram. But instead of flycutting I'd strongly suggest multiple passes with a small'ish size end mill for truing up the surface. Flycutting is great for the finish it leaves. But for truing up a flat surface a small size end mill gives a flatter and truer tool surface by an order of magnitude better than what you'll get from a flycutter. And isn't accuracy what we're after for something of this sort?

    4 or 6". I'd say that depends on the size of the mill you have. On a full size BP or clone a 6" vise would be right at home and an obvious choice. And it never matters which you get. It'll always be too small at SOME point . On machines that are smaller than a full size BP or clone I find that mounting a 4" vise is a more flexible proposition on where and how I mount it to the more narrow tables. So in the case of unique workpieces I can offset the vise from the usual spot more easily without fouling anything during the travel when doing the cut. But I have to admit that for some uses it would be nice to have a 6" vise on the shelf for "those times". But for a lot of the work I do a 6" would actually get in the way and limit my options.


    On the swivel bases. One of my vises came with a swivel base. For reasons of room, weight and how it had to mount to my "smaller than a Bridgeport" knee mill's table the base mostly sits in the shelf near the mill along with angle plates and the super cheap and cheezy vertical swivel angle vise. I use the upper part as a fixed vise for probably 98% of the work I've done with it since I got it about 5 or 6 years ago. But when it was needed in the past for the odd thing it was sure handy to have on hand. So I'd say having ONE vise in the shop that has a swivel base is not at all a bad thing. But I'd get one which can be broken down and the upper part used for most things as a regular fixed vise. That way the rather thick and heavy swivel base isn't something you end up dealing with on a regular basis.
    Last edited by BCRider; 08-10-2018 at 01:00 PM.

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