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Machine Vises.... Kurt vs TE-CO

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  • Machine Vises.... Kurt vs TE-CO

    I've been thinking of getting a new vise for my BP for a few years. Not really anything wrong with my original BP vise which has the swivel base, which I wouldn't be without. The only fault I can find is the slight amount of jaw lift that it has developed over the years. It's not much, about .001 and a couple tenths depending on how hard I crank it closed. I've managed to compensate for it when needed. I know this is common with this vise and probably others of the same design. I've thought of removing the jaw hold down plates and give a light grind to remove any wear that may be contributing to the lift. I would hate to have to get further into grinding the bottom of the movable jaw or milling the under side channel where the hold down plate rides.
    So, I've been looking at machine vises. I know that Kurt is like the industry standard and a lot of people swear by them but there is a few things that I never liked about them. One being the space between the rails and that empty gutter between them that is a chip collecting gutter basically. I know they have different length covers that fit over the slot but that's still turns me off a bit as you can't set anything on the cover, you always need parallels.
    Now I see TE-CO has a line of vises, they look like exact copies of Kurt, maybe they make them for TE-CO, I'm not sure. Maybe someone knows more about them.
    They have no where near the selection either. I think they only offer one 6".
    I don't remember seeing vises listed in any of the older TE-CO catalogs. There is a bit of price difference too.

    So any thoughts????

    Last edited by JoeLee; 05-08-2021, 09:57 AM.

  • #2
    Joel, from a strictly practical stand point, I think you couldn't go wrong with either one. The reason why I think that is because CNC grinding is so common now, that everybody and their dog can offer precision vises. From what I have seen, all the other brands use a system that is very similar if not identical to the Kurt. I've had very good luck with ToolMex (TMX) tooling made in Poland, among others. I have heard of Te-Co, and they're probably OK. For the same technical specs, it'll probably just come down to money.

    I've never seen a milling vise that does not have the gutter between, the rails, maybe there's nothing that can be done about that?
    25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA


    • #3
      Shars has a Kurt clone that is very nice. I have the 6 x 9. The dimensions match my Parlec vise.I believe the Parlec vise is now randed Teco.


      • #4
        There are a few milling vises I know of without the center hole. Chick made a One-Lok that was a really nice looking vise, not sure if they still offer it in single station. Pretty sure they still have the dual station one. There was one without the center hole called a Quad-I that was pretty nice too, but I think they are no more, out of business. There's Orange vise co. but they're pretty much just like a Kurt. Supposed to be pretty good quality.


        • #5
          The TECO looks like a copy of the older Kurt d688. I haven’t looked at vises for a while, it appears the d688 is discontinued and the dx6 is the replacement.

          2 things I saw on the dx6, it is overall narrower than theTECO which may or may not be helpful depending on what you have mounted to the table.

          There is also an integrated lifting handle in the back of the vise. It may not be all that useful on a vertical mill as the vise usually will hang off the back of the table some but on a machine where it sits all the way flat on the table it would be useful.

          Personally, if it were between those 2 choices I would probably get the Kurt, it’s not that much more and you know exactly what to expect. With that said I don’t think there would be any issues with the TECO, if it were half the cost I would go for that.


          • #6
            Chick vises are light years ahead of Kurt.
            Solid flat bed all the way across and a pull
            down feature that actually works well.
            Kurt is 30 year old idea that was great in
            it's day. But that day has gone.


            Last edited by Doozer; 05-08-2021, 01:19 PM.


            • #7
              if your vice lifts by one thou its pretty good. the new ones you mention will lift by half a thou. whats the difference? make new jaws for it. an upgrade would a steel vice where the fixed jaw is not just attached to the body or even a hydraulic one.
              Last edited by dian; 05-08-2021, 02:14 PM.


              • #8
                Glacern vises are part of the forum advertising and are worth scanning.


                • #9
                  I've got Kurt D688's at work, nothing bad to say about them, good, solid vises. They quit producing them and the DX6 has a couple features that I don't like. My next vise buy in will be Parlec/Teco, they are nearly identical to the D688's and still US made. NYCNC did a factory tour of Teco, worth the time to watch if you want to see how the vises are made.

                  I just need one more tool,just one!


                  • #10
                    That Chick that Doozer posted looks interesting. I bet it is expensive; perhaps (probably) more than the Kurts.

                    I find it strange that none of the various vise manufacturers ever post any accuracy specs., except perhaps Kurt. So there is no way you can say they do not meet specs. because there are none. On the other side of that, nickle-city-fab has a good point. There are many decent vises available. I purchased two 5" Shars about a year ago and am delighted with them. Perhaps not as good as Kurts, but they are doing all that I ask of them and the two, one with a swivel base, together cost about half of what one Kurt would have.
                    Paul A.
                    SE Texas

                    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                    You will find that it has discrete steps.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JoeLee View Post

                      So any thoughts????

                      If you've got an original BP vise that has a little over .001 jaw rise when tightening I'd say you have a vise in near new condition. With that style vise there needs to be some clearance for it to work. Going through the exercise of tearing it down and grinding the surfaces would be a waste of time for what little could be gained. It's just the nature of the beast. I've never heard anyone brag about the super accuracy of their BP vise. Relatively cheap and versatile, yes. Accurate, no.

                      It looks like TE-CO makes single vises in 4", 6", and 8" sizes. Is there a size other that the popular 6" that you would prefer?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                        I've got Kurt D688's at work, nothing bad to say about them, good, solid vises. They quit producing them and the DX6 has a couple features that I don't like. My next vise buy in will be Parlec/Teco, they are nearly identical to the D688's and still US made. NYCNC did a factory tour of Teco, worth the time to watch if you want to see how the vises are made.

                        I’d be interested in hearing what you don’t like about the dx6 over the d688?


                        • #13
                          I just ground my jaws on my clone ( of unknown origin ) vise yesterday after plunging an end mill along the face. Honestly haven’t done that in 40+ years, but these Engineering students had me vexed and I mis read a number on the DRO. Dulled a nice end mill too. Less than a day from error to re-grind.

                          Where is John Stevenson when he’s needed ? We know that answer.

                          We also know that it’s a Bridgeport. It’s not a jig bore or a spanking new 5 axis VMC. It’s a respectable utility mill that, if it has any appreciable time on it, will most likely not really have the total accuracy that a $900 Chick vice warrants. The Te-Co looks tempting but I’d go with the Shars and take an afternoon to tune it up and then keep it looking pretty.
                          Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                          9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by oxford View Post

                            I’d be interested in hearing what you don’t like about the dx6 over the d688?
                            The "crossover" bit, they took a great manual mill vise, that was also being used in a lot of CNC machines and made it less capable as a manual, buy making it a half assed CNC vise. Those two semi-circle cutouts in the bed just add for frustration in fixturing. The grid system capscrew bores attract swarf like a magnet, yes I know they have since added little covers and then added little divots next to them to pry them out that really hold swarf.

                            The original DX6 with covers, but no divots next to them-

                            The newer version with the divots-

                            I don't own a DX6, but have a friend who does, or rather did own several. Those were his two biggest complaints and after working with them in his shop for a couple days, both "features" really do suck. The covers help with swarf, but they aren't flush, just a little below. and if you need the support of a parallel or jack out near the edge of the bed, those two cutouts on a regular basis provide nothing but air where there should be metal.

                            I have to wonder if Kurt asked their customer base what they wanted before making the leap to this design and ending the 688's? Why not just keep making the D688 as it was for manual and light CNC use and stick to their existing full up CNC vise line for everything else???

                            Maybe they should make a run of vises without the cutouts and without the grid system holes and call it the D6.
                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              ^^^^^^^ Thanks, I can definitely see those points as a negative, especially the cap screws in the manual machining world.