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Mill vise

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  • Mill vise

    I have $60 in Amazon gift cards that have been burning a hole in my pocket for a year.
    I want a 4 inch mill vise as sometimes my 6 inch Kurt is too clumsy for smaller work. Any experience with these? Ok? Junk? Yeah they're not a name brand but I'm hoping if I keep it lubed up the screw won't seize etc.
    I'm an occasional use hobbyist but I of course think caviar perfection on a hamburger budget.

  • #2
    I have the Happy-Buy vice shown in your first post, and I am very pleased with it.
    Brian Rupnow
    Design engineer
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada


    • #3
      I'm not really understanding your problem with the Kurt. I have a 6" Kurt Clone and use it primarily for fairly small parts, like under 2" long. You just need the right variety of parallels, stops, etc. But it's nice to be able to square up 7 or 8" stock in the 6" vise.
      Location: Jersey City NJ USA


      • #4
        I have the 5" version of what appears to be the identical vice, but from Busy Bee in Canada. I'm happy with it. Rather than hand cranking, I use a hex socket on a cordless drill if I have move the jaws a long way.
        "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979


        • #5
          Depending how small you wanna go, I just picked up a 2" screwless vise for $50Cad from Amazon and it seems to be decent quality so far. I can hold parts in it, and mount it in my 8" vise and live is good.

          I see the price just went back up though.. not as cheap as it was a week ago.


          • #6
            You should expect 1-2 thou out of square and parallel on all the surfaces. That’s about how good they are making them. That’s what I got with mine. A few hours on the surface grinder made it right.


            • #7
              The second link looks a lot like the first vise i tried when i got my mill. I was... not a fan. Ended up replacing it with a 4" screwless vise, which was way more worth the money


              • #8
                The cheapies are ok, but sharp as can be. They must be de-burred or you'll fillet yourself everytime you use one.
                21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration


                • #9
                  They both look to be a cheap Kurt copy, especially the first one so why not just use the real deal. What difference does the size of the vise make when you work is sitting clamped above the jaws ?



                  • #10
                    I have two Shars 5" milling vises and they are very usable. Overall I checked them to +/- 0.0007". This is their 4" inch model:


                    I do not know if it is available on Amazon but you could ask Shars because they have several other models there.

                    My vises look very similar to many of the imports, including the ones you are looking at. They are probably all coming from the same factory or factories in China. But I also know that different importers can have different specs. that the factory will meet. Sort out the best and send them to the import companies that demand the highest specs. Then the next group goes to the importers that are a little less demanding, Etc. until they have sold all the vises in a factory run. Yet they all look the same. A good example that I have seen of this is the Grizzly 20" drill press. I bought one for my employer and it was quite good. I liked it and it was usable out-of-the-box for everything I did with it. In complete honesty I did buy a replacement for the depth stop nuts, but that was an improvement that I have made on many DPs and the original nuts did work. The replacement was just a time saver. When I needed a 20" DP for my shop, I had a smaller budget so I got the HF model which looks very similar to the Grizzly and many other imports. But there are some differences, some big differences. Two that stood out were the smaller diameter spindle on the HF model (cheaper bearings?) and a less functional depth stop. I have also spent some time trying to eliminate the greater vibration in the HF model: I think that speaks directly to QC in the factory.

                    My point is, there ARE differences in the various brands of imported machines even when they look the same. One difference that I have noticed in the different brands of milling vises is the type of bearings on the screw. Some have plain bearings and others have ball or roller bearings. But they look exactly the same in the photos. Another difference can be in the presence and quality of the "anti lift" feature on the movable jaw. Some may completely eliminate it. Others will have it but implement it with rough, as cast or milled surfaces. That is not a good choice for a pair of surfaces that need to slide over each other. I have not taken a Kurt apart, but I suspect they have surfaces that are at the very least machined, if not ground for that hidden feature.

                    I like my Shars vises and I suspect that the Grizzly ones are probably just as good if not better. Neither of these two brands are Kurts but then, neither of them is the cheapest one on the market either. Oh, and both are US companies which have been around for some time and with a substantial, physical presence here: you can easily see both on Google Maps. They are not going to disappear overnight as many internet suppliers do.
                    Paul A.
                    SE Texas

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


                    • #11
                      I see the reason for wanting to have a 4" as well as a 6", it will weigh 1/4 of the weight, and have a smaller footprint.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
                        I have the Happy-Buy vice shown in your first post, and I am very pleased with it.
                        I also have the Happy Buy. Works well for a home shop. If still in bussiness, it would be a Kurt Vise.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by old mart View Post
                          I see the reason for wanting to have a 4" as well as a 6", it will weigh 1/4 of the weight, and have a smaller footprint.
                          Weight don't matter if you never take it off! I can't even remember the last time I did something that needed to be clamped to the bed. But everybody's work is different.
                          Location: Jersey City NJ USA


                          • #14
                            I have a 3” from H&H industrial products. They had 3,4,5,6”. All looked the same design and maker. As you can see in the photo, it uses up vertical space really fast. Perhaps not an issue for you though. It’s a nice vise for my Sheldon Horizontal, and I’ve been satisfied with it. Someday. I’ll grind it all over and make even better, but it works well as is. I guess it’s just fine for the use it gets.

                            I really should make some parallels, the 6” ones I have get in the way sometimes. Maybe the answer is to get a 6” set, and cut them down. Maybe when I get “rountoit “ Click image for larger version

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                            I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                            Oregon, USA


                            • #15
                              Tim Clarke-

                              Love that shelf setup with the clamping furniture. Cool brackets.