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  • Vise size recommendations

    In the process of “restoring” my first Bridgeport. Step pulley 1hp 9x42 table. It included an Enco vise (8in) with swivel base. The vise seems to overwhelm the table with excessive overhang. I’ll be doing mostly small hobbiest type projects. For those that have similar machines is there a “sweet spot” in terms of vise size that is more appropriate? I know this will be very subjective - just curious what others thought. Thanks

  • #2
    6" is typically considered just right for that mill. Overhang isn't really a problem if it isn't in your way. Lifting an 8" vs a 6" is the real rub. I guess if you're young and buff (I'm neither), that isn't an issue either!
    Southwest Utah

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    • #3
      I have a Kurt 5 inch and a Kurt 6 inch vise and both work well , but the 5 ( no longer made) is my favorite and there is very little it cannot do .
      I also had a 3 inch B & S with rotary base and never used it . the 6 inch is hernia territory so I need help with it when needed
      One thing you need to look at is how far open do you need the jaws ! Obviously the 6 opens more but there are techniques to handle that
      Both vises have extra jaws. Tall ones and thinner ones of Aluminum .. very important to maximize the range of work .
      My mill is a step head BP with a 9 x 32 table Remember , the bigger the vise, the more it sticks out beyond the table , both in front and on the column side
      Having a 12 inch knee helps there

      Rich

      I also have a 4 inch vise given to me and it's from India..What a piece of crap.
      Green Bay, WI

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      • #4
        All good points. The 8in is a two person minimum move and even then it’s awkward. It can with the m

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        • #5
          Sorry hit post by accident. The 8 came with the machine so I’ll hang onto it. But I think a nice 6 would be more manageable.

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          • #6
            I’d go with 5” myself, it’s rare to need more than 5”, 6” is just bragging territory imho, I’ve got by with a worn out 4” for years ( whoops I’m down in the gutter again)
            funny story, a technician came into the control room in the early hours on the weekend and blurted ( he often did) my girlfriend saw me in the nip for the first time last night, she laughed and said “ who do you think your going to satisfy with that” at which he immediately replied” me of course, don’t care what you do”
            mark

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            • #7
              If it is a Kurt style 8" vise
              mill off the coolant trough
              and make it several pounds
              lighter and it gets you closer
              to the column as well with
              less overhang.

              ---Doozer
              DZER

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mwill135 View Post
                All good points. The 8in is a two person minimum move and even then it’s awkward. It can with the m
                Last place I worked had an 8” vise on an Acer mill, 9x?? table. It worked well for what was getting done on that machine, probably better than a 6” but could have made due with it (2 6” vises would have been better)

                Downside is already mentioned, it sucked to move. The other downside of that particular vise was it was just shy of opening up to 8”. More than a few times I had to take the movable hard jaw off to fit a work piece in it.

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                • #9
                  On the 6" Kurt and copies, you can move the jaw plates to the outside of the fixed and movable jaws to hold something up to 15" on top of the jaws.
                  Kansas City area

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                    On the 6" Kurt and copies, you can move the jaw plates to the outside of the fixed and movable jaws to hold something up to 15" on top of the jaws.
                    I did not know that! I'm going out to look at my Kurt 4" and see if it is also so endowed!
                    Southwest Utah

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                    • #11
                      I'm pretty sure it is. Look for threaded holes on the outside parts of the jaws to screw the jaw plates to.
                      Kansas City area

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                        On the 6" Kurt and copies, you can move the jaw plates to the outside of the fixed and movable jaws to hold something up to 15" on top of the jaws.
                        Yes, I have done it before. You could do it on the 8” vise I mentioned above. Down side is if you have to drill any holes in the piece you are most likely going to hit the vise. It does come in handy for some things though.

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                        • #13
                          6" is good. Never used a 5", but it would probably be good for the guys working on the smaller envelope of work. 8" is ridiculous.
                          21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                          1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                            On the 6" Kurt and copies, you can move the jaw plates to the outside of the fixed and movable jaws to hold something up to 15" on top of the jaws.
                            You youngsters were not around in the1970's when Kurt's came out and that feature ( Jaws outside ) was promoted besides the "No Lift" advantages
                            All Kurts have that ability to expand opening.
                            Also by only moving one jaw outside, the the stationary or moving jaw becomes a parallel for mounting work ( because the tops of the jaws are precision ground

                            Rich
                            Green Bay, WI

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oxford View Post

                              Yes, I have done it before. You could do it on the 8” vise I mentioned above. Down side is if you have to drill any holes in the piece you are most likely going to hit the vise. It does come in handy for some things though.
                              For drilling holes that would hit the vise, I have started them on the mill to get location, then gone through on the drill press.
                              Kansas City area

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