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Glacern Vise review

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  • Glacern Vise review

    There's been some buzz about the new Glacern Vises and I have purchased one so I thought I would post my opinion about the vise.

    I called Sol at Glacern and ordered one of the GSV-615R Reversed-Jaw Premium Vise's ( ). This vise is similar to a Kurt vise except the fixed jaw is on the operator side, which allows you to have positive positioning in the Y axis when using the fixed jaw as a work offset. It is also nice on a VMC as you don't have to reach in the machine so far to put parts in the vise. One thing I should mention here is this vise is not the best choice for a Bridgeport style mill. The vise hangs off the back of the table too far and can hit the column, a better choice for a BP mill is the GPV-615 Premium Vise or GSV-690 Standard. I purchased this vise for use on a Fadal Machining center with a 16" wide table so it works well on that machine.

    The vise was ordered and a few days latter it arrived, which means it was shipped the same day it was ordered. The packaging was very good with the vise in a box that was inside of another box surrounded by packaging peanuts. This is good because it allowed for damage free shipping even using UPS, Enco will only ship Kurt vises by truck because they had too many problems with UPS which makes shipping cost very high. Here is the package,

    I opened the box and found some nice items that weren't expected. The vise included four hold down clamps with bolts and T-nuts, Keys in the bottom and two T-bolts with nuts. Here are the hold down clamps,

    I own five Kurt vises, two 3600V's, two D675's and one D688 so I was able to compare the Glacern vise side by side with the Kurt vises. The fit and finish on the Glacern vise was very good and comparable to the Kurt's. The vise worked very smoothly and seems comparable to the Kurt's. The screw was well made and had a nice seal to keep the chips out, on some of the Chinese vises I have seen the screw was very poorly made. Here is a picture of the vise next to a Kurt D688,

    As you can see this vise works in reverse to a normal Kurt.

    Here is a picture of the bottom of the vise next to a Kurt 3600V,

    You can see the included keys mounted in the bottom of the vise, which were quickly removed as nothing screams rookie machinist like keys in a vise.

    A couple more nice features on the Glacern GSV-615R vise are a groove in the fixed jaw for a stop, and holes through the bed to allow bolting down from the top of the vise. The vise did not include the stop but they are available from sources such as Enco, .
    To Be continued,
    Mark Hockett

  • #2
    Here are pictures of the fixed jaw,

    I don't have a good picture of the top side bolt holes but the holes can be partially seen next to the keys in the picture showing the bottom. The top side of the holes are in the bed and have counter bores and covers so a socket head cap screw can be used but no fill up with chips.

    Here is a final picture of the Glacern vise next to a Kurt D688 and 3600V,

    I have been using the vise now for a couple of weeks and think it is great value for the cost and I plan on ordering more.
    Mark Hockett


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mark Hockett
      You can see the included keys mounted in the bottom of the vise, which were quickly removed as nothing screams rookie machinist like keys in a vise.
      -And just what is wrong with vise keys?

      I fitted a set to my 5" import a while back, and they've been very helpful. I can pull the vise and replace it, and be well within .001" with no indicating whatsoever. Probably not all that important for a production shop, where a vise stays where it is for thousands or hundreds of thousands of parts, but for a job-shop that is constantly changing setups on a limited number of machines, they're a time-saver.

      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


      • #4
        I wondered with the reverse vise, do you find its a little more 'stiff' when tightening down a part since the leadscrew can't bow out of the way at all?
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


        • #5
          You just assume that the vise is on accurately with keys, unless you check it with an indicator. If you have to check it with an indicator why not just true it up? In my shop I do a lot of one off and prototype work. I can have a vise on the machine and dialed in in less than 5 minutes. Some of the problems with keys on the bottom of the vise are they can be damaged by setting the vise down wrong, they can damage the mill table if the vise is not set on the machine carefully, they do need some play to fit in the slot which becomes greater as they wear and you have to have a lot of faith that your mill slots are cut in accurately to rely on them for positioning. I have never worked in a professional shop that allowed the use of vise keys nor would I allow them in my shop. Work that I do I want to be accurate so I indicate the vise in each time I install it. If a vise is on the machine I don't want to have to remember if I indicated it last time I installed it so I do it every time. You would be surprised how fast you can get at indicating a vise in if you do it every time you install it. I use an Indicol holder which clips on the spindle so no tools need to be removed. I use the table power feed and I can usually have it in in one pass across the jaw, its just not that difficult.

          It really doesn't feel any different but then I use a shortened handle or a speed handle to tighten the vise, the original long handles get cut down or go in a drawer never to be used.
          Mark Hockett


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark Hockett
            You just assume that the vise is on accurately with keys, unless you check it with an indicator.
            -It's not an assumption, it's previous experience that produced repeatable results. If I place-and-check, place-and-check, place-and-check and each time come up within a thou, I can reliably assume that I'm still within a thou even when I don't check.

            But you're right, if the job is crucial/critical/precise, I'll double-check.

            I can have a vise on the machine and dialed in in less than 5 minutes.
            -Not that it particularly matters, but I can plop my vise down and know it's within a thou in thirty seconds. (Admittedly more if I have to do some cleaning and housekeeping first- but that applies with either method.

            I have never worked in a professional shop that allowed the use of vise keys nor would I allow them in my shop.
            -Then we agree to disagree. Two of the local oilfield-industry machine shops use keys on their vises for their smaller mills- they're the ones that are most often changed for various jobs, and thus provide the most time savings. I can't say how often they actually indicate or even to what level of precision they work to, but I know for a fact both use them- I've seen them, handled the vises myself- and one, in one case, has two vises dedicated to one machine. Each with a set of keys on each axis, so whether they need the vise parallel to the table or perpendicular, they have one ready to go.

            The other shop has paired, keyed vises for their Haas VMC. I have photos of those somewhere...

            Now, before you launch off on an Evanesque beratement, I do, indeed, also indicate the vise, just as I also periodically re-check the head tram and my lathe level, despite the fact I'm the only one that uses any of these machines.

            But the keys do, also, save some time, and there mere presence does not, my themselves, indicate a "rookie" machinist. I mean, unless you want to call Frank a rookie.

            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


            • #7
              A shortened 4" version of that would net a customer in me. On smaller mills the opening width is of secondary importance, but being able to get the fixed jaw near the middle of the table crosswise without a lot of overhang would be a good thing.


              • #8
                After looking at your pictures again (oh, I need one of those vises... ) it's worth noting that both Kurt and Glacern, as well as all the import rip-offs, take the time to mill the grooves, drill and tap the holes, and provide a set of screws and keys.

                While the import clones can be written off as copying, I note that both your old Kurt and new Glacern are milled for key slots. Seems odd to do so if no one but "rookies" used them.

                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


                • #9
                  Not to ramble too far off topic - I read here a couple years ago when this came up that some people never or seldom move the vise from the table, but simple slide it around as needed. One enterprising fellow built a guide that clamps to the table. He inverts his vise and clamps it to that guide, then mills the keys in place resulting in a pretty damn closely aligned vice that just needs clamping down before using.

                  I don't see the keys as any advantage for a machinist that is doing several setups a day and where the vise alignment and placement requirements are very operation-dependent.

                  I took the "rookie" comment to be a bit of harmless humor. But of course I immediately went to the shop and removed them from my vises


                  • #10
                    I'm only an amateur and I use vise keys under the swivel for my Kurt Vise. They fit very well in the table slots and I can tram the vise using the swivel. No harm, no foul.

                    By the way, where are the Glacern Vises made?
                    Last edited by gnm109; 11-16-2009, 01:47 AM.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gnm109
                      Does anyone know where the Glacern Vises are made?
                      Here's the blurb from the web page:


                      * 80,000 PSI stress-relieved ductile cast iron
                      * Bedways and jawplates hardened to 45 HRC
                      * Anti jaw-lift with 45-degree wedge & hemisphere
                      * Clamping repeatability of +/- 0.0004"
                      And the About Us page:

                      About Glacern Machine Tools
                      We are an American company located in Southern California and strive to provide our customers with the finest quality products available in the machining industry. Our global network of manufacturing partners in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan make it possible for us to combine premium quality and high performance with affordability.

                      Global Manufacturing
                      The manufacturing of many GMT products is split between our overseas and domestic partners. Processes such as iron casting and rough machining are performed abroad, while finish grinding, assembly, balancing, and inspection are performed domestically. This allows us to maintain excellent quality control while reducing costs through low overhead.
                      Last edited by dp; 11-16-2009, 01:51 AM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dp
                        Here's the blurb from the web page:

                        And the About Us page:
                        Yes, I just looked and answered my own question. Thanks.


                        • #13
                          The key to the matter?

                          Thanks Mark.

                          A very good impartial, objective evaluation report comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges - as it should be.

                          I never leave anything on any machine table between jobs - ever (mostly!!). Not vices, or rotabs or even magnetic chucks on my grinders.

                          I take any keys off that arrive with any tool - and never use them - nor do I ever make any. I can either use the fixed jaw or a parallel strip or a "round" in the vice and then "eye" or "bone" it "in". Surprising how accurate is with practice. I fairly reasonably clamp the left clamp, leaving the right clamp free and "tap in" the right side of the vise to align it. I know just how much I have to move the right side (on the indicator) to get the back jaw aligned. I can do it in a matter of a minute or so - but why should I care or rush as its a HSM "hobby" shop where time doesn't matter. I sometimes use the ends of the key-way in the tool as a visual guide against the machine table tee-slots.

                          I have no issue at all with any that chose to leave tools on a machine or use locator keys.

                          To each his own -and what-ever method works for him is the best method for him.


                          • #14
                            I have had a 6" Kurt without keys move on me, almost ruined a .50 cal. receiver that I had about 40 hours into. The mill was a ram turret TOS with about a 6 hp head, and the workpiece was made of H.T. 4140. I made some keys immediately afterwords.

                            I can't imagine anyone not using a vise with keys on a horizontal mill.


                            • #15
                              Keys are not to keep your vise from moving and should be undersized to fit in nicely and then pushed to align. You should learn to tighten the bolts that hold your vise to the table securely, not relie on keys that only restain it from moving in one direction at best.
                              Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.