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X2 mill vise

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  • X2 mill vise

    I have an X2 on the way and I was wondering if anyone here has one and what vise you're using. Seems like the 3" toolmakers vises are popular but I haven't fooled with one in years and only then on grinders. The other option looks like a 3" Kurt clone. I may move the vise from shaper for now...

    Any other X2 advise also welcome! I did get an R8... Plans are to mess with it a bit and start rounding up CNC parts.

    Here, let me save some of you guys a little trouble:

    "Set it on fire! It'll make you go blind and you're feet will smell!"

    "You foolish man! Go buy a (*Insert B'port, Rockwell, Clausing, etc. here*) or remain a foolish man you foolish man! What a fool!"

    "It will burn your house down while trying to mill steel (Because it cannot do that) and then the Communist Chinese will take over your ruins!"

  • #2
    Toolmaker vices need an external way to hold them down. If possible, just fab up a clamp that slips into the side holes. It may or may not be easy.
    If that Kurt clone has a low profile, that would be a good bet. I liked my X2, but headroom was seriously valuable real estate there.

    The one I used (because I'm broke and got it on sale) was a Wholesale Tools 3" milling vise. Not the best thing, but it was accurate enough (I'm lucky with Chinese stuff) after a little adjustment to cut the lift to a minimum.

    The X2's are great little machines for what they are. I didn't have any trouble milling steel in mine--if I adjusted everything first--but it made me take it slow.
    Don't use flycutters without having a careful feel on it. Until I got a cast-steel kit, the drive gears were plastic. No bueno.
    Last edited by Deus Machina; 11-14-2013, 05:53 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks! I'm leaning towards a kurt type. I'm a lot more familiar with them and fiddling with a screwless looks like PITA.

      Any reason why you went with the metal gears instead of belt drive? I was thinking about going that route because it's cheaper and it looks like I could print replacements to have on hand for the accessible gear that breaks.

      Some printed gears/mechanism for those unfamiliar:

      That's a low-rez quickie ABS print from some prototyping.
      Last edited by hoffman; 11-14-2013, 06:28 AM.


      • #4
        I had an older one, and I'm a student running into loans to keep tuition and rent. The belt-drive refit kit was a weekend project and $155, but I got a pair of new spindle bearings and the metal gear kit for $60 instead. Purely an economic choice, since I blew the gears and ruined a bearing anyway.

        It does leave the most accessible $4 gear plastic, as a set failure point. That one's a 5-minute fix, but never seemed to be the one that broke teeth when it could demand you heft the head off and knock the spindle out to replace the $15 spindle gear and $11 high/lo gears instead. Or, if you were lucky, every other one inside. But that $4 gear was rock steady, then.

        That said, if you're running it somewhere sound is an issue, the belt drive may be a good bet.

        As for the vise, the Kurt one will be your best bet if it isn't awkwardly large, but I haven't heard any bad about screwless vises, aside from taking longer to used and needing special clamps.
        Last edited by Deus Machina; 11-14-2013, 06:35 AM.


        • #5
          I take it you never broke the metal gears? I was thinking about just replacing the gears in the head from the start.


          • #6
            I never did. A couple had a tiny void in a face here and there, but the actual gear area was good and the intermediate gear was the weak point there.
            I did sell it a while after, though. I use a Grizzly G0704, now. Much more headroom.


            • #7
              Thanks for the help! Mine's supposed to be delivered tomorrow.

              I was looking at the extended Z-rack sold by LMS. Does the factory rack just stop a few inches short of the top of the column?


              • #8
                Does the factory rack just stop a few inches short of the top of the column?
                It did on mine. The rack stops about 1.5" from the top of the Z dovetail.

                I got fed up with the lack of Z travel and the wet noodle like nature of the Z column mounting and ended up with this.

                Best thing I ever did to the mill.




                • #9
                  Is that setup pretty rigid? I was only asking about the Z because my main job for it is going to be 2-4mm holes drilled thru about 2" of plastic. Shouldn't be a problem but we'll see.


                  • #10
                    I've got an X-2 and bought the 3" Kurt clone from LMS.

                    Took mine t work after a couple weeks and milled the coolant lip off the ends of the vise.That gave me 3/4" more travel towards the column.

                    Also did the belt drive kit which I could not recomend more.

                    On mine the Z-rack extension extended the rack down further towards the table.It need that since bottomed out the spindle nose was a good 3" off the table which made working directly on the table a PITA.

                    I can also recomend a column brace,it's on my list of mods to do.
                    I just need one more tool,just one!


                    • #11
                      Double post
                      I just need one more tool,just one!


                      • #12
                        Is that setup pretty rigid?
                        Its very rigid compared to the stock mill.

                        Here's some pics of a test cut made right after the column was first trammed.

                        DOC was .250", in-feed was .150", material was 4140 with an 0.5" end mill. There was some resonance noise during the cut but no thumping.




                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rythmnbls View Post

                          I have one of those vises - hate it, hate it, hate it.

                          Nothing about it is quick except how fast it can screw up my day. Its only redeeming quality is that it was included with another purchase that was more than worth the price, but I have seriously got to get something better in its place.

                          As for why I hate it, the "quick" mechanism fills up with swarf and limits its travel to too much or too little increments, the bed is so narrow that parallels won't stay in place, it's floppy and sloppy and best I can tell is "designed" to lift the workpiece off the bed. And it costs as much as a decent screwless vise.


                          • #14
                            If nothing else, I just can't recommend an extended Z rack enough.
                            Went from 3" above the table to bringing the top of the head 2" or so below the top of the column, and suddenly a new rack allows me to put an empty spindle right onto the table and I had to make a stop to keep the head from lifting off the column completely.
                            A 5" gain in vertical motion for $25 was a good buy.


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the input! I'm excited about getting my machine and it's good to hear from some folks who are enjoying theirs!