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  • Swivel mill vise or not?

    There seems to be camps when it comes to the Mill vise--swivel or no swivel. Before I lay out some big bucks I'd like to know what you guys think and why? Your advice is always greatly valued.

  • #2
    It depends....

    A swivel can be useful in theory, but I do not end up using mine often.

    If your mill has limited Z range, the swivel base uses some of that space up.

    The swivel base can also limit stiffness, causing chatter.

    But a lot depends on your setup. I had a Cincinnati swivel vise with 8" jaws. The vise + swivel base weighed about 225 lbs. Not problem with the stiffness of that configuration. But what a pain to handle....

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    • #3
      In addition to those considerations I found my swivel base wasn't quite flat. It took a while to figure out why stuff that was well tapped down onto the vise bottom still wound up tapered. The swivel sits under the bench now for most of the time and comes out only occasionally for some fresh air.
      .
      "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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      • #4
        I like having the swivel, but I also have only used it occasionally. It looks like the vise could be removed from the swivel plate and used normally to provide more Z-axis room. It may be more useful to mount a small vise on a rotary table to achieve the desired adjustment.
        http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
        Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
        USA Maryland 21030

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        • #5
          I assume its really a swivel and not a tiltting vice. Swivel is useful for quickly squaring up a vice. Put a flat stock in the vice jaws. Put an indicator on. When move X axis and lightly hammer to adjust until the reading is constant on the indicator, then tighten swivel. Its perfectly square. This is faster than normal vices without a swivel where you have to un-tighten clamps, hammer side of vice, tighten, etc. The swivel acts to fix a point of rotation of the whole vice, so the hammering of the vice is predictable when trying to knock it into square with the mill.

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          • #6
            I prefer not to use a vise on the mill table (or anywhere else) either. I prefer to bolt/clamp directly to the machine table.

            The biggest risk (PITA??) is that on many vises the moving jaw "moves" (lifts) up and lifts the part of the job it is supposed to clamp up with it. If that happens it is quite possible (frequently is??) that the moving jaw will only grip the job on the lower part of the moving jaw.

            I don't bother with a swivel base - mostly - as I just set the angle I want on the vise using a protractor or one of these:

            http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M972

            http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M978

            http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a.../SeigX3_18.jpg

            http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a.../SeigX3_19.jpg

            http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a.../SeigX3_20.jpg

            http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a.../SeigX3_21.jpg

            Easy.

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            • #7
              Cant you get one with both,then you have the best of both worlds. In six years I have yet to use the swivel on my vice.

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              • #8
                There's a real good reason why so many Kurt vises sold used come without the swivel. It's because their original purchasers never used the swivel and eventually lost or scrapped it.

                In the several years I owned a BP and Kurt vise, I owned the swivel plate but never used it. YMMV.

                metalmagpie

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                • #9
                  When I had gotten one of those cheap import 6" "Kurt-like vises" (I wouldn't raise them to being a clone), mine came with the swivel base. Of course I put it on the machine at the time. Soon I found I was not getting flat parts, square parts nor parallel parts.

                  That swivel base kicked the vise up to the point that there was .004" of rise toward the rear, and nearly .002" out of parallel with table travel from left to right. It was all under .002" once I took that swivel base out, and never used it again. If I needed to have the vise at an angle, I used my 5" sine bar and gauge blocks to set the exact angle and clamped the vise down with straps....that one time.

                  Now I have a couple of genuine Kurt vises, and life is wonderful. Not a swivel base even on my radar. Nearly useless.

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                  • #10
                    That's the way it works... I don't have one and I keep running across stuff that I need to cut at a funny angle. I'm sure if I got one I wouldn't use it for years.

                    It was the same way with my rotary table... I had constant projects for one before I had one, then when I got one I rarely used it for years... then suddenly last fall it ended up on my bridgeport table and it hasn't left since... I've been using it a lot.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PixMan View Post
                      When I had gotten one of those cheap import 6" "Kurt-like vises" (I wouldn't raise them to being a clone), mine came with the swivel base. Of course I put it on the machine at the time. Soon I found I was not getting flat parts, square parts nor parallel parts.

                      That swivel base kicked the vise up to the point that there was .004" of rise toward the rear, and nearly .002" out of parallel with table travel from left to right. It was all under .002" once I took that swivel base out, and never used it again.
                      This seems to be a recurring theme... i'm not sure I get it, you obviously have a mill, why can't you figure out what surface is out, bolt it to the table and mill it flat?

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                      • #12
                        "This seems to be a recurring theme... i'm not sure I get it, you obviously have a mill, why can't you figure out what surface is out, bolt it to the table and mill it flat?"

                        That's exactly what I did with my cheap import Kurt copy.
                        It's within .002 all over now with the swivil on.
                        Bill
                        I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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                        • #13
                          I can not believe people would bolt a bolt a unknown vise on their mill and make parts with out checking the vise first to see if it was squire.

                          I use the swivel to indicate the vise in. it is faster that way.

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                          • #14
                            This is one of mine - bought for a particular project.

                            It is interesting to set up.

                            http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...Vise/Vise9.jpg

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                            • #15
                              I second what crrmeyer said. No swivel on my Kurt. By the way, I bought the Kurt used. It came in a perfect shape, but the base needed to be ground to square the vise.

                              I also have a separate tilting vise similar to the one shown above by Tiffie and find it to be very helpful in some situations.
                              Mike
                              WI/IL border, USA

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