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  • Milling Vise Size?

    I am looking seriously at purchasing a decent milling vise for my Grizzly mill. It is a square column model (G0484). The table measures 32.25" x 9.375". It has a maximum of 15.5" spindle to the table and 10.25" spindle to column. I think those are the important dimensions for my question.

    What I am wondering is what size milling vise would be right for this mill. Up to now I have been using a 3" toolmaker's vise and a 4" drill press style vise, but they are no where near what I would call full size for this machine. The thing is, milling vises are built a lot more robust and, for a given inch size, they can be a lot bigger than these simpler styles. So, I am wondering for a machine this size, would a 6" milling vise be OK? Or would it be too large and awkward to use? Would a 5" be better? Or would I be happier with a 4"? I don't think the piggy bank is going to tolerate anything larger than 6" so no sense even talking about them.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    Since you already have a tool makers vise, I'd give thought to a 2-piece vise. I sure dred pulling my 50lb+ vise off the table. That was my reason for mounting it off-center and allowing room for the RT or DH on the other half. A 2-piece can allow you to clamp a variety of vises to the table quickly. I've seen Stefan Gotteswinter use the combination many time on YT. I don't think he even owns a full size machinist vise.

    Stefan's YT - https://www.youtube.com/user/syyl/vi...able_polymer=1
    Last edited by CCWKen; 02-15-2019, 07:48 AM. Reason: Added Link

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    • #3
      If buying used off EBay and want the best Kurt 6 inch is less expensive than smaller or larger ones. I use a Kurt 4 inch on my Rockwell 6 1/2 inch wide table it’s about the largest it will handle. Cost me half again more than a 6

      My old mill drill a Grizzly, handled a Kurt copy 6 inch fine. It was about the biggest I wanted to lift on and off. Look at the weights before you buy. Also consider mounting it without the swivel base. Something rarely used and adds a lot of weight.

      Combo R/T Mill vise can be useful. I have a old 3 inch I mount in combination with a 6 inch Rotary when the work calls for both clamping methods. No matter what I lift them on and off a lot best advise is pay attention to weight.

      Boats
      Last edited by boats; 02-15-2019, 07:55 AM.

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      • #4
        Unless you are planning on making youtube videos, in which case an 8 inch Kurt is mandatory, you might be better off with two identical smaller vices. You might not have the money for them together so get a make that will still be around when you have the funds. If you are thinking you need a 6in because item X is too big for your 4in what are you going to do when you have an item too big for the 6in. But with two identical vices you can set them up say 6 in apart and grip a 16 in part better than a 6 in would.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Baz View Post
          If you are thinking you need a 6in because item X is too big for your 4in what are you going to do when you have an item too big for the 6in.
          You improvise.

          (This is before I got my Kurt.)

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          • #6
            I'd go with a 4" or 5". You could probably get away with a 6" but it will likely limit your travel some because the vice will hang off the back of the table. The Shars 440V will be my next vice, it opens to 6" even though it's a 4" wide vice, and I've heard great things about them. My table is around 8" wide. A pair of those would be quite nice. The 550V would also work for you but it doesn't open any wider and weighs 50lbs instead of 27lb.

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            • #7
              I have a 6” on my Grizzly. A little big but works.



              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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              • #8
                A 5" might be too big, but something like this sounds like it would be an upgrade from what you're currently using. And I doubt you'll get something better for less than $100 shipped for the 5"

                Link to the 3", 4", 5", and 6" versions:

                https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F8PJXJP...8rZTvQs9mxrBkw

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                • #9
                  I have a Bridgeport that came with my Rockwell verticle mill. Sure it is big for the mill and heavy, but when I put on one of the smaller vises I have acquired over the years, soon I am wishing the Bridgeport was back. Not only for opening width but also for jaw height. Both seem important when thinking larger vises. Jaw heights are not all the same.

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                  • #10
                    Setting up large flat work I use 123 blocks and hold down clamps, but you can run Kurt jaws outside and clamp large plates. I may try it one time.

                    All things considered, your mill, used 6 inch Kurt is the best Buy.

                    Boats

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                    • #11
                      I agree with the Kurt or clone 6" vise, its a really nice vise, opens 8.75". My full sized XLO table is 9" so its not going to seem out of place.
                      Last edited by Mcgyver; 02-15-2019, 11:36 AM.
                      in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                      • #12
                        I use two 4" Bison vices which open to about 3 1/2" and one 5" exactly like 3pLB's in post #8. The 5" opens much wider, but is as much as I would want to lift about, especially if the swivel base is fitted.

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                        • #13
                          I have two mill vises, a 4" and a 6". I use the 4" one the most and switch to the 6" when I need more opening than the 4" has. I don't think I've ever needed the 6" for the width of the jaws. (BP clone mill with a 9" x 49" table)
                          Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                          • #14
                            My mill table is about the same size as yours. I found that a 4" is about as big as you want to go without it hanging over the the back and front of the table too far.
                            Larry - west coast of Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JCByrd24 View Post
                              I'd go with a 4" or 5". You could probably get away with a 6" but it will likely limit your travel some because the vice will hang off the back of the table. The Shars 440V will be my next vice, it opens to 6" even though it's a 4" wide vice, and I've heard great things about them. My table is around 8" wide. A pair of those would be quite nice. The 550V would also work for you but it doesn't open any wider and weighs 50lbs instead of 27lb.
                              THIS for the money.

                              When I got my own new vise a while back to go with my mini knee mill (same as the Grizz G0731 but with a 6 x 29 table size)I was keen on a 6" vise. But when I looked at and measured them in person I quickly realized that it would either stick out the back of the table and restrict the travel. Or it would hang out so far off the front that it would be in the way and seriously close to tipping over and falling when not clamped down.

                              Now you have the 9" table. I envy that.... So you would likely be able to use a 6". But consider also how much vertical room it takes up. You might find that it becomes an issue.

                              It's easy to say to just clamp it where it is flush with the rear of the table. But that ain't so easy if we want to use the stock clamp down ears. And that was the problem. The 6 inch vise on my 6 inch table with just three slots had only two slot options for clamping the vise in place. One which would tip over and fall off the front and the other which stuck out about 2" off the rear of the table and would hit the column early. The third slow closest to the rear edge would be even worse. So I went with the 4 inch import "Kurt style" which fits pretty well on my mill's table and with the stock slots.....

                              .... but that was before I learned about the Shars 440v. It's more money than the cheap Kurt imports but the 6" opening is a class leader among the 4" wide jaw vise options. That and the reviews and videos of these 'V series 4 and 6" vises and how accurately ground they are is impressive.

                              By all means a smaller lightly used Kurt if you can find one used. But if that sort of price doesn't scare you away then I'd also consider the 440v.
                              Last edited by BCRider; 02-15-2019, 03:22 PM.
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada

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