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More sensible vise selection advise please!

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  • More sensible vise selection advise please!

    Hi all. Spending my "holiday" sitting in the hospital with my son on a drip. Should have flown home two days ago already. Trying to pass the time with some retail therapy.

    My track history of selecting milling vises is....poor, to say the least. Obviously bigger is better....until it's too high and you can't get many cutters over it etc. The swivel and tilt were clearly essential before I did much actual milling. Bought a 4" Kurt style vise but got over keen and it's really too big for my 390x100mm table. Hence why this time I'm asking for your opinions before I screw it up again

    Currently looking at either this 75mm Soba screwless

    Or this 70mm screwless

    First one has larger opening capacity and slightly deeper jaws but hold-down points are at the ends so it would either have to be mounted along the table or try to make hold-down clamps that fit the round holes (2nd vise has clamping slots on sides) and hope it doesn't foul the jaw clamping pin. I have a lathe and 4-jaw so I could make such hold-downs but don't want to be constantly fighting which holes are useable any time I change the jaw opening.
    Not sure if that's a problem or not. Also not really sure what effect turning the vise by 90° would have if any. Would it be more likely to move if feeding using the (longer) X axis because of that orientation or am I overthinking it (again)?

    Thanks all,

  • #2
    The Arc Euro Trade one is the one you can easily move the jaws on, I have the 90mm version, though never used yet because of... issues with the milling machine. The Soba one looks like the pin has to be knocked out the side to change the jaw depth?


    • #3
      I suspect that those holes have been cut in half where the pin rides - similar to the Arc version. Definitely worth confirming before purchase though as that would definitely outweigh any other benefits. Good point, cheers.


      • #4
        Definetly recommend the one from Arceuro, I have a number of them myself and used the 90mm for years as my main milling vise.

        The slots on the side make it easy to clamp them properly to the table and the screw-arrangement for the moveable jaw is spring loaded, so its easier to adjust and not as floppy as those without the springs.

        Personaly I cant stand vises that are setup lengthwise on the table, but thats just me

        Personal website


        • #5
          Well, what sort of (wannabe-) machinist would I be if I don't listen to the recommendations and preferences of a man who machines carbide for fun?! :-D

          Arc are good to deal with too - although I've had no problems with Chronos.


          • #6
            When I got my mill a few months ago and was looking for a vice, thought if it was good enough for Stefan ... no complaints with the 70mm from Arc on my 660x150mm mill.


            • #7
              Screwless vises are really intended for grinding. They're not designed to clamp with enough force to handle milling, although I know some people use them that way.


              • #8
                Taylor your cutting parameters to suit the vise holding capacity. I have a Kurt clone on my BP without the swivel base. My RF45 has a screwless vise. I am happy with both. When selecting screwless vise pick one that has clamping slots down the entire side.
                Last edited by Illinoyance; 10-08-2019, 05:30 PM.


                • #9
                  Thanks guys. I think the Arc wins it then.
                  Forest Gnome: I've no doubt you're right but I suspect that won't be an issue for the power of the mill I'm running - it's only 500W. My main issue has been that because the tilt and swivel vise is so high (relatively speaking) the table is not rigid enough to counter the additional leverage it creates. This means my DoC is rather limited to making the most insidious splinters rather than proper chips. Maybe this will be too far the other way but I suspect not and the lower profile will be a definite bonus. Before you ask, I do clamp things directly to the table but there are times it isn't appropriate...or, let's be honest here, when you just plain can't be bothered.


                  • #10
                    I have the 70mm ArcEuro style vise, and I was surprised at the high quality -- everything measured square and parallel to ~6 micron. The screw was a bit stiff (maybe a bit too large?) that was my only complaint. For the price its great deal.


                    • #11
                      Screwless vises are really intended for grinding. They're not designed to clamp with enough force to handle milling, although I know some people use them that way.
                      We run screwless vises on all of our vmcs at work, from small (3kW Spindle) to medium size (20kW) doing tool/die, mold and general machining work - Holding power is usualy never a problem, except when people try to clamp on sawn surfaces. That doesnt work

                      Personal website


                      • #12
                        Your remark about the bigger the better only works up to a point. I recently went through the decision process for purchasing a milling vise. I have what I call a full size mill: it has table size of about 32" x 9". My debate was between a 5" and a 6" vise.

                        Now you may quickly say that the 6" vise would hold larger parts and that is correct, as far as it goes. But, and it is a big but, just holding a part is not the real goal on a mill. CUTTING (milling) that part is the actual goal. And, when I made cardboard cutouts of the two sizes of vise, it became obvious that the 6" would either have to be mounted too far to the rear to allow the cutter to reach to it's rear, fixed jaw or too far to the front to use as much space between that rear jaw and the reach of the spindle to use as much area as the 5" vise would allow. These mounting positions are determined by the location of the mounting holes in the vise and the location of the slots in the table. I purchased the 5" and it is perfect on my mill. It actually allows me to have a larger work envelope than the 6" would have.

                        Of course, I could have purchased the 6" and figured that I could always move it to reach all areas of a large work piece. But who wants to do that? All the alignments and zeroing would have to be made again when it is in a new position. Thanks, but NO!

                        PS: I also have a nice, screwless style vise and have used it for milling. It does not have a pin that needs to be re-positioned for different work sizes. It has a Tee shaped nut on the screw which sits in a set of grooves in the bottom of the vise. It can be easily moved from one position to the next with the Allen wrench in the head of that screw. This can be done while it is mounted on the table. It also has the slots on the sides for mounting clamps so it can be easily positioned almost anywhere on the table. I have milled a number of parts with it and never had any problems with it's grip. But then, I do not do a lot of really large parts (which that vise would be useless for anyway) or make really aggressive cuts because a foreman is looking over my shoulder for blue chips. But I didn't baby it either. In short, this type of vise can be used on a milling machine. But, I really love my new, 5" milling vise and I suspect most of my milling work from now on will be done with it.
                        Paul A.
                        SE Texas

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


                        • #13
                          Thanks Paul. I think you've hit the nail on the head there as that was exactly my problem. Went for the bigger vise and found that while it 'technically' did fit on my table, it didn't if you actually wanted it to be clamped down. The machinist equivalent of eyes bigger than stomach! Cardboard cutout sounds like an excellent idea which I shall do when I get back and have had some sleep. Then I'll place an order once I get a refund from the travel insurance. Otherwise it's going to be an expensive month with the "Oh, you want to get on the last seats on the last flight this week? Hmmm, let's see how much we can fleece you for!”


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Forestgnome View Post
                            Screwless vises are really intended for grinding. They're not designed to clamp with enough force to handle milling, although I know some people use them that way.
                            agreed its less than ideal for general work. As much as holding power's the issue, they're also such a pita to use with the limited distance before you are resetting something, which for most of the styles, means taking it off the table to get access to the bottom. Just call 'em what they are...grinding vises

                            I've also never bothered with a swivel base. Of negligible use if any, and it eats up daylight.

                            Thats my view, mostly matters in my shop....yours does in yours.
                            Last edited by Mcgyver; 10-08-2019, 10:29 AM.
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Forestgnome View Post
                              Screwless vises are really intended for grinding. They're not designed to clamp with enough force to handle milling, although I know some people use them that way.
                              You're using "big machine" thinking here. Cenedd's has a small compact shop with small compact machines. A 75 or 90mm screwless will be right in tune with what he's got.

                              I do tend to agree though that some care and consideration will be needed with bigger items where the pure leverage of working on the part some distance from the jaws will be a risky operation. Some additional care to arrange things do that the pressure of the cut is against the jaw surfaces and not trying to pivot the part might be wise. Or where the parts are that physically large that they are up away from the jaws that a different method of holding the part is needed.

                              But that's where a vise of this sort shines too. With the all sides ground accurately we can flip the vise around so the jaws are vertical if the part is tall or use other such tricks.

                              Cenedd, I do agree that within the scale of your mill that bigger is better. If you have room for the 90mm that would be better all around. I simply don't recall what size of mill you have. It may well be that the 70 or 75 will be right in scale.

                              Some time back I got a vise similar but not quite the same as THIS SOBA 100mm vise. While billed as a "drill press" vise it turned out that it was finely made and the movable jaw had the proper sort of minimal play that made it more than suitable as a milling machine vise. Yet it had a nice low profile. So lots of jaw width and opening but not a lot of "altitude" used up. Provided this one is a tolerance match for the one I got I think you would be very happy. The down side if you're shopping online is that it is tough to personally check to see if this one would be useable where we can reasonably expect the tool maker's vises to be of a proper squareness and play tolerance sight unseen.
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada