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Mill Vise, How do I know when I need one?

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Janderso

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#1
I purchased a J head Bridgeport that came with a vise. It has lots of drill and machining marks but that’s ok.
I recently endured a massive slip while machining and buggered up my job. The screw seems smooth and locks up ok but how can you tell when there may be movement once it locks?
Dumb question?
If I buy a new vise this one will come in handy as a secondary holding devise. That brings up the other question.
Spending close to $1,000 on a $1,500 mill doesn’t make sense.
What are two leading Asian brands that work just fine?
Thank you.
 

cg285

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#2
I purchased a J head Bridgeport that came with a vise. It has lots of drill and machining marks but that’s ok.
I recently endured a massive slip while machining and buggered up my job. The screw seems smooth and locks up ok but how can you tell when there may be movement once it locks?
Dumb question?
If I buy a new vise this one will come in handy as a secondary holding devise. That brings up the other question.
Spending close to $1,000 on a $1,500 mill doesn’t make sense.
What are two leading Asian brands that work just fine?
Thank you.
i can't answer your question because i don't have asian mills or vices but to clarify for others are you asking about a mill or vise? you say mill
 

middle.road

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#3
Post a picture of your current vise, lets see what you are dealing with.
Pock marks may or may not affect functionality.
 

markba633csi

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#4
Amazon carries a few China made vises that look OK, less than 200$
I'm partial to swiveling vises but some don't care for them
Mark
 

dlane

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#5
Is your vise tweeked do the jaws close evenly the length of them and square, did you tap the part down to the parallel’s
then tighten , is your vise Chinese ?. Decent ones come up around here on Craig’s list occasionally, nun today though.
 

brino

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#6
There's no such thing here!

You have a very legitimate question for anyone buying a used (or even new) vise.
It is actually a safety concern, especially as you start to push spindle rpms and depth of cuts.

I have not seen a "quick and dirty" field test that could be used to determine the "health" of a milling vise.
But I am "watching" this thread.

I have heard of people checking for gaps with paper between jaws, or even with a flashlight on one side and an eyeball on the other.

I could see trying to grip the end of a say 1-2' bar in the vise and trying to raise/lower the other end.....and trying the same test out the other side of the vise......but how much force should it hold? we don't want to damage the vise during testing.

Thanks for asking the question, it will be interesting to see the discussion.

-brino
 

Janderso

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#7
This is a pic of the vise. I am at work, this is the best one I have right now. More if needed. I want a good vise, I assumed this was a good vise. Not pretty though.
 

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dtsh

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#8
If it were mine, my first questions would be in regard to it's ability to perform the tasks needed. I've seen some pretty torn up vises that still do the required work admirably and that one doesn't look too bad from what I can see.
I'm no professional, but things I would try:
- clamp various objects and examine the movable jaw to see if it's clamping solidly without twisting or deforming, top to bottom and side to side.
- poke at the mating surface of vise and part with a feeler guage or shine a flashlight and see if you can observe a sliver of light coming through where the part and vise meet
- pull out a dial indicator and clamp a part, then measure along any/all faces of the movable jaw you can reach , then move the part a little in the vise, reclamp and remeasure looking for where it might be deflecting unacceptably; again, top to bottom and side to side.
- jiggle the movable jaw when it's loose to feel the play in the screw/nut along various sections of the screw to determine if one area of the screw is more heavily worn

A vise that meets my requirements might not meet yours. It's also possible that the part just needed better support in the vise to provide better contact/bearing surface. I've poorly clamped more than my fair share of parts and a shiny new vise won't hold any better in that regard than an old one.
 

dlane

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#9
That vise should be serviceable, kinda looks like my Kurt anglock 688 without the paint.
You may want to look up how to adjust the anglock, center hole in movable jaw,
if the jaw’s Are messed up you can get new ones
Also clean ALL chips out between jaws before clamping work
Lightly stone jaw faces with Arkansas fine stone if there are any nicks or scratches
Do you have the original handle for it about 10-12”
 
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Bob Korves

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#10
Make sure that your cutting forces are across the jaws, not parallel with the jaws. If necessary, turn the vise 90 degrees.
 

DHarris

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#11
How much do you want to spend (have available to spend?) on a vise?
A new Kurt 6" is listed at ~$540.00 (free shipping included from All Industrial tool - google foo search using "Kurt 6" vise"),
Glacern "standard" 6" precision is about 410.00
Precision Matthews sells a standard 6" vise for $149.00 and their Homge precision 6" vise for $399.00

But, I think you should wait and see what the more knowledgeable folks on this forum have to say about testing / checking your current vise. Does you current vise have a brand name on it somewhere??
 

Hukshawn

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#12
That vise looks like it already might be chinese. Identical to the China vise I bought on Amazon for $200 to use to rebuild my Hylo vise. Tore it down, cleaned it, deburred it, oiled, needed a .001" shim on on side, and it worked beautifully. It was junk, but it held 4140 blocks to mill to jaws, and even held parts of the Hylo vise at one point to clean up some surfaces. Then when I was done, I sold it for almost the same price I bought it.

Pretty sure it was one of these.
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B01MA...=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=6"+milling+vise&dpPl=1&dpID=41tAfTBhnPL&ref=plSrch

There's a thread of me rebuilding the Hylo and it's depressing number of drill holes and pot holes filled with JB weld.
 

woodchucker

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#13
Sure it was your vise and not the way the piece was being held.
When clamping a round part a V block is a good idea.
Parallels to prevent the part from dropping or tipping.

If the part has any movement, it will pop, and that is why your vise will appear to be slipping.
 

Janderso

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#14
Great! That's the stuff. There is no name on this vise anywhere. Huk, you may be right. It sure looks like it. $179 for this vise brand new. I will take the advice I have been given and see what I find.
Bob, I had been cutting on a piece for quite some time, I moved it and was down to a .005 cut. The next thing I knew it slipped. I was milling with the jaws not 90 degrees. I will be very aware in the future. It seems to me the cutting oil may have lubricated the grip on the jaws.
Thanks guys. I will study this question of mine.
You guys are awesome!
 

ACHiPo

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#15
Another option if you're convinced you need a new vise is Kurt's scratch and dent--$494 delivered for their DX6.
 

Janderso

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#16
That scratch and dent option is a great way to save a good 10 to 15% with free shipping.
Decisions decisions.
 

Aukai

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#17
When I bought my Kurt 6" it was free shipping Amazon Prime. The UPS man was not happy:grin:
 

pineyfolks

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#18
If the part you're machining has opposing sides that are not parallel it might be causing it to slip. You can reduce the chance of this happening by using aluminum wire against the moveable jaw to keep the pressure even. A sturdy vise stop might help too. Even though they are more designed for location they can help the part from sliding in the vise.
 
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Eddyde

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#19
+1 for the Kurt, I bought my vise from their Scratch and Dent offer. It only has one tiny mark. It works great super strong hold and accurate, you wont be disappointed.
 

Janderso

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#20
Did anyone catch Dale's video on comparing Chinese vs. American vise quality?
He did not use a Kurt, I can't remember the brand-quick jaw release version.
Amazing how innacurate the Chinese vise was but he was able to surface grind it true.
If I had a surface grinder, a surface plate and the know how to use them maybe I could save $400 and fix a Chinese.
That still does not address the quality of the screw and nut.
 

Janderso

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#21
I hope I did not break the forum rules. If I did I meant no harm.
Try this one instead. Interesting video,
 

Bob Korves

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#22
Great! That's the stuff. There is no name on this vise anywhere. Huk, you may be right. It sure looks like it. $179 for this vise brand new. I will take the advice I have been given and see what I find.
Bob, I had been cutting on a piece for quite some time, I moved it and was down to a .005 cut. The next thing I knew it slipped. I was milling with the jaws not 90 degrees. I will be very aware in the future. It seems to me the cutting oil may have lubricated the grip on the jaws.
Thanks guys. I will study this question of mine.
You guys are awesome!
A photo of a quick mockup of your setup would perhaps show some other factors. For instance, holding work in one side of the vise without an equally sized backup on the other side leads to cocked jaws and poor holding.
 

projectnut

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#23
That vise looks pretty substantial, and should not have a problem holding a part when taking only a .005 cut. Before spending any money I would carefully check over your current vise. It might be something as simple of a loose jaw plate, or placement of the part between the jaws. As mentioned, less likely, but certainly possible is the fact that one or both jaws are not ground properly. One or both could be thinner at one end than the other. If the jaws aren't parallel it would certainly affect its holding power.

As for the video it looks more like an advertisement that anything else. He's comparing a vise that sells for nearly $700.00 to one that sells for $200.00. That's like comparing a Hyundai to a Mercedes. I think in this case the differences are more typical of the price points than anything else. I would certainly expect better quality in the more expensive vise. Keep in mind one vise is triple the price of the other.

Another interesting point is that while he is commenting on the poor quality of the "made in China" vise one of his major sponsors in Chevalier. Guess where they're from?
 
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Bob Korves

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#24
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Aukai

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#25
In my many wonderings on the internet, I saw it discussed to use brown grocerie bag paper to help objects to not slip in the vice. Maybe someone has tried, or heard about it?
 

Manderioli

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#26
I would first take the vise off the mill and look at the bottom. Most Kurt vises will have a casting model number on the bottom. For example my Kurt 4" vise has a D40 cast on the bottom. This will help you identify the vise.

Since Kurt vises are copied, go to their website to download the drawings and dimensions. This will also help you identify if it is a Kurt or not.

Here is an example from eBay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/KURT-6-VIS...234448?hash=item2cd206fd50:g:kyUAAOSw1QpZ-1c3
The last photo shows the casting mark of D675 to reference the type of vise made by Kurt. (it is underneath the "A" in USA)
 

projectnut

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#27
Almost any kind of paper can be used as a shim. At work and even in my shop I have used note cards and printer paper to compensate for less than parallel sides on parts, or less than parallel jaws on a vise. I have 2 main vises used on the milling machines. One is the 1972 era Bridgeport 6" and the other is a 1980's era Palmgren 8". About 5 years ago I was having problems with the original jaws on my 1972 era Bridgeport vise. I made several new sets and ground them on the surface grinder. Since then there have been no problems gripping work pieces. While I was at it I also made some soft jaws that could be milled to shape for round or tapered parts, and some 8" jaws for the Palmgren vise.

The Bridgeport is the older design with the screw above the base rails:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BRIDGEPORT...402130?hash=item3f98e9d9d2:g:WBMAAOSw6ctayfal

The Palmgren is a later design with the screw below the base:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/PALMGREN-8...610928?hash=item3b01b37e30:g:XpIAAOSwcO1ahy1V

Both work fine as long as you make sure the sides of the part are parallel to the jaws (sometimes shimming is required), and it's properly centered. I've never had to use a hammer or any method other than turning the crank by hand to get the jaws tight enough to hold a part on either of these vises.
 

Janderso

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#28
As you can see it has had quite a life. I removed the jaws, cleaned them up of all oil/grease/chips. Reinstalled and got my project done last night. I will make sure there is no lubrication on the jaws when I tighten up the work. Machining 90 degrees to the jaws will help also.
A vise is just not a priority right now unless I absolutely have to have one and I think I will make do.
Thank you for the help.
By the way, the screws are pretty generic, home made?
 

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wcunning

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#29
Sorry to resurrect the thread, but I did some reading on this topic recently.

One of the biggest differences between a Chinese Kurt-clone and a real Kurt is that underneath the front edge of the movable jaw there are two shallow flat bottom holes with o-rings in them. This gives the movable jaw a very slight downward tilt when it's tightened up on a workpiece as it compresses the o-rings. You can add this feature to a cheap vise for ~$2 and a bit of time with an endmill. From there, I would think seriously about a good stoning on all way surfaces in the vise and a replacement set of hardened jaws (relatively cheap, even from Kurt).

Beyond that, if the pock marks bother you a whole lot, fill them with jb weld and mill flat with a facemill and you should be fine. If they don't bother you, a light pass with a stone to make sure none of the of the holes left a burr on the outside and it'll do whatever you need.

Cheers,
Will
 

Cadillac

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#30
I would check your cl listings. Their might be five to ten between Chicago and wisconsin. From 150 to 300 Kurt vises all different styles and knew ones too.
Throw a set of parallels in chuck then put a flat piece in there. Just snug chuck. Throw your best gauge on the piece to check lift of part and ultimately the moveable jaw. Theirs a adjustment screw on back of movable jaw screw in until you get a number you like. It will tighten slide of movable jaw so not to much. Might want to make sure pivot ball is still there between screw and jaw.
You can surface the old chuck just as easy as a new one. Jaws are plentiful too all different sizes and shapes too.
 
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