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Milling Vise Recommendation

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beeser

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#1
I recently purchased a Series I Bridgeport mill with a 9" x 48" table. I'm very new to machining and don't know which vise to get. Any suggestions? I understand Kurt is a good brand but they have many different sizes and types.
 
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#2
Welcome to the board Beeser and congratulations on getting yourself a mill!

If you bought it without a vise, you likely got little tooling with it. You probably know already that you are about to spend a bunch more money on tooling and accessories.

Kurts are highly regarded for a very good reason, they're great vises. For that size mill I believe a Kurt 6" would be in order. You can find them on sale from time to time or with free shipping. I do not own one personally, but my son has two and I am very impressed with them.

Some folks also have bought a Glacern 5" for that size machine. Of course, there are many other options out there. Dig for quality if you stray from a Kurt or a Glacern. Of course, used ones are available if you are lucky enough to find them.

My advice is to "buy once" which is easy to say but hard to pull off. Ask lots of questions here and you will get a lot of valuable insights and input. This forum is friendly, well moderated, and a great place to get help.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#3
I have a bunch of vises, and no high end Kurt or Glacern. They are mostly ok. I've found that sometimes a screwless vise is the answer. Other times a lock down vise is the only way to go. My little high speed machines have screwless vises (some guys might call them grinder vises), and I have been ridiculed for using them on my high speed mills, but with modified jaws they allow me to use the work envelope of the machine without slamming into the cabinet doors and knocking out the windows. A mill vise with half the range would still bang into the doors. I've got little 1 inch insert vises, and 8 inch mill vises and a whole lot of stuff in between. It all gets used. There are two 6inch mill vises on the table of my big mill, only because the 8 inch vises would require me to cut holes in the table enclosure to turn the screws, but they were both in use similarly on a mill I retired a couple years ago, and will be in use on a similar machine again in the future.

I get the buy once advise, but if I bought a Kurt I wouldn't have everything I need to do the jobs I need to do.

I'd have to go out and count them, but I've easily got well over 20 precision or semi precision vises. If I counted cheap drill press vises and bench vises the count would probably jump to over 30. I use them all. Not everyday, but I use them.

A while back I visited a successful machine shop that was closing down due to owner health issues. I bought all of his mill vises, and a couple angle vises. Own protractor style and one sine vise. Not a single vise in his shop was a Kurt or a Glacern. He had been doing business in that location for 40 years. He was still busy, and the lady who was his shop manager was still there cranking out parts to finish orders as he was closing down.

That being said, if you have the money to spend you can't go wrong with a Kurt Vise. Its just going to eat up a lot of your budget.
 

beeser

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#4
After a little research I found that although the Glacern is a little less expensive than the equivalent Kurt it is made in Taiwan. For the minor difference in cost I would prefer the US made Kurt. I also understand the warranty is better. All Industrial Tool Supply has the Kurt DX6 on sale at $539.95 with free shipping. The offer seemed even better with their 10% off coupon promotion for new subscribers but after receiving the coupon it doesn't include work holding products. Is the DX6 a good entry into vises for general prototyping work?

And yes to the observation by Alan H, the mill came with little tooling. On the plus side though a friend close by has made all of his extensive tooling available to me until I've collected enough of my own. He has even given me a few items to get started.
 

Frank Ford

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#5
I recently purchased a Series I Bridgeport mill with a 9" x 48" table. I'm very new to machining and don't know which vise to get. Any suggestions? I understand Kurt is a good brand but they have many different sizes and types.
I have a similar size mill with 42" table. Broke a Grizzly early on, so I got a 6" Kurt. Definitely not too big, it's one of the best investments I've made - period.
 

beeser

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#6
What 6" Kurt do you have?
 
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Robert LaLonde

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I have a similar size mill with 42" table. Broke a Grizzly early on, so I got a 6" Kurt. Definitely not too big, it's one of the best investments I've made - period.
PERIOD? LOL. Ok. How did you break the Grizzly? I don't own a Grizzly. I'm just curious. Which model?

P.S. I did break a vise once myself. It was a cast iron import bench vise, and I was using it as a press to remove some seriously stuck U-joints. It wouldn't give so I was beating on a 6 foot cheater bar with a hammer. Not something you are ever likely to see me do to any mill vise. LOL.

P.P.S. I have two hydraulic presses (12 and 20 ton) and a 6 ton arbor press now for that sort of work.
 
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mksj

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#8
Kurt DX6, the first listing is $490 but may bite you on shipping, the second is $540. I have a Te-co 6" which has held up very well and is accurate. Glacern also has some high quality vises. A well made vise will last a lifetime. I would rather not buy a cheap tool and waste money, versus waiting until I can purchase decent quality. A lot of the Chinese clones have poor finish and can be out of tolerance (height) over the machined surface of the vise and also when clamping. Would go with a 6", might get some oversized jaws.
http://www.ritchieindustrialsales.com/kurtvisedx6onsale490.aspx
http://allindustrial.com/kurt-dx6-6-new-machine-vise-539-95-sale-free-shipping/
http://catalog.te-co.com/item/single-station-vises/6--single-station-parlec-vise/pws-6900
https://www.glacern.com/vises
 

Glenn Brooks

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#9
Don’t overlook using t nuts and all thread as work holding. Vises are very handy, but you can do a lot of work by simply clamping work to the table, or bridging it up off the table with parallel bars- particularly if your budget is such that a vise has to wait a few months. You can make everything you need for work holding with your new mill! Good first project.

Glenn
 
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After a little research I found that although the Glacern is a little less expensive than the equivalent Kurt it is made in Taiwan. For the minor difference in cost I would prefer the US made Kurt. I also understand the warranty is better. All Industrial Tool Supply has the Kurt DX6 on sale at $539.95 with free shipping. The offer seemed even better with their 10% off coupon promotion for new subscribers but after receiving the coupon it doesn't include work holding products. Is the DX6 a good entry into vises for general prototyping work?

And yes to the observation by Alan H, the mill came with little tooling. On the plus side though a friend close by has made all of his extensive tooling available to me until I've collected enough of my own. He has even given me a few items to get started.
I have bought from All Industrial often in the past year and found them to be a very good vendor. My family bought an expensive indicator from them for my birthday and it was not the exact model I wanted. They worked with me and made it easy to swap it out. They're good folks to deal with and seem to be growing quickly.

Understand your choice to go with Kurt. The Glacern 5" is hard to outfit with parallels. There are very few suppliers of 5" long parallels and Glacern's 5/8" hex drive also precludes buying standard size speed handles. They seem to really find their niche in the CNC world but at $359 it is still a strong contender for a smaller size mill, particularly for those folks who prefer the smaller overhang. The Glacern 5" apparently fills the void that Kurt left open when they abandoned their 5 incher. Glacern appears to only selling direct or via Amazon these days and offer free freight from time to time.
 

ddickey

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#11
My mill has an 8"x30" table. I have a Kurt 4"
I have done a few projects where a larger vise sure would've made things much easier.
 

Technical Ted

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#12
If you have your heart set on a Kurt and don't mind spending the coin to get one then I say go for it. I've never owned or used one, but my understanding is they are awesome.

When someone asks me a question like that, I ask them what do they plan on doing with it? Are you a production shop or at least planing on doing a lot of work as a business? If just a hobbyist, then do you have a huge budget for your hobby and have plenty of money for not only a vise but all the other tooling, cutters, collets, holders, measuring tools, dividing heads, turn table, angle plates, etc. etc. that you will need to get tooled up? I think you can see where I'm going with this...

I have two mills. One has a 5" and one a 6" mill vises. Both are imports and cost me much less that a single Kurt (bought one new, one used).

If your budget is limited, pick your battles carefully! If you currently have no tooling, you've got a long row to hoe!

Ted
 
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#13
After a little research I found that although the Glacern is a little less expensive than the equivalent Kurt it is made in Taiwan . . . . . . .
I was surprised by the comment that Glacern's are Taiwanese since that was contrary to my research of a little over a year ago, so I asked them again by email today. Here's their response:

"We have a mixture of procedures as our premium vise castings are sourced through our Japanese supplier, ground locally and are assembled / inspected and tested in house. Some more recent castings have been Korean and they've been fantastic."

By the way, I have nothing against Taiwanese at all. I have several pieces of what I consider to be very good equipment made in Taiwan and am in the process of buying more tooling that also originates from Taiwan.
 

paws-fixit-shop

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#14
Don’t overlook using t nuts and all thread as work holding. Vises are very handy, but you can do a lot of work by simply clamping work to the table, or bridging it up off the table with parallel bars- particularly if your budget is such that a vise has to wait a few months. You can make everything you need for work holding with your new mill! Good first project.

Glenn
I'm just starting out with a new to me mill, and being on a budget I'm going to try to build some of these to start out. They look like they do a good job.

 

seasicksteve

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#15
Try to find a good quality vise. I had a clapped out bridgeport and a kurt copy from overseas. I finally got a good condition Kurt vise it is sooo nice and saves much aggravation
 

coherent

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#16
I have a Glacern standard 5" and really like it. They have some pretty good specials and sales now and then. I believe they also give a vet/military discount if that applies. I think mine was under 300 including shipping but it's been a year or two.
Just looked and they have free shipping (which is great because the 5in weights 50lbs plus)
HAPPY2018 - Free UPS Ground on all vises
 
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mikey

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#17
There are a half dozen used Kurt 5" vises on ebay right now. Some of them are in really nice shape - worth a look?
 

beeser

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Thanks all for the recommendations. I plan to purchase either the DX6 from All Industrial or the D688 directly from Kurt's Scratch and Dent. The DX6 is about $80 more but is their current model for this price point. Any opinions on what would be a better vise or does it really matter?

This seems to be a nice video that shows the differences between the two vises.
Kurt DX6 versus D688
 
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Manderioli

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#20
I bought Kurt D40 for my small 30"x6" table. A 6" vise would have been overkill.
 

mksj

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#21
I think you would be happy with either the of the Kurt vises, I can't see getting anything smaller than a 6" for your size mill. The DX6 does have a more compact footprint. From an accuracy standpoint it is very highly rated when you checkout the YouTube reviews. You can also checkout JTS Machinery and Supply, the DX6 is $529 with free shipping. So the difference would be $60 if that helps. You need to call to order, not listed online but it is in their flyer.
http://www.jtsmach.com/jtswebshop/asp/home.asp
 

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ddickey

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#22
The way I see it is it's not the length of table but the width that determines what size vise to use. is that correct?
 

Frank Ford

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Robert LaLonde

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The way I see it is it's not the length of table but the width that determines what size vise to use. is that correct?
It all depends on what you are going to do with it and how you plan to use the machine really. You have "THIMPK" about it a bit and decide for yourself what will work for most of what you do.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#25
Frank Ford, I like that repair. I'd have complained to Grizzly about that one and requested a replacement. It had to have been a defect in the casting. I've got a bunch of vises, and like I said the only one I over broke was being used as a press with a 6 foot cheater bar being beat on with a hammer.

Now I've deliberately cut up and modified a few, but...

I actually do not care for that style of mill vise with the flange that goes all the way around. When I am trying to get the most out of the envelope of a machine that flange eats up part of the throat of the machine. I do have a few of them, but the only one I use is a little 4" on my little mill drill. Just so I can do quick angled cut without programming something on one of the CNCs. I like the CNC style vises with no flange at all if there is enough room for the crank in the front, and I make my own hold down clamps for them. I also like the grinder/screwless vises because they take up less space in the front in tight cabinets.

Hmmmm.... I think its time for a new thread.
 

Frank Ford

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#26
I did complain, but the vise was a year and a half old, so no dice.

It was cheap, so I reckon I got what I paid for. . .
 

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#27
I'd say go with the 6" Kurt , if you can afford it go 8" . Not much you can't do with those vises anyway. With the right jaws any shape can be held.
 

toploader

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#28
I bought this vise off Amazon. After I trammed my knee mill with the Edge Pro tram tool. I mounted the vise to tram it. It was dead on. I was amazed. I figured I was gonna have to disassemble it and use my surface grinder to true everything up.

I mounted an indicator to the quill and got the solid jaw to half a thou.

There is some slight repair work done to the inner part of the base but nothing that hurts the operation of the vise.
 

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mksj

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#30
Different discounting price for the DX6 than the D688, which is discontinued. It may be listed, but it may be no longer available. If you look at some other listings for the DX688, such as All Industrial Supply they where selling it for $495, and I had seen it for something around $475 at one point. KBC shows the same price for both the DX6 and D688, $587. Who knows, I still feel that for the the DX6 or something like the Glacern vise would be a good choice, just a matter of your price point. I also purchased a Kurt swivel base, but have probably used it once in many years.

I had seen this video previously on a Winn vise comparison to to a Chinese vise, worth watching. Like anything made, no matter the country of origin it is more a matter of how it is made and the QC. In this respect if you buy something like a Glacern or a Kurt vise you can be pretty assured that it will meet tighter tolerances.
 
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