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Vise Soft Jaws

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JPigg55

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Okay, I know I read a thread here somewhere about making Soft Jaws for their vise, but can't seem to find it anywhere. Anyone have a link to it ?
While I'm on the subject, what type(s) of factors affect your decision on using soft jaws over original machined hardened jaws beyond the obvious protecting work peice from damage ?
Wanting to make a pair for some small part, close in machining and don't want to risk messing up my original jaws.
 

JimDawson

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Soft jaws are easy to make, just make them out of something softer than the hard jaws. They can look like the hard jaws, or can have other shapes as needed for the project. Many time I incorporate a fixture shape into the soft jaws. I did one project that needed jaws about 4 inches tall, made of 1 inch thick aluminum, with a pocket bored in the top to hold the part.

If needed when making a part, you can machine right into the soft jaws if needed, they are sacrificial. Many times I just leave the soft jaws in until they are so ragged that I can't use them any more, then just build another set. Normally only takes a few minutes to build a set.

Here's a set of steel soft jaws I made for a project to hold a part. They are made out of a couple of drops I had kicking around. In the first pictures you can see the aluminum jaws I had in the vice at the time, much chewed up from various projects.

IMG_0622.jpg

After drilling and counter boring
IMG_0623.jpg


Now to modify them to hold the part, using dowel pins as spacers

IMG_0625.jpg

Now pocket to hold the part

IMG_0626.jpg

Now I have a solid holder for the part

IMG_0629.jpg

And machining the part. I did this months ago, and still have these jaws in the vice, use them just like hard jaws.

IMG_0635.jpg
 

wrmiller

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I make my own soft jaws out of steel and aluminum and put a .1" deep by .1" wide groove in the top of the jaws for holding small parts, which I do a lot of.

Or you could buy a set from Monster Jaws .com :)
 

Bill C.

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I have a quick question, I think I know what I would do but for the benefit of the others how would you align the jaws that have machined pockets. I don't recall seeing locating pins on any of the vises I have used. I would use a clearance drill as close to the bolt diameter as possible. Thank you for sharing.

I forgot to mention if you change jaws for different projects. I could have used a few pairs in my career beats trying to keep parallels in place when running production.
 
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JimDawson

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Hmmmmm.....That's a good question. I've never actually done that. Most of my work is one off. In the case above, I would just turn a pin that fit the hole, snug the jaw mounting bolts up a bit then clamp down on the pin. Then release it and tighten the mounting bolts. You could machine a dowel pin hole in the initial build to realign the jaws. If I needed to reuse a set of soft jaws, I would have a machined datum point(s) in the fixture to zero to. In fact I am going to do this with a fixture for an up coming job. It will be a recurring project, so I'll need to reuse the fixture.

I'll post my setup when I get to that point.
 

alloy

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We have literally hundreds of custom soft jaws for the parts we make at work.

Most parts have holes in them, mounting holes, reamed holes, ect. What I do is put the jaws into the vise just slightly loose and lightly tightened the vise on the part. Leaving them a little loose lets the jaws align themselves with the part. Then I just open the vise and tighten the bolts and dial the part to a hole or a feature.
 

Frank Ford

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Check out Monster Jaws for reasonably priced soft jaws. I got their ten-pack deal. Really nice CNC machined aluminum soft jaws for my 6-inch Kurt for under 12 bucks a set. I do lots of little batches - up to a hundred or so - of small parts, and machining those soft jaws makes things go quickly and accurately.
 
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