Help! > Mistakes, muckups, and dangerous behaviour

Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not

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I've been using my old second hand 4" mill vise for about 10 years on an Enco round column mill drill. The Y-axis table travel is actually about 8", so I've often wished for a larger vise. Last summer I finally put together the cash for a new 6" mill vise, and the blue beauty arrived quickly and in pristine condition, though the box and styrofoam packing was smashed in shipment.

Since the old 4" was already indicated in, and I didn't have a pressing need for larger milling, I didn't mount the new vise for awhile. ......let's say, longer then the return window. Finally a couple weeks ago, I wanted to face a 6" x 6" x 1" aluminum casting for the rotary table I was making. Oh boy, I get to use the new vise!

To prepare, I removed the old vise, uggh, heavy.....fastened the new one in place, ugghhhhh even heavier... indicated it true, clamped the casting atop some parallels, and.......... hmmmm.  :thinking:  Whadddya know, the table travel wasn't adequate to mill the whole surface because the back of the vise stuck out over the back of the mill table a fair distance and came up against the mill column.

Okay, no problem, I just have to move the vise forward to another T-slot on the table, and I'll get more clearance at the back. So remove the casting, unbolt the vise, slide out the Tee nuts, move them forward, refasten the vise, indicate it in, replace the part and start milling!

Well,   uhhhhhhhh..... no.  Again.

Moving the vise did allow more clearance at the back, but also moved the casting forward the same amount, and now table travel wasn't adequate at the front to mill the whole top surface.  :noidea:

It took a bunch of head scratching, moving things around, measuring and even a lunch break to finally face facts. Yeseee, and this is probably very well known to many others here, no matter where I placed the vise, I only got a usable capacity of 4-1/4" on the new 6" vise. In other words, about the same as I had already with the 4" vise.

After thinking about it for awhile I came to the conclusion that it was the distance between the back face of the vise opening to the very back of the vise casting that controlled what I could do on my mill. That distance was 3-3/4" on the new vise. If I subtracted that 3-3/4" from a total table travel of my mill drill: 8", I got 4-1/4" -- which turned out to be the maximum usable table travel directly under the center of the mill spindle.

Essentially, any work piece clamped, PLUS the width of the back of the vise, is the total space taken up out of the mill's travel.

Now, yes I know I can clamp directly to a mill table, and yes I know I can use a wide fly cutter with the vise to face somewhat greater width. But edge milling on the flat, drilling, and normal face milling are still limited to a workpiece little over 4" wide . So it's still extremely disappointing to me that my shiny new 6" mill vise is giving me about the same capacity as I had before I bought it.

Live and learn.   :facepalm2:  :smokin2:

Mike R:
I suppose the only way around the issue you have is to mount the vise along the tables X axis, though this does present a whole new set of issues such as the mounting tabs likely don't line up with the table slots, and using the handle gets harder due to the table being there. 

As Mike says mount it length ways, if no bolt slots at the ends then just clap it down.

If it is the type of vice with a flat flange running all round then you can mill off the flange at the back to just leave a small lip for when you want to clamp it down longways which should reduce that 3 3/4" dimension

Same type of vice can also have the jaws repositioned to the back which will allow larger work or smaller work to be set further back but don't take too heavy a cut.

I keep my vise mounted parallel to the x-axis.  I solved the handle/table interference problem by mounting a speed ring to the vise screw - see the knurled aluminum ring in lower right of photo.  I can quickly run the jaw up against the work and then use the wrench on the screw to tighten it, a movement of roughly fifteen degrees of the wrench handle.  The wrench is kept in the coolant pool at the end of the T-slots so it's always to hand.  More on all this here...

If the vise doesn't have a good way to clamp it down from the ends, lengthwise on the bed, you could add a steel plate under it with holes to clamp it to the t-slot and holes out the sides under the ears on the vise.


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