Author Topic: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not  (Read 344 times)

Offline vtsteam

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Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« on: January 15, 2023, 05:51:54 PM »
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:

Steve

Offline Mike R

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2023, 06:43:45 PM »
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. 

Offline Jasonb

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2023, 07:06:47 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 07:20:55 PM by Jasonb »

Offline mklotz

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2023, 07:34:32 PM »
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...

https://www.homemadetools.net/forum/different-take-work-stops-56719#post84240

Regards, Marv
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Offline crueby

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2023, 07:43:06 PM »
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.

Online Jo

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2023, 09:08:28 PM »
Chris beat me to it: mount it on a sub plate to alter the position. If you do that think about potentially using it as a rotary base.

If you only want to mill a flat surface the angle of the vice does not matter, you can clamp it at any angle that fits on the bed ;)


Another bad habit you shouldn't do is to take the jaws off the vice to widen the gap  :-X

Jo
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Offline crueby

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2023, 09:22:54 PM »
I had the idea for the sub plate years ago since the slightly-larger vise I put on my sherline didn't have great slots on the side for the mounting brackets, and it was a pain to align it, so I did a one-time alignment to the sub plate by milling a shallow vise-sized recess in the plate, and putting t-nuts through the plate. Then I could use a square to align the sub plate to the table and tighten the t-nuts, very quick and easy to move the vise side to side or remove it from the table as needed without mucking with the vise brackets.

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2023, 10:52:20 PM »
Wow, thank you all. That was quite cheering to read through! I felt the vise was kind of a write-off before. I did briefly think of turning it lengthwise, myself, but the tabs didn't line up with the table slots when I tried it and I hadn't thought about alternative mounting methods.

So now to think about which of your suggestion (or suggestions) would work with this mill and this vise. I like all of them, btw!

I went back down to the far (bigger) shed where the mill is and tried swiveling it around. Here's a picture to give a better idea of what vise looks like on the mill:



As you can see the side pads extend beyond even the mill table. I guess I could do a mounting plate, Chris, and Jo, though it would have to be pretty big. It would take a lot of steel, and that's not cheap these days, and the weight of the vise and plate  might be more than I can handle alone. I do like the idea of the setup versatility you mentioned, though.

I also checked the back flange width, Jason, and I could probably gain a little over an inch in travel if I milled it off. That was tempting, moreso, because my older 4" vise had the annoying trait of just not quite opening to it's full 4". So the new vise at 5-1/4" if milled, would then be a clear improvement.

I checked closing and opening the vise with it mounted lengthwise on the table Marvin, and it was easy because of the universally jointed handle. If I held it nearly horizontal I could spin it fast, and then raise to vertical to tighten the last bit. I do really like your knurled spinner, though, very cool!

Thinking about it all, I think I'm going with the idea of clamping it down by the ends. I don't have to alter the vise in case I ever want to sell it (which might not be far off!) and I don't have to put more into it via a mounting plate. Clamps are the easiest solution, and I'll just have to see if it feels right to work with the vise mounted along the table.

Unfortunately it does take up nearly the whole mill table. I used to be able to leave the vise toward one end and clamp work down closer to the other end when I needed to, without disturbing the vise location. Now it pretty much takes over the mill.

But now I can see it will be usable at 6" with so thank you all for your generous suggestions, and we'll see how it goes!
Steve

Online Kim

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2023, 12:07:30 AM »
Bummer about the vice situation, Steve.   :-\

But glad you have some options now to make it useful for you!  You'll have to post a picture of what you end up doing.   :ThumbsUp:

Kim

Offline crueby

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Re: Oh boy, a new 6" mill vise! .......not
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2023, 12:35:07 AM »
Nice big flanges on the ends should make it easy to clamp to the table at each corner. Great!

 

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