Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Milling Vise!

Finally got a new vise for the shop at Cuppa Coffee.
If you're doing machining work, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a good vise.

When you've got a quadruple blade designed to cut through steel spinning at 2000 rpm's, less than 2 feet from your face, being sure the workpiece is held securely is pretty important.
If that workpiece shifts or comes loose when that blade hits it, well, quite a few bad things can happen. The least of which is that you'll destroy the thing you're working on and wreck your end mill and will have to start again from scratch. Past that, you'll have razor sharp chunks of hardened steel flying around at blinding velocity.

The new one is a "K-Type" or "Kurt-Style" vise. The Kurt Company developed a patented mechanism for their vises which prevents the workpiece from lifting or tilting when under pressure from the vise, which is a huge problem with the cheaper ones.

Kurt vises are expensive. Can go as high as $8000- $10 000 for the largest, top of the line ones. But the mechanism patent has since expired and some Chinese companies have begun making knock-offs. This one is a Chinese brand. They're nearly as good as the Kurt brand, and a lot cheaper. This one was just over $400.

Look at that beautiful construction quality. Machined to a tolerance of 0.001 (1000th of an inch). The line where the jaws come together is almost invisible.

This vise is able to exert 80 000 psi of pressure with a 1/8" turn of the handle. What that means is you won't be killing your wrists, cranking down on the handle and you can be sure the piece isn't going anywhere.

Here's the old one. Just an off-brand Piece-Of-Crap.
Broken and worn out in just about every way it can be.
To be fair, this thing performed long past its expiry date. I'd become so used to struggling with it, I'd forgotten what using a good vise was like.
Like a breath of fresh air to a guy who didn't know he was drowning.

If you cheap out on everything else, drop a bit of cash on a good vise. It's a lot safer and will save you a ton of aggravation.

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