By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

How do I check this is vertical?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Nige08/07/2017 20:56:34
370 forum posts
65 photos

in another thread I have this photo. It is a vice I am adapting so I can hold work for milling in the lathe. I am planning on using a flycutter to put a 'flat' face on the front of that casting. I need the face to be parallel to the fixed jaw of the vice and both to be perpendicular, in this instance, to the face of the cross slide. So, how do I check that the fixed jaw face is at 90 degrees to the cross slide as there is limited space to get at the vice face and the cross slide. It is the technique and the tool to use that is beating me. I would expect that putting an engineers square onto the cross slide and trying to get it upto the face of the fixed jaw on the vice is the obvious answer though more difficult in practice due to lack of space. Then if I find the whole lot is out of square how do I adjust it and hold it securely while I run a fly cutter across the casting? Any advice is very welcome😀

file 03-07-2017, 18 13 40.jpeg

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 08/07/2017 21:48:38

Will Bells08/07/2017 21:14:41
152 forum posts
7 photos

Hi Nige

The classic method, if I understand the request correctly (Saturday night wine, not your description) is to use a dial gauge.

So hold a parallel in the vice jaws and set up a stationary dial gauge touching it, perhaps by putting the magnetic base on the lathe bed.

There is a theoretical error in that all lathes are supposed to face very slightly concave on extremes of tolerance, but hey, it's only small.

You need to clamp the casting to the cross slide with Tee bolts and clamps etc. and tap the casting progressively to true it up. Bit of a chew, but the only way.

It will take a lot of time to fly cut that lump off with the lathe.

Good Luck - Will

Will Bells08/07/2017 21:28:56
152 forum posts
7 photos

And ...... if you mean vertically, as in the horizontal as seen in the photo, a dial gauge on a mag base attached to the chuck moving against the parallel held in the jaws will detect that error as well.

Cheers - Will

peak408/07/2017 21:54:18
985 forum posts
95 photos

If you don't have a clock gauge, how about chucking a good piece of bar in the 3 jaw, or even better turn a bar parallel between centres. Then clamp the base end of an engineer's square in the machine vice at centre height, offer the blade up against the captive bar, and nip up the clamping bolts when it's parallel.

JasonB09/07/2017 07:28:11
17073 forum posts
1839 photos
1 articles

Flat bar or parallel in the vice, stand your tri square on the cross slide and check the bar in the vice is vertical.

Second oprion is to clamp say a bit of 1" square stock to the cross slide, dial it in across the lathe then with your vice upside down tighten onto the squarte bar.

Hopper09/07/2017 08:29:28
3974 forum posts
84 photos

... and when clamping your parallel in the vice, put a piece of round stock, say about the size of a pencil, between the moveable jaw of the vice and the parallel. This will ensure the parallel is pushed up against the fixed jaw and give a true reading of the position of the fixed jaw. Otherwise, the moveable jaw can tilt out of square vertically and allow the parallel to sit not quite dead true to the fixed jaw.

Martin Connelly09/07/2017 08:57:24
959 forum posts
115 photos

I second the second method proposed by Jasonb, maybe with a larger piece than 1". You can clamp the bar in place and clean up the face of it with a fly cutter to get the best possible reference face. You can set the vice on the bar at the best height for your fly cutter. I would support the overhanging weight of the vice as well. It has been proposed that a round bar is used against the movable jaw but a ball bearing would be the best way of ensuring the fixed jaw is tight against the reference face of the bar.

Martin C

Nige09/07/2017 11:53:33
370 forum posts
65 photos

Brilliant, thank you guys, multiple options for me and i can understand how they will all work

Will: I am opting for the fly cutter as I am thinking that as I don't have a vertical slide yet using a small diameter end mill will be out as I cant make succesive passes and raise the work height with each pass. I'm not sure the lathe is man enough to use a cutter with a large enough diameter, about 30mm, to do the job in one pass ??????

Phil P09/07/2017 11:56:36
592 forum posts
164 photos

+1 for Jasons upside down method, I was going to suggest it until I read the whole post and saw Jason had beat me to it.

I use that method when fitting a tenon to a vice base for aligning it to the tee slot on the milling table.


John McNamara09/07/2017 15:18:44
1311 forum posts
113 photos


I guess the question really is how do I align the vice fixed jaw to a plane at ninety degrees to the axis of the spindle. The alignment of the vice jaw must be both vertically and horizontally in line with the plane. The plane will later be the path swept by the cutter or fly cutter.

On method that would work quite nicely would be to remove the 3 jaw and replace it with a face plate assuming you have one. You could then fit a dial indicator or pin with a rounded end on the face plate at the diameter that allows the measuring device to clear the vice as it is swept, A small bracket or fixture made from scrap maybe. to hold it.

If you don't have a face plate then make up a crank and fit that in the 3 jaw, attach the indicator to that.

If you don't have an indicator a piece of feeler stock could be used to check the gap at the end of the pin, testing at various positions for a similar tension.

You will also need a piece of material of known flatness to fit in the vice jaw Long enough an wide enough for the indicator to run on over its sweep of 180 degrees.

Maybe a piece of polished kitchen stone ofcut or plate glass lightly clamped in the vice if there is not a flat surfaced object to hand. I would put them between 2 pieces of copy paper to reduce the chance of cracking, unless the job required super accuracy. Modern papers are pretty even.

This method cancels out any error in your face plate because you are measuring 2 points at 180 degrees
Three points if your flat surface is wide enough to check against it at 90 degrees.

So your vice will be aligned in 2 planes.


Howard Lewis09/07/2017 18:44:13
2738 forum posts
2 photos

Would it be possible to clamp a piece of say 1" x 1" (25 x 25mm) to the front of the Cross Slide, (I would suggest drilling it and using studs and T nuts, if possible). Using the flycutter, skim it until it cleans up. You have now generated a face which is vertical, and at 90 degrees to the spindle (Or as square as the Cross Slide travel is) Once this has been done, without moving the piece of metal, with the vice upside down, clamp it to the just machined metal. The fixed jaw of the vice will now be vertical and square to the Spindle. Then you can fly cut your reference face on the front of the vice body.

Bob is now your mother's brother, as they say.


JasonB09/07/2017 19:03:11
17073 forum posts
1839 photos
1 articles

Howard that is what has been said above, first by me, 2nd by Martin and then by Philcrook

Nige09/07/2017 20:03:35
370 forum posts
65 photos

John: Thank you, an interesting range of techniques; fortunately I have a dial gauge

Howard: Thank you also


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest