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Vice Upgrade

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Lee Jones 610/11/2020 08:24:32
245 forum posts
125 photos

When purchasing my Warco Super Major Milling Machine I bought the K4 100mm vice.

Vertex Precision Milling Vice (K4)

It's a bit limiting, so I'm looking for an upgrade.

Just looking at the ARC Versatile Milling Vices and I'm not entirely sure which one would suit my machine.

ARC Versatile Milling Vices

The smallest one wouldn't be much of an upgrade, so I'll leave that be.

My assumption is that the large 150mm (6" would be too big for my mill - is that correct?

Would the middle 125mm (5" be more suitable?

Or perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree and another type would be a better option?

As usual, any help would be gratefully received.

 

Edited By Lee Jones 6 on 10/11/2020 08:25:56

John Haine10/11/2020 08:32:01
3545 forum posts
194 photos

How can we say unless you are more specific on what is limiting you about the K4? I've had one for years and on the few occasions it's been too small I've found other ways to do the job. Take it off the swivel base, fit a locating key, and buy a couple of good angle plates and some clamps.

Tony Pratt 110/11/2020 08:34:39
1350 forum posts
5 photos

I would go with the largest one but others will disagree, I have one of those arriving today for my Myford VME mill, i shall use it without the swivel base to reduce the quite considerable weight. It's a very difficult decision in my opinion as I have an excellent 4 1/2" Abwood vice but it's opening is very limited

Tony

Roger Vane10/11/2020 08:44:22
100 forum posts
18 photos

Although I started off with a Vertex K4, I also treated myself to a Warco DH-1 vice which I now use for most jobs. I find it to be very accurate, and with a 175mm jaw opening it covers most of my needs. The optional V-jaws and high-jaws make it even more versatile, Not cheap, but well worth considering if your machine is large enough to accept it.

Lee Jones 610/11/2020 09:19:28
245 forum posts
125 photos

Posted by John Haine on 10/11/2020 08:32:01:

How can we say unless you are more specific on what is limiting you about the K4? I've had one for years and on the few occasions it's been too small I've found other ways to do the job. Take it off the swivel base, fit a locating key, and buy a couple of good angle plates and some clamps.

It sounds as though you already know the answer to your question.

Yes, the jaw opening/size of the vice is very limiting for the jobs I want to do.

I find myself using my angle plates and clamps for most of my jobs, which is an avoidable faff IMHO.

The locating key sounds interesting though - I guess this is to prevent having to tram it each time.

How does yours work?

Posted by Roger Vane on 10/11/2020 08:44:22:

Although I started off with a Vertex K4, I also treated myself to a Warco DH-1 vice which I now use for most jobs. I find it to be very accurate, and with a 175mm jaw opening it covers most of my needs. The optional V-jaws and high-jaws make it even more versatile, Not cheap, but well worth considering if your machine is large enough to accept it.

Interesting. I'll take a closer look.

Although it is twice the price of the ARC one (which is a close approximation of what I see on most people's mills).

Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 10/11/2020 08:34:39:

I would go with the largest one but others will disagree, I have one of those arriving today for my Myford VME mill, i shall use it without the swivel base to reduce the quite considerable weight. It's a very difficult decision in my opinion as I have an excellent 4 1/2" Abwood vice but it's opening is very limited

You're just telling me what I want to hear - charmer! laugh

Could you share a picture once it's mounted on your mill?

I remember seeing a 150mm vice at Warco - it looked good on their Bridgeport knock-off, but it is BIG!

John Haine10/11/2020 09:29:51
3545 forum posts
194 photos
Posted by Lee Jones 6 on 10/11/2020 09:19:28:

The locating key sounds interesting though - I guess this is to prevent having to tram it each time.

How does yours work?

There is a shallow slot .5" wide milled in the base of the vice (less the swivel) lined up with the bolt-down slots. This has a bit of .5" square steel snuggly fitting and bolted to the vice with a couple of SHCs. Then I bolted down a parallel across the mill table and set it carefully parallel to the Y axis; clamped the vice jaws to it upside down; and milled the sides of the key down to be a very snug fit in the Tee slots (by measurement). Then when I need to refit the vice I just carefully fit the key into the centre Tee slot and it's aligned, at least well enough for most jobs. Though actually I recently held a long bit of stock in the vice, much longer than the jaw width, and couldn't detect any misalignment.

Lee Jones 610/11/2020 09:39:57
245 forum posts
125 photos

Clever. I might have to give something like that a go. Hopefully I don't bork the vice in the process.

Chris Evans 610/11/2020 09:49:05
avatar
1823 forum posts

My Go To vice is an old Jones and Shipman with 6" wide jaws that open around 4 3/4". I use it in preference to a bigger vice for two reasons.

1) It does 80% of my work.

2) I can pick it up without a struggle, the bigger vice is heavy to lift and impossible with it's swivel base. 20 years ago I could still cope !

Clive Foster10/11/2020 09:49:28
2534 forum posts
82 photos

If you need a wider opening in a relatively smaller vice the Vertex VJ400 from Rotagrip **LINK** is effective.

At a price!

About £270. Which probably smithereens your budget.

I have two which suit me well. Plenty of room on the Bridgeport so I leave the rotary base on.

Nominal 4" /110 mm wide jaws, maximum opening 7" /180 mm. Has 3 positions for the nut. Narrow 2 1/2" / 60 mm. Medium 5" / 125 mm and wide. On the wide opening you need to work a little harder to ensure that there are no jaw lift issues but thats no biggy. On narrow and medium settings tapping the job down is more a precaution than necessity in most cases. On wide I always tap down.

Basically is the economy range version of a modestly, by industrial standards, priced hydraulic vice with an ordinary screw feed instead of the hydraulic gubbins.

I think one would be fine on a Warco Super Major. I briefly put one on the very similar size Chester sourced mill I had before getting the Bridgeport for some reason in the short time between getting the Bridgeport and selling the other mill.

Did I say it was a bit expensive!

Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 10/11/2020 09:49:58

John Hinkley10/11/2020 09:58:22
avatar
1014 forum posts
344 photos

Lee,

My experience, when I got a Warco VMC mill ( looks to have smaller work area than yours) was to buy a versatile SG vice from ARC. I went for the largest one and nearly gave myself a hernia lifting it out of the packaging and onto the table. It was obviously too big and a swift phone call to ARC allowed me to take it back and swap it for the smaller, 100mm, one. I particularly like the multiple positions that can be achieved with the movable jaws. With a bit of thought and jiggery-pokery, they can be used to hold material that doesn't fit between the jaws in their normal positions. The limiting factor, in my case, is not the vice but the machine's travel in the Y-axis. If it's a major problem, I resort to removing the vice and clamping to the table. I try to avoid that if I can to save the trouble of re-tramming the vice every time. I showed an example of extending the jaws in a similar thread not long ago:

ARC vice

Using the parallels in this way, with longer retaining screws increases the maximum distance available to clamp by at least 30mm to something in the region of 250mm+ as well as increasing the gripping area of the "jaws".

John

( My 2d )

Original vice dimensions from ArcEurotrade's site.

JasonB10/11/2020 10:12:21
avatar
Moderator
19589 forum posts
2150 photos
1 articles

The ARC ones come with locating slots already milled in both directions plus to blocks and screws so you don't have to start milling your new vice.

You have your sizes wrong in the first post, they come 80, 100 & 125mm width of jaws.

I use my K4 for most jobs but the Versatiles do come in handy for the odd larger item. I'll post a photo of the 100mm Versatile next to the 4" K4 in a while.

Lee Jones 610/11/2020 10:12:41
245 forum posts
125 photos

Chris, fortunately I'm still young (and dumb) enough to to pick-up heavy things with gay abandon.

Clive, lovely vice. 180mm opening is a beast for a vice that size. Alas, a little over-budget though.

John, did you even consider the medium one? The little one isn't really an upgrade for me.

Lee Jones 610/11/2020 10:15:17
245 forum posts
125 photos
Posted by JasonB on 10/11/2020 10:12:21:

The ARC ones come with locating slots already milled in both directions plus to blocks and screws so you don't have to start milling your new vice.

You have your sizes wrong in the first post, they come 80, 100 & 125mm width of jaws.

I use my K4 for most jobs but the Versatiles do come in handy for the odd larger item. I'll post a photo of the 100mm Versatile next to the 4" K4 in a while.

Ah yes, I got my jaw opening and jaw widths in a muddle.

So you have the 100mm. Your milling machine is smaller than mine too, right?

Oh, that's be very useful, thanks.

JasonB10/11/2020 10:18:47
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Moderator
19589 forum posts
2150 photos
1 articles

Looks like I already had a photo

100mm versatile, 4" K4 and 80mm versatile all without swivel bases on my X3 mill all at full conventional opening

20200602_174130[1].jpg

 

20200602_174156[1].jpg

dsc02420.jpg

Edited By JasonB on 10/11/2020 10:20:39

Edited By JasonB on 10/11/2020 10:23:19

Lee Jones 610/11/2020 10:27:35
245 forum posts
125 photos

Toys!

Would you say, from the man with all the gear, the 100mm Versatile is the one to go for?

OOI, why do you have 2 of the small ones? Are are they different enough to justify owning both?

SillyOldDuffer10/11/2020 10:31:33
Moderator
6701 forum posts
1507 photos
Posted by Roger Vane on 10/11/2020 08:44:22:

Although I started off with a Vertex K4, I also treated myself to a Warco DH-1 vice which I now use for most jobs. I find it to be very accurate, and with a 175mm jaw opening it covers most of my needs. The optional V-jaws and high-jaws make it even more versatile, Not cheap, but well worth considering if your machine is large enough to accept it.

Me too. As the DH-1's extra range is achieved with removable jaws, I expected accuracy would be compromised but it's not been a problem.

The vice is a good match to my WM18 and anything too big for it is clamped to the table. I rarely use the swivel base.

Buying a bigger vice for a small mill is a bit of a booby trap in that modest holding improvements require a much heftier vice. A 150mm vice is massively bigger and heavier than a 100mm of the same type, and sales photos rarely make this obvious. Loss of milling headroom may be serious.

Dave

PS While I was thinking, I see Jason posted pictures of vices illustrating the size problem. Must type faster!

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 10/11/2020 10:34:02

Dave Halford10/11/2020 10:56:08
1151 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by Lee Jones 6 on 10/11/2020 09:19:28:

Posted by John Haine on 10/11/2020 08:32:01:

How can we say unless you are more specific on what is limiting you about the K4? I've had one for years and on the few occasions it's been too small I've found other ways to do the job. Take it off the swivel base, fit a locating key, and buy a couple of good angle plates and some clamps.

It sounds as though you already know the answer to your question.

Yes, the jaw opening/size of the vice is very limiting for the jobs I want to do.

I find myself using my angle plates and clamps for most of my jobs, which is an avoidable faff IMHO.

The locating key sounds interesting though - I guess this is to prevent having to tram it each time.

How does yours work?

Doesn't your vertex have the slots in the base? Jason's last versatile photo refers.

JasonB10/11/2020 12:12:55
avatar
Moderator
19589 forum posts
2150 photos
1 articles
Posted by Lee Jones 6 on 10/11/2020 10:27:35:

Toys!

Would you say, from the man with all the gear, the 100mm Versatile is the one to go for?

OOI, why do you have 2 of the small ones? Are are they different enough to justify owning both?

Don't know about that, the table was not long enough to get the 90mm and 34mm Type 2 ones in the shotwink 2

I don't have "two small ones" the 80mm wide on the right of the photo takes up a a slightly larger table are than the 4" K4.

If buying just the one on your size mill then the Versatile 100mm would probably be the best bet, the SG iron offers similar holding capacity but a smaller footprint as there is no drip groove around the base but you have to use separate clamps .

I did not really have to justify owning them all.

The K4 was bought back in about 2007 when I got the X3 and has served me will, I like the fact it has a solid base in the middle which is handy to rest short but tall items on and the fact I can get a square up close to the edge of the jaws to set work vertical. Hold down lugs are close enough together to make it easy to fit onto my 6" rotary table. It does suffer a small amount of jaw lift.

The 100mm Versatile was originally sent by ARC with a selection of other items to use in the "milling for beginners" series but after talking it over with Ketan it was felt that it was too large for the SX2.7 so he sent me the 80mm version. I've only used the 100mm a couple f times when I have had a need for the larger opening, the 80mm was used for the machining that went with the series and now tends to live on the KX3 CNC mill as it fits on well within the swarf trough and has been big enough for what I have wanted to do on there. The larger width of the base has not been a problem as I don't have to look at a Y-axis handwheel but that can be an issue if you don't have a DRO. Barely measurable jaw lift. I would have sent the 100mm back with the mill at the end of the series and bought the 80mm but Ketan said keep it all.

The 90mm Type 2 does not get that much use, again part of what ARC sent though the taller jaws have meant it was able to hold some round items where the half way mark would have been above the top of the other vices jaws. No jaw lift on this type.

The 34mm Type 2 was a Xmas pressie and is useful for small items but does not come out of the draw that much.

larry phelan 110/11/2020 12:25:31
908 forum posts
17 photos

Jason,

Would be interested to know how you clamp your chuck to your rotary table.

Seems to fit very snug..

Do share !!cheeky

John Hinkley10/11/2020 12:55:58
avatar
1014 forum posts
344 photos

Lee,

To answer your query at 10:12:41, I think we are talking about different vices. I'm referring to the SG versatile vices. They come in 100mm and 160mm flavours - no rotary base. I already had a vice with a rotary base that I bought with the mill. I soon found that was a mistake for me. I needed the extra headroom without the base and removed it, never to use it again. The 160mm SG vice is a beast - really heavy at 30kg and more suited to a Bridgeport sized mill. The 100mm size, although no wider than your existing vice, would in my opinion still be an improvement both in terms of increased headroom and, like the description says, versatility. I certainly wouldn't exchange mine for another design.

John

 

Edited By John Hinkley on 10/11/2020 12:59:00

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