By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Sets of parallels

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Chris Mate14/12/2021 06:14:23
150 forum posts
32 photos

Hi, my new vice jaws are 29mm high. The place I usually buy stuff from has two sets of parrallels 1/4" & 1/2" thick. However the hights confuse me a bit, most of the set will be too high for the jaws.

Is this normal, meaning you can use those that too high for vice with the clamping set to the table as well-?

Or should I just buy individual parallels(in pairs) from another shop less than 29mm only for vice-?

Contents include:
-1 Pair of 3/4 X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 5/16&Prime
-1 Pair of 7/8″ X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 5/16&Prime
-1 Pair of 1″ X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 5/16&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-1/8″ X 6 X 1-4″ (Hole: 3/8&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-1/4″ X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 3/8&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-3/8″ X 6 X 1-4″ (Hole: 7/16&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-1/2″ X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 7/16&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-5/8″ X 6 X 1/4″ (Hole: 1/2&Prime
-1 Pair of 1-3/4″ X 6 X 1/4″ ((Hole: 1/2&Prime

Speedy Builder514/12/2021 06:41:12
2642 forum posts
217 photos

Its fairly obvious that the set is not for you, there are other sets out there. Its a matter of looking around.

JasonB14/12/2021 07:21:33
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

I have several vices collected over time some with taller jaws than others so get to use most of my 1/2" to 2" set, I also regularly use the taller ones for packing up work mounted directly on the mill table or lathe cross slide so although the bigger ones may not get used so often they can be useful to have.

The 80mm versatile that I use on the CNC has the shortest jaws and I just keep one of the economy sets by that which do for most jobs and save having to fetch the main set from the other workshop, only ground on the two edges but that's all you use.

If your vice is reasonably small as the 29mm jaw height suggests you are mostly going to be working on smaller parts so I would suggest the thinner of the two as you will find with a thick parallel in place you can't close the jaws down on it unless additional side packing is added. The wavy parallels are good in this respect as you can squash them right down to almost nothing.

HOWARDT14/12/2021 07:21:35
932 forum posts
39 photos

Parallels should match width of jaws as well as fitting within the height. Sets usually either 4 or 6 inch, some can be bought as 1/8 th thick set so tend to be lower height.

not done it yet14/12/2021 08:12:31
6874 forum posts
20 photos

I think those that Arceuro sell are metric, but should suit jaws that are metric high.🙂

Baz14/12/2021 08:18:24
755 forum posts
2 photos

Warco do a nice set that are 100mm long and range from 5mm to 25mm high in various thicknesses.

Tony Pratt 114/12/2021 09:09:18
2020 forum posts
12 photos

You have to buy parallels to suit your particular vice.


Journeyman14/12/2021 09:15:41
1174 forum posts
236 photos

You could try these *** LINK *** haven't used myself but might be worth a go!

Going a bit 'off piste'  as it were, I wonder if 3D printed parallels would be any good. Of course these would not be precision or long lasting but might suffice for the odd job and 3D printing can be surprisingly accurate with a good set-up.


Edited By Journeyman on 14/12/2021 09:21:45

Chris Mate14/12/2021 09:15:59
150 forum posts
32 photos

Thanks for the advice, I think I settle for 3mm x 150mm 12.5Kg set as example a dealer send me, however the 150mm is not right, so I am trying to get 100mmx 3mm set from them from Vertex(Same as vice).

(I can see I will need the 1/4" or even 1/2" later on for use with the clamp set directly to mill table. In this case I want to make a see through Glass top for lathe with 25mm thick aliminium piece milled to fit a square glass on top with integrated catch plates beneath that to catch the oil and deliver it to the spindle bearings as I have now a mocked up system working with a wood frame and seperate catch plates, no moving parts or bolts that can come loose and fall in gearbox.)

JasonB14/12/2021 09:43:10
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

I use 6" on sin my 4" vertex all the time what is not right about that? Also use them in my other 90mm and 80mm and even the 35mm vices when they come out.

Rather than 3D printed ones to get you out of trouble any bit of flat bar or tool bit will do, I managed for quite a while like that.

I'd look for something that allows you to hold work 1mm to 1.5mm below your vice jaws as it's often useful when working on small parts, I'd find the 25mm high set a bit limiting in 29mm jaws.


Edited By JasonB on 14/12/2021 09:50:57

Bazyle14/12/2021 11:26:23
6378 forum posts
222 photos
Posted by Journeyman on 14/12/2021 09:15:41:

I wonder if 3D printed parallels would be any good.

Edited By Journeyman on 14/12/2021 09:21:45

I think a decent bit of hardwood would be better. Especially off an old well seasoned furniture. Worth having some around that you can mill down when you want to set something small and need a support just below the jaws.

I think 3D printing might be better for making a compliant (squidgy) custom jaw to grip an awkward shape.

David Caunt14/12/2021 11:31:42
100 forum posts
39 photos


I made a set of parallels but then found I needed thinner parallels so bought a set of Precision Wavy Parallel 8pc Metric Set from Arc.... They get used all the time.


Nicholas Farr14/12/2021 12:24:38
3414 forum posts
1590 photos
Posted by HOWARDT on 14/12/2021 07:21:35:

Parallels should match width of jaws as well as fitting within the height. Sets usually either 4 or 6 inch, some can be bought as 1/8 th thick set so tend to be lower height.

Hi HowardT, I can't se why they have to match the width of the jaws, as long as they are long enough for the work envelope on the piece you are machining on, where's the problem and like JasonB says, I've got a pair of those that he linked to, at the moment, which are longer than the jaws and the piece they are holding to the correct height.

I have made two pairs, one 16mm high and one 22mm high & 4mm thick, which are 80mm long, these were made from a scrap cast iron baffle from a lorry engine (don't know what it did, but had a nice flat section) which I just milled to the highs mentioned within a small amount, but each pair was milled together, OK, I don't profess them to be precision, but they are the next best thing and they do well for many jobs, but like Jason has said, decent flat bar will do many jobs that don't require precision work.

parallels 1.jpg

parallels 2.jpg

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 14/12/2021 12:26:15

Tony Pratt 114/12/2021 12:40:53
2020 forum posts
12 photos

3D printing is not the way to go, I can't think of anything less suitable for parallels than plastic.frown


Bill Phinn14/12/2021 13:10:41
768 forum posts
114 photos

There is a 100mm-long twenty-pair set floating around out there. Arceurotrade and Amadeal among others sell, or at least sold, them. They may not necessarily be of the same quality at different suppliers.

They were the only set I used for a while, and often I obtained the height I wanted by doubling up parallels. As long as you seat the parallels and work carefully, I can't see any reason why placing parallels on top of one another to obtain a target height should be regarded as bad practice. One good feature of the set is the variation in thickness - something that, inexplicably, isn't very common with sets of parallels.

The spec. of the 20 pair set is as follows:

2mm width (5, 10, 15 & 20mm height)
3mm width (6, 11, 16 & 21mm height)
4mm width (7, 12, 17 & 22mm height)
5mm width ( 8, 13, 18 & 23mm height)
6mm width (9, 14, 19 & 24mm height)
John Haine14/12/2021 13:17:43
4712 forum posts
273 photos

Absolutely no reason why their length has to match the jaw. Thinner ones are better, up (down that is!) to a point, as you can clamp thinner work. A tip, put a single parallel diagonally across the vice opening, put the work on top of it and carefully clamp - will work fine in most cases if the work is thinner than two parallels but thicker than 1.

I think Harold Hall explains how to make them in his book (maybe on website?), clamp steel strip to angle plate in pairs, resting on an improvised parallel, with the top of the strips above the top edge of the plate. Mill the two edges flat as one; then turn over end for end to mill the other edges. This must make them parallel, even if the one they are resting on isn't.

not done it yet14/12/2021 13:18:40
6874 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 14/12/2021 12:40:53:

3D printing is not the way to go, I can't think of anything less suitable for parallels than plastic.frown


Ooh, I don’t know about that. Certainly not the usual ‘starter’ plastic but there are some ‘reinforced’ filament materials available these days. As usual, the precision needs to be less than that which the part(s) is (are) being made to and certainly not less than that which would allow repeat parts in spec.

I have a set ex-Arc, but any in the future will be home-made, heat treatment/finish dependent on how long I would expect them to last.

stuart jones 214/12/2021 13:24:19
13 forum posts

If you 3d print with pla they will melt if you get them worm

Journeyman14/12/2021 13:27:55
1174 forum posts
236 photos

Well someone on Thingiverse got there before me *** LINK ***



JasonB14/12/2021 14:25:55
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

Another very good tip I saw in ME that the MEW readers may have missed is to write down on the rack or box where you store your parallels the depth below the jaws that each pair give rather than just their height. This saves trying one or two pairs to get that particular part just where you want it, all you do is pick a parallel that gives a depth just less than the thickness of what's being held. Must get round to doing it myselfblush

3D printed would be handy for specific angles or as said nesting jaws.

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

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Support Our Partners
Eccentric Engineering
Rapid RC
Eccentric July 5 2018
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