Improving a budget tilting vice
Having one of the tilting vices typical of those supplied with most mill drills,
it soon became apparent that it had some short comings. The most important, very
poor construction with regard to the moving jaw keep plate. This was very short,
and additionally had too much clearance over the sliding faces permitting the jaw
to lift considerably.
This problem was compounded by the fact that the machined face on which the keep
plate slid, did not reach the end of the keep plate's travel. As a result the problem
was even worse at the ends. The reason for this was that this surface of the casting,
tapered away at each end.
In addition to the problem with the jaw, the overall accuracy was poor, as was its
appearance. The vices presently offered do outwardly appear of better quality, whether
this is translated into accuracy I have no knowledge. There will though be many
earlier vices which will benefit by the attention proposed. These vices, in no way
compare with the much more robust, and as a result much more expensive milling vices
but are though, quite adequate for a range of milling operations, that is, if the
shortcomings can be largely eliminated.
In view of its shortcomings, overcoming these was considered. First, it would be
essential that the problem of jaw lift was considerably reduced, else if not, any
other work on the vice would be of little purpose.
Highest priority was therefore to improve the face on which the keep plate moved.
The absence of a machined face at the ends, due to the taper on the casting, could
easily be corrected by machining a little deeper. There was plenty of thickness to
the casting, so a further say 1/32 inch removed would extend the faces, without unduly
weakening the vice.
The content of this project was written some twenty years ago and comments about
the quality of the vice featured may not now be totally applicable. Even so, the
type of vice today (2011) are still budget items and cannot therefore expect to
be a precision device, some updating will no doubt result in an improvement. The
viewer will of course have to balance the amount of work against the improvement
Even if the vice is not totally updated it may be worth just doing those tasks which
minimise jaw lift as it is best avoided in the case of a milling vice. This especially
if the vice is to be used as the milling machines sole vice.
Not now having the photographs used in the original article those on these pages
have been scanned from the magazine and are now of poor quality. Because of this
there are no large size pictures provided.