Harold Hall


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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.

Improving a Budget Tilting Vice, Harold Hall

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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 achieved.


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.



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