Without doubt, using a vice to hold a regular shaped workpiece is by far the easiest
method. However, this in my estimation can lead to a workshop owner using the vice
when other methods have advantages. This is though dealt with elsewhere on the site.
Photo 1 shows a vice being checked for positional accuracy and really needs no explanation.
An alternative method for some forms of vice is to use an engineers square off the
front edge of the table and the end of the vice, Photo 2.
The method is though dependant on the accuracy of the vice, square and the front
edge of the table and should therefore be checked the first time you use it to determine
just how accurate the result is, doing it using the method in photograph 1. For my
setup it is accurate enough for all but the most demanding requirements which only
occur very occasionally. Its advantage is of course then time saving.
Often the workpiece being held needs to be placed near to the top of the jaws requiring
parallels to be used. Unfortunately, especially if relatively thin parallels are
being used, they can fall over whilst being set up, a strip of rubber, as in Photo
3 overcomes the problem.
The irregular shape of castings often make them a non starter for using the vice.
However, where it seems acceptable using soft copper faces to the vice jaws improves
the grip substantially. This is of course due to the copper conforming to the rough
surface of the casting, Photo 4.
When setting a workpiece at an angle the actual angle is often far from critical
and using a protractor from a combination square set will suffice, Photo 5, or one
of the digital versions. Testing how level the machine table is and allowing for
this in the angle set may improve the accuracy a little. Precise angles are much
more difficult to achieve. Unfortunately, the methods are not covered on my website.
Securely holding round items vertically in the vice is not possible without some
help the simplest way being to add a vee block as in Photo 6. If the vee block is
made from cast iron do be careful as it has been known to be split into two using
the method. Long workpieces held horizontal is less of a problem but still need
s careful consideration.
Whilst not a vice I have included my engineers sash clamps as they make an excellent
alternative to a vice where large items need to be held Photos 7 and 8. LINK