Harold Hall


Workshop Set Ups

Vice on the Milling machine Table,  Setups.     Harold Hall

Milling Vice, using
Milling Vice, Positioning on the milling machine table.




Milling Vice, using
Milling Vice, using




engineers sash clamps


Engineers sash clamps


Milling Vice, using
Milling Vice, using




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. LINK


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.

All pictures can be clicked on to provide a larger view

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