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3" mill vise

#1
I'm trying to find a 3" (possibly 4") for my mini mill. There are lots of options out there, however, it has surprised me at the cost of these. Some are as much as I spent on the mill.
I have to admit that I am very technologically challenged and rarely have much success with the "google" so I'm looking for suggestions for sources.
Also, is anyone aware of a place to find a used mini lathe (7x14 ish) I am quite restricted for space and I feel this will do anything I would do.
I really like the ones available from Little Machine shop (looking at their 5200 model) but the cost and shipping is way out of my budget right now).
 

DPittman

Active Member
#2
Kijiji often has mini lathes listed. The vise you will likely have to buy new, busy bee tools is one of many suppliers that is likely to have them in stock
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#4
If you hop over to Stefan Gotteswinter's Youtube channel you will see he uses an ~4" import precision vise in his RF45 mill & does some amazing work. Sometimes they are called a grinding vise (as in surface grinder) which is probably what this style was originally intended for. They are surprisingly inexpensive & accurate. Sometimes the detent screw lock mechanism leaves something to be desired. I think I posted some mods I did on mine. If not I can dig up the pics.

A cast iron base Kurt style is of course the big boy solution & usually what you see on a Bridgeport. Unfortunately a few things go against you in a smaller machine. A real Kurt is expensive. Asian lookalikes to this style can be less accurate in the cheaper offerings & its impossible to know that beforehand from a catalog. You lose valuable headroom given the base & worse yet any rotating swivel base fixture. This often gets overlooked so take some typical measurements on your specific mill with a chuck or endmill in there & see whats left over for actual stock. On cast bases the side lugs often don't line up with the myriad of T slot spacing's in mini mills which can be quite limiting. Next best is maybe the ground side style with continuous clamp slot, but they can be quite thick too. A block style precision / grinding vise is generally lower profile = more headroom, usually can be placed at different angles to the table, or even on its side. Then you can always use this vise to hold within a vise if you ever get a bigger machine, they have utility value. Some pictures just to get help your decision making

https://www.accusizetools.com/metric-precision-screwless-vise-0536-series/
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#5
If you do a 'vise' search here on the forum you will get lots of hits to help with your evaluation. Just bear in mind the size of machine & intended application & of course cost. What works for one person may be different for another.

Here are some pics of a teeny 1" precision vise I bought for holding very small parts at odd angles within my main vise. The ground surfaces were nice & accurate but the clamping détente mechanism was just incorrectly sized & poorly made crap. Fortunately we have metalworking tools to remedy! Just showing as an example, sometimes these vises in particular can be cheesy in this particular regard, although the larger 3" one I saw was a bit better.
 

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Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#6
My experience with the 4" ones is good. The one from Shars had a good reputation last year (this year, who knows?)
 
#7
The Shars stuff is well reviewed but brutal to get up here due to the shipping. Unless you live close to the border and can pick it up it's not a great option.

King has a 3" that runs @ $ 99. Should be more than good enough for a mini mill and they're easy to come by.
 
#8
I bought a 4" kurt style vise from BB for the drill press. It was too heavy for that so I left it in the box under the bench. I got 6" shaper and thought to use it for that. So I pulled it out, boy it was rough. It was made on a shaper and was over .005" out on the base. I think I paid $89 for it back then. It's only good as casting to make one.
 

Tom Kitta

Active Member
#9
I have a KMS 4" I used on the mini-mill back when I had it. Looked way too big on it but barely fit and worked. It is a total POS - its not even close to milling quality even for somewhat imprecise mini-mill. It is now on the drill press - somewhere where it belongs.

I think I paid less than 80 for it.

The little shiny precision screw-less vises are quite precise - if you are making small things they are good - otherwise a bit pain to setup when compared to kurt style.

You can try first the screw-less and if it gets too small for you go for quality import - i.e. try to avoid China and run from India unless you can verify quality or are OK with it being your new drill press vise.