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Elegant way to hold angle blocks on a mill vice

ducdon

Super User
Premium Member
I have a small collection of precision angle blocks. I have been using them to dial in angles on my milling vise by placing them along the back of the fixed jaw and running a dial indicator along the angle.. I've used Duct Tape, painters tape and a mag base from a dial indicator to hold them in place. The tape methods are not that secure and the magnet gathers swarf big time. Anybody got better ideas on how to secure them PXL_20240517_024306092.jpg ?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I've used a 123 block or parallel clamped in the vise jaws & then angle block(s) clamped to it from the end.
- this gives you a better & preferable initial reference surface - your inside fixed vise jaw. Using the outer edge like you are doing is ~ok, but less reliable IMO. It can have a chamfer on outside or crud in the crack which then potentially affects your angle block placement
- the exact same surface is thereby used to reference the angle block which is recommended
- the 123 block is a nice big flat surface so the angle block is sitting completely flat. Also you may have instances where its a stack of blocks to get some additive angle
- the clamp is a toolmaker clamp or Kant-Twist. The force is so small it can be done on one side which leaves the angle surface clear to run DTI down

1716680231904.png
 

ChazzC

Well-Known Member
I've used a 123 block or parallel clamped in the vise jaws & then angle block(s) clamped to it from the end.
- this gives you a better & preferable initial reference surface - your inside fixed vise jaw. Using the outer edge like you are doing is ~ok, but less reliable IMO. It can have a chamfer on outside or crud in the crack which then potentially affects your angle block placement
- the exact same surface is thereby used to reference the angle block which is recommended
- the 123 block is a nice big flat surface so the angle block is sitting completely flat. Also you may have instances where its a stack of blocks to get some additive angle
- the clamp is a toolmaker clamp or Kant-Twist. The force is so small it can be done on one side which leaves the angle surface clear to run DTI down

View attachment 48259
Your graphic lit up a light bulb for me; the setup on my Mini-Mill:

20240523 CL-7 Finger Clamp Anotated rfs.jpg
The annotated photo should be self-explanatory, but some details do need to be amplified:

• The Tall Parallel is required as my 3" Vise jaw is shorter than 1".

• A couple of years ago I had a brain fart for a small fixture block, so added some 10-32 E-Z Lok inserts to a 1-2-3 (I've lost count of how many of these I have, but aside from this one, the rest are kept together as original pairs.

• I planned on using small toe clamps with this 1-2-3 block, but then saw a post on another forum using "Finger Clamps" to hold thin parts on a fixture plate, did some research and found the clamps:

McM CL-7 Clamping Parts.png
The Clamp has a left-hand thread, and the Screw has left hand on one end & right-hand on the other; when you tighten the screw into the block, the clamp is pulled down:
McM CL-7.gif
McM XNS-36.gif
I also found these on eBay and picked up a handful of 10-32 Clamps & Screws & 5/16-24 Clamps to use on my assorted fixture plates; they don't make 1/4-20, but a 1/4-20 SHCS can be used through the 5/16-24 clamp on 1/4-20 fixture plates. I've attached a PDF with dimensions of the clamps from RMC Tooling. These clamps are perfect for clamping thin objects and they have a low profile.
 

Attachments

  • Finger Clamp Dimensions.pdf
    272.3 KB · Views: 2

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
That looks great! Your 123 block remedial fix is smarter than what I was going to do which was machine my own threaded inserts & Loctite them in place. It never occurred to me to look for a 10-32 EZ insert.
I assume the EZ thread OD matches the existing 123 thread ID? (remind me what size that is again). How long are they relative to the 1" width of block? Where did you get them?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Its a bit more fiddly to mate another block for an in between angle & clamp it in place too, but your setup lends itself better. One could make a dedicated setup / tooling plate with an array of holes to use those nice clamping heads.
1716696883029.png

Another way I have accomplished this is just clamp a parallel in the vise. Put a DTI in the quill to register same contact zero position. Then use DRO measurement in X&Y to converge on target angle. It takes some vise bumping iterations & lots of handle turning though.
1716696649714.png
 

ducdon

Super User
Premium Member
Placing the angle blocks on the inside of the jaws is definitely the most accurate way, but kind of difficult when you have a work piece in the vise. My most recent project was making insert tool holders . The pocket that holds the insert has multiple angles which I achieved by using the angle blocks on the rear of the jaw and rotating the vise to dial in each of the angles without removing the work piece from the vise or changing the depth of cut. My vise jaws are machined parallel so it was accurate enough. Just difficult to hold the angle block in place.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I've made lots of sacrificial angle fixture plates just by locating 2 dowel holes with the angle worked out. Especially useful for odd angles or multi part setups. You can even add a 3rd dowel on the end of part to further constrain it in that dimension if setting up a series of parts or clamp an accurate square & now you have the right angle to target angle, also useful. If your holes & pins & DRO is accurate to a couple thou, you can make amazingly accurate parts. This way the vise stays put square on the mill table vs rotating. Sometimes that's not what you want but just saying it doesn't necessarily have to be that way with a fixture plate. After swiss cheesing with dowel holes it for many parts, oh well, toss it & get another chunk of aluminum.

Some people have even made their own dowel angle fixture using a common reference hole & a series of holes for a range of custom angles. And on that note, some of my Chinese angle blocks are not as accurate as the stamp even though they ground & shiny all over, so take them with a grain of salt or at least validate them one day.

1716702677852.png
 

ChazzC

Well-Known Member
That looks great! Your 123 block remedial fix is smarter than what I was going to do which was machine my own threaded inserts & Loctite them in place. It never occurred to me to look for a 10-32 EZ insert.
I assume the EZ thread OD matches the existing 123 thread ID? (remind me what size that is again).
My 1-2-3 blocks have 3/8-16 threaded holes (same as the T-Slot nuts for my Mini-Mill, which is handy if you want to make special T-Slot nuts for small toe clamps)

How long are they relative to the 1" width of block?
The 329-332 (10-32 x 3/8-16) inserts are 0.406" Long; see the attached PDF for dimensions.

Where did you get them?
You can get them from McMaster or most industrial supply houses.


All of the info you will need on E-Z- Lok Solid Wall inserts for metal.


The "Resources" tab will take to even more details. While you can get a special insert tool ($10, basically what you would pay for a pack of 10 inserts), if you are careful and use an appropriate width & thickness flat blade screwdriver you won't have any trouble. I use a Brownells 340-7 Magna-Tip bit:

20240526 E-Z-Lok n Bit.jpeg
For insurance, I also add a little extra red threadlocker.
 

Attachments

  • E-Z Lok 329 Series Dimensions.pdf
    93.6 KB · Views: 0

ChazzC

Well-Known Member
Its a bit more fiddly to mate another block for an in between angle & clamp it in place too, but your setup lends itself better. One could make a dedicated setup / tooling plate with an array of holes to use those nice clamping heads.
View attachment 48269

Another way I have accomplished this is just clamp a parallel in the vise. Put a DTI in the quill to register same contact zero position. Then use DRO measurement in X&Y to converge on target angle. It takes some vise bumping iterations & lots of handle turning though.
I actually thought about multiple blocks last night, and came up with this approach:

20240526 Toe Clamp n 3 Angles Annotated rfs.jpg
Perhaps not as elegant a solution, but the cardboard packing under the sideways toe clamp securely holds the three blocks (at least enough for the forces excepted by a DTI tip).

Another approach is a little more drastic: somewhere in the past 3 years or so I saw were someone had purposely drilled & tape holes in the top of their milling vise's moving jaw (not sure if they started this on purpose, or just took advantage of an "oops) and on occasion used these taped holes auxiliary clamp locations. I have considered doing this: check the vise tram: close the jaws & verify that the back of the moving jaw is reasonably square to the world; drill & tap a small grid of 10-32 [in my case, 1/4-20 if you have a 6" vise] holes and use these to hold angle blocks in place (or for any number of purposes). This would leave the vise available to hold your workpiece while giving you a reference for aligning the jaws to something other than 90°:

20240526 Vise Tapped Hole Pattern rfs.jpg
n.b., I leave tall outside jaws attached to the vise all of the time (that way I don't lose them ;)).
 

ChazzC

Well-Known Member
@PeterT – forgot to note that you need to follow the tap drill sizes specified by E-Z Lok: for the Standard Wall inserts (like the 1-32 x 3/8-16) they are (usually) the same as other recommendations for 75% engagement; however, for Thin Wall inserts (like 1/4-20 x 3/8-16) they specify larger tap drills (50% engagement).
 

Attachments

  • E-Z Lok Tap Drill Chart.pdf
    87 KB · Views: 1
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