What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

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Gwarden
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What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Gwarden » Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:40 am

Hi all

I have a Busy Bee B2229 Lathe / mill (same as a Grizzly G9729). Looking to get a proper milling vise for it as the supplied vise is not so great. Anyone out there have some suggestions as to size and type that works on your Lathe/Mill? Pros / Cons?

Thanks
Dennis

Torch
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Torch » Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:38 am

I bought a 4" Kurt clone from Shars. It needed a little bit of paint removal initially, but I've been happy with it overall, and it's a good size for these machines. There's a thread about it here: https://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/vi ... se#p242028

Glacern is another brand of Kurt-clone that gets good reviews. Of course, if you have lots of ready cash, there's a reason why Kurt is the standard to which others are measured. ;-)

Gwarden
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Gwarden » Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:55 am

I take it the 5" is a little too big? I'll have a look at the Shars (BUT the shipping will kill me)

D

Torch
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Torch » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:54 am

The problem is your t-slots run perpendicular to the bed. So mounting the vise on the bed leaves a lot of vise hanging off the right side of the table. The bigger the vise, the more overhang. Not only is the weight torquing things, but now the lathe tailstock could interfere with the vise screw, especially on the short bed of the B2229. In all honesty, a 3" is probably a better fit for the table, but a 4" can work. And remember, the Kurt design allows you to relocate the jaws to the outboard sides, extending the size of the part than can be held to roughly double the opening width.

Another option is to get one with a rotating base. The base eats up a bit of your clearance over the vise of course, and more moving parts means less precision, but the swivel feature does allow the vise to be mounted lengthwise with the t-slots instead of across them. Not a bad price from Shar's eBay store, but the fine print says shipping by UPS Standard, which means not only is the upfront shipping more than the cost of the vise, but they will also hold your package hostage until you pay their exorbitant brokerage fees in addition to the .

If you can find something inexpensive from King or KBC or Busybee, it will be a Chinese clone of dubious precision. However, Doc Nickle did an excellent write-up about "polishing a turd" on his website that is worth reading:

http://www.docsmachine.com/projects/4vise/4vise-01.html

Gwarden
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Gwarden » Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:24 am

Wow I love the way Docs machine goes through the project. Thanks for the pointers.
Looking at Busy Bee they are out of stock on their 4" Kurt clones, so goodness knows when they will get more. BUT they do have a tilting 4" https://www.busybeetools.com/products/4 ... serie.html.
Not sure about the quality, though the tilting feature maybe a nice thing for me. At a $149 and I believe free shipping it may be worth a gamble. I wouldn't mind redoing it as in Docs project.

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Gary Armitstead
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by Gary Armitstead » Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:46 am

I'm a retired die sinker and when it came time to purchase a mill vise for my old Enco mill/drill, I bought this vise from LittleMachineShop in Pasadena, CA
https://littlemachineshop.com/products/ ... 1963256912

4 inch, non-swivel. Excellent quality. Keyed to fit the slots on my table. Made aluminum soft jaws for it and I use it constant. Very rigid. $119+ shipping (I believe that was about $25 to me in Burbank. Little Machine Shop is very fair with their shipping costs. I DID purchase the vise mounting kit @ $12.95.
Gary Armitstead
Burbank, CA
Member LALS since 1980
Member Goleta Valley Railroad Club 1980-1993

pete
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by pete » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:48 pm

I can't speak about the vise quality BB are now selling, but both the 4" Kurt clones I bought from them about 15 years ago were accurately ground because I checked them on a surface plate. Unfortunately that wasn't an indicator of the cast iron quality they used to start out with. That was something I couldn't fix. Those weak porous castings allowed the fixed jaw to flex enough to affect the part squareness even with moderate closing pressures. Unless you got very lucky, it's doubtful your going to find any vise with bolt holes that will match the pitch spacing of your tee slots in the top of that cross slide. So what ever you do get, then almost for sure it's going to require an adapter plate that can use Allen head cap screws counter sunk into the plate into tee nuts in your tee slots and then what ever bolt spacing the vise itself requires into the adapter plate. And that's going to require a plate thickness of at least 1/2". After my experience with those BB vises I found the off shore Kurt types too much of a gamble for what I might get. Not all of them are garbage, but you can't know that until you have it and can check just how good it might be.So I bought a matched pair of 6" Glacern's for my BP clone. My 11" x 27" lathe https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-1127vf-lb/ does have a rear mounted milling head and a tee slotted cross slide much like yours. Again it's tee slot pitch spacing doesn't match up with any vise type I could find, so I had to use an adapter plate.

I've no experience with the vise brand in this link, https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Shars-Precision ... SwHbJdiS~l it's just a demonstration of the vise type I mean. I've got 3 of them from two different manufacturers and all of them check out very well on a surface plate. Low tenths in fact. Because of how there designed and made, the vise bed and fixed jaw are all one piece and it makes for a good rigid vise. There's lots of them around at various prices. But far fewer have the hold down slots on each side of the vise bed. For what your wanting to do those side slots would be non optional imo. I bought a 4" capacity Accu Pro brand from MSC Industrial that does have those side slots for use on my lathes cross slide. And it's one of the few things I've bought for my shop where I think I paid too little for what I got. For any vise smaller than a 6" and especially in a compact size, these grinding type vises are very hard to beat for the accuracy and rigidity you get verses there price. Buying a Kurt type with a swivel base sounds a lot more useful than it really works out to be. They add to the vise Z height which in your case your very limited, and they seriously reduce the rigidity. I could have gotten the swivel bases for my Glacern's but chose not to. I've yet to wish I had. Strap clamps can work just as well with zero reduction in rigidity, no loss in Z height and there only a bit slower to set up for the few times most might need to angle the vise.

toddalin
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by toddalin » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:35 pm

I use a 4" Shars. I paid $100. It is no KURT. There is a very slight difference in tightness from one side to the other (annoying), but perhaps a bit of sand paper tugged between the jaws could fix this.

pete
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Re: What size milling vise for my Lathe/ Mill?

Post by pete » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:38 pm

It's well worth pulling these off shore Kurt clones apart Toddalin. Yours may be better than mine, but the internals on most seem to be very poorly done. Afaik real Kurt's use a hardened and surface ground wedge surface that a hardened half ball rides against that helps pull the moving jaw down as the vise tightens. Mine were in as cast condition. This video shows what I mean since mine were in about the same condition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRtDoTsuCsw Unlike what he did, I used a fly cutter on mine and I saw a decent improvement with how mine worked. You want the smoothest surface finish you can get that's truly square to the internal guide ways, although that half ball does help with any misalignment. A rough surface fights against the movable jaw being properly pulled down each time the vise gets tightened. You'll also have to play around a bit with the set screw adjustment located in the rear center of the movable jaw after re-machining that wedge face. Use a dial indicator on the top front surface of the movable jaw to measure jaw lift as you tighten the vise and as your adjusting that set screw. That wedge face is one of the more important working surfaces for how the design is supposed to work. I was amazed when I pulled mine apart as saw it was left as is from the foundry. It can't work correctly without having at least a well machined face.

With that type of jaw misalignment and without seeing the internals of yours it's not easy to make suggestions that might correct your issue.

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