Good Milling Vise

Discussion on all milling machines vertical & horizontal, including but not limited to Bridgeports, Hardinge, South Bend, Clausing, Van Norman, including imports.

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AllenH59
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Location: Prince George BC Canada

Good Milling Vise

Post by AllenH59 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:39 am

Good eve.. It has come to a time that the Grizzly five inch vise on my milling machine is not good enough, it lifts a lot when tightened. There may be money for a better vise, what do you suggest. I would like a vise of similar size, five or six inches. I want one that will last a lifetime of occasional use. I do live in Canada.. and with the cost of freight to from the USA it is almost worth the five hundred mile trip to pick one up. Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated.
thanks Allen

Harold_V
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by Harold_V » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:46 am

Kurt has an excellent reputation. I've owned one of them for more than 50 years now, and it's still 100% reliable. A second one was purchased a few years ago, with larger capacity. My first one is small, just 4" opening. I recommend them highly, although there may be other vises that would be satisfactory.

H

Edit: Looks like my head got away from me. I said I'd owned my first Kurt for more than 50 years. Actually, now that I've cleared my head, it's been almost 49 years. Purchased expressly for a job that my new Bridgeport vise couldn't handle. It wasn't capable of making parts square, and was not consistent in what it did, very unlike the Kurt, which replaced the BP vise. I make mention because misinformation has no place on this board.
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

AllenH59
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by AllenH59 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:25 am

Do you think it is safe to buy a used kurt sight unseen? I am not unable to buy a new one, i do see some used ones for about half price...

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SteveM
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by SteveM » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:41 am

AllenH59 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:25 am
Do you think it is safe to buy a used kurt sight unseen? I am not unable to buy a new one, i do see some used ones for about half price...
If the vise appears beat in the pictures, it probably is, but I've had Kurts that look like they went to hell and back and still worked well. Pay attention to the top of the base, as that is the most important surface that is likely to get damaged. Damage to the tops of the jaws indicates carelessness, but may not affect performance.

You can get used ones for a LOT less than half price. I've bought probably a dozen of them, and excluding one of the 3" vises for which I paid $150 (a bargain) I don't think I've spent much more than $50 on any of them.

Your best bet, if you can fit it is a 6" Kurt - there are millions of them out there and Kurt still supports them with parts. The smaller sizes can go for more - I've seen a 3" sell on ebay for $350. The 3" and 5" vises are technically supported, but they have run out of spare parts. I know, I have a pair of 3's and a pair of 5's.

Used 6" ones on craigslist around here go for $200 and less without the swivel base.

Steve

Harold_V
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by Harold_V » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:42 pm

SteveM wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:41 am
Damage to the tops of the jaws indicates carelessness, but may not affect performance.
Assuming one has access to a surface grinder, jaws are easily reground, and that's very much in keeping with good shop practice. The bottom surfaces are best not reground, and the face that attaches to the vise shouldn't be unless the jaw isn't straight. If the jaws are distorted, enough material should be removed to bring that jaw surface true. Assuming the jaws are not distorted, those surfaces are best left undisturbed, although stoned well to remove any dings. The other two surfaces benefit by a light grind, which will remove superficial damage and leave them looking like new.

H
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BadDog
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by BadDog » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:42 pm

I would be tickled to buy a nice Kurt cheap, but not sight unseen unless it was VERY cheap, and maybe not then since "unseen" implies shipping a heavy block of iron.

When I was outfitting my mill I came across a Kurt clone made by Homgee (sp?), which appears to be a quality Taiwanese (from memory) company. It had fine fit-n-finish and was unblemished with only dust and some coolant mist varnish (basically dry dusty oil). I got it with an actual Kurt handle (whoopie! :roll: ), swivel base, and 3 different styles/sets of jaws for $100. Cleaned up and looked like new with only a little effort, though I disassembled to clean and reassembled with fresh lube.

I also usually use the swivel base just because it makes things easier to dial square (mainly the fixed jaw), or swing off at an angle and back as needed. If it adversely affects the rigidity within the acceptable workload envelope of the Bridgeport 2J, I can't tell it. But most with more knowledge and skill than I have say they pitch the bases. <shrug/> I like it, but could easily live without it, so whether you get a base or not isn't much of a deal either way in my opinion.
Russ
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AllenH59
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by AllenH59 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:54 pm

Russ. Yes.. Sight unseen was a bit of confusion in the night. I live far from where one would be for sale. I would not buy one unseen unless someone I trusted looked at it.

TRX
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by TRX » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:32 pm

Kurt's web site has a "scratch and dent sale" page; they offer blemished-but-accurate vises for a substantial discount, brand new.

I'd already bought a new import vise before I remembered that... [sigh]

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NP317
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by NP317 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:36 am

TRX wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:32 pm
Kurt's web site has a "scratch and dent sale" page; they offer blemished-but-accurate vises for a substantial discount, brand new.
I'd already bought a new import vise before I remembered that... [sigh]
That's how I purchased my new Kurt 6" vice. And I've not been able to discover any blemishes, except a tiny one in the paint.
Saved about 20% of cost, and I've been happy ever since. Kurt vices are the best for most general machining uses.
~RN
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pete
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by pete » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:12 am

I've got 2 of the matched for height Glacern premium 6" vises and one of there standard 6" vises. They seem to be pretty good but I've never used a real Kurt. They replaced the two 4" Chinese made one's I started out with for the exact same reasons you now know that better isn't optional. Since I bought mine Glacern have raised there prices to where there's not a huge difference in just buying a Kurt and knowing for sure what your getting and can expect. Even better if you can fit a 6" vise on the table. Glacern does offer a standard 5" for about $370 American, add money exchange, shipping and brokerage fees from California, federal and provincial sales tax and I think I'd look real hard for a good but lightly used Kurt. Plus there's a few far less well known vise brands around made in Europe that sell for a lot less used than Kurts go for. Geraldi (sp?) would be one of them and there as good or maybe even a bit better than a Kurt. If I had to buy new again? I'd seriously be looking for what's called a reverse cnc vise. The jaw closest to you is fixed and the moving jaw gets closed by pulling on the moving jaw. I think it's a better and a bit more rigid method.

Mostly because of the number of vise jaws and accessories built to fit the 6" Kurt I think I'd go with the 6" size if it's at all possible. Kurt offers quite cheap rebuild kits and even if a bit of surface grinding was needed if you can get one cheap enough and fairly local then it's still cheaper than new. Sooner or later one should show up in Prince Gerorge or Kamloops / Kelowna area.

Harold_V
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by Harold_V » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:10 am

A comment on using a CNC type vise for a manual mill.
If one is used to dials, the stop (the fixed jaw) is on the wrong side with that kind of vise. You'd have to pick up on the solid jaw, then read the dials in reverse. Not saying it can't be done, but reading dials in the proper direction really helps in eliminating errors.

Using a DRO? May not make any difference.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Richard_W
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Re: Good Milling Vise

Post by Richard_W » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:33 pm

It depends on how old of a Kurt vise you are looking at. The new ones have a different screw clamping system and open up wider. The first Kurt vise I used back in the late 1970's would only open about 4 1/2" if I remember correctly. The newer ones can open up to 7 1/2", again if I remember correctly. The newer vises don't clog up on the threads like the older ones do. While even an older Kurt vise is way better than no Kurt vise.

Richard W.

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