Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

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germaneighter
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Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by germaneighter » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:03 pm

While looking on the internet for replacement parts for the Palmgren vise & swivel base that came on my 1967 Rockwell I ran across these pics of a Rockwell 4" vise made by Palmgren. This is the same vise that I have except it's not beat to crap. There is no cast number on the vise. Anyone have any info on this vise sold by Rockwell? It seems to be a good size for the mill. I would love to find an unused one like this!
SnipImage.JPG
thanks,
dg

John Evans
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by John Evans » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:27 pm

Palmgren stuff was only fair quailty at best !
www.chaski.com

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SteveM
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by SteveM » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:59 pm

Find yourself a good used 4" Kurt. Will be the best investment you ever make for your mill.

If you can fit a 6" Kurt on your mill, it will be cheaper and easier to find one, as the 4" vises were less popular and are now out of production.

Search craigslist and search ebay with a distance criteria. Set the ebay to send you an alert.

You can ship a 3" kurt, it's a little more work to ship a 4", but a 6" is going to cost a lot to ship. Look for one on ebay that is local, but has a high shipping cost, as that will scare off non-local buyers.

Look at the length of the fixed jaw on that - the Kurt is about three times as long, so even without the lockdown design, the kurt will be less likely to lift.

Steve

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platypus20
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by platypus20 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:33 am

I have a Rockwell #21-100 vertical milling machine, that I use about 60% of the time, over the other milling machines, I bought a Shars 4” upper grade import milling vise, and have had excellent results.

I have multiple Palmgren drill press vises, that are good quality, but the Palmgren milling vise I’ve seen are borderline quality wise compared to others.
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pete
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by pete » Sun May 05, 2019 5:06 pm

With that Rockwell brand the vise in your pictures appears to be a real nice NOS example. And if you could find one for sale I'd bet it would be priced like an unused 4" Kurt. As others have said Palmgen products even years ago when still made in the U.S. were not known as the best in design and quality. They were generally thought of as fairly cheap and definitely non production grade tooling. That was before the Chinese and India made tool importers were so common. I have one of there U.S. made and the largest lathe milling attachments that they made. For what it is and it's price I'm not exactly impressed. It's mostly ok and will do what I wanted it for if I take my time. But to be honest it really could have been designed and made far better for very little extra in price. Afaik anything now branded as Palmgren is made off shore with there name and chosen paint color on it. I'd guess there now trading on a false perception of a higher quality by some that they never really had. There ok, but there's much more rigid and accurate vises out there in the same size.

If you really are looking for a replacement in that size? I can probably provide a few hands on examples that I know are pretty decent and would work a whole lot better than any NOS Palmgren would. Tool collectors would of course highly value having a genuine Rockwell vise to go with there Rockwell mill. If your going to use the tools then vise design has come a long ways since 1967.

germaneighter
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by germaneighter » Mon May 06, 2019 10:20 am

Thanks for all the information. I am a 60 year old armature when it comes to machining so I need this type of good guidance. I have been looking for a used 4" Kurt with swivel base but they are pricey and not plentiful. While I continue my search is there any recommendation for a 4" import?

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SteveM
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by SteveM » Mon May 06, 2019 1:03 pm

There are plenty of horror stories about import vises.

Metal Tips and Tricks did a comparison, and there really is no comparison.

Someone else documented a rebuild of an import vise, and the time he spent doing it probably was worth more than a Kurt would cost. And you would need a surface grinder.

Glacern makes a good vice, but they are almost as much as a Kurt (and there are fewer on the used market).

Here's some questions:

Do you really need a swivel base? Many on here that have them, don't ever use them. I have them for both of my 3" Kurts because you can't put a Kurt on a P&W 3C mill without one (you need to turn the vice 90 degrees).

Can you fit a 6" vise? There are a LOT more 6" vises out there on the used market than 4" vises, so if you can, you can find one faster and cheaper. AND if you really need the swivel, you can find that too. I bought my 3" Kurts maybe three years ago and JUST got the swivel bases.

Also, things like handles and jaws for the 6" model are so plentiful that you can't spit at ebay without hitting one. Not as much with the 4" (although there are some vendors selling new 4" jaws). There's nothing out there for 3" and 5" (I have two of each, and I can tell you you can't find anything for them, even from Kurt).

Little Machine Shop has Kurt clones and I have seen them in person. They looked pretty good and LMS has a pretty good reputation among the various companies selling import tooling.

Not sure what your budget is, but this guy has two of them and he's 50 miles from you:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/KURT-6-ANG-LOC ... 1756006160

The fact that shipping is $70 gives you a $70 advantage over anyone else looking to buy one that is not local.

Up here, those would be $200-$250, so like real estate, location, location, location.

Steve

pete
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by pete » Tue May 07, 2019 6:47 pm

Kurt would be about the bench mark for milling vises in North America. Arguably there's some possibly even better European vises. None of that is pertinent to your vise requirements germaneighter, but a Kurt isn't the only option for a high end quality vise if something used with a strange name you don't know about were to turn up. For any mill vise I was looking to buy it would definitely have to have some type of anti lift system for the moving jaw just like the Kurt and Grinding Vises have.

I started out with a pair of Chinese 4" Kurt clone mill vises that togeather cost me almost $400. I won't go as far as saying there all junk, but mine were. Even buying one in person doesn't reveal what I found later. They even checked out quite well as being parallel to the bottom surface on a surface plate and the grinding was ok with a square and vertical fixed jaw. However I was seeing problems on the machined parts. It took awhile to find, but the rear jaw was flexing rearward far more than it should have under even moderate tightening loads and the moving jaw lifting random amounts each time it was tightened no matter how much I played with the adjustment. Taking them fully apart revealed why. Cheeze grade Allen bolts holding the fixed jaw in place. A not even close to tight fitting key under that fixed jaw so it sure wasn't doing much. Zero machining never mind grinding on the moving jaws anti lift wedge, internal casting flaws and some serious structural voids in the base casting that never should have happened if the casting molds were done properly. I suspect but don't know for sure that the actual cast iron used was poured using any piece of scrap that turned up with no metal analysis done for the molten cast irons composition or quality. Further the screw and nut were sloppy and more than poorly done. The screws were rough enough that even with the limited use the vises had seen lot's of bronze? wear flakes from the nut were all over the screws. Even the obviously cheap as possible thrust bearing was rusty on one of them. And neither vise had the hardened thrust washers a good thrust bearing is supposed to operate against. The bearings were only running on again poorly machined cast iron surfaces. I could have fixed most of the problems, but I can't fix weak and porous castings. There's zero doubt in my mind that under the vises exterior painted surfaces there a porous and bondo filled mess. I'd bet that even with low labor costs they spent as much or more filling the voids and making the exterior look good that would have been spent just doing the molds and castings properly. Lots of forum posts will say just buy whatever cheap off shore Kurt type vise you can find since for a home shop there more than good enough. That's utter B.S. and the posters can't know as much as they think. Price is a large indicator of how much quality and effort went into it and what you should expect from it. At best in my opinion those cheap as possible mill vises might be semi ok for use on a drill press because mine sure aren't up to milling parts that are usable by most peoples requirements.

Anyway that mistake was a good but fairly expensive lesson in not scrimping on foundational tools. Any inaccuracy in your work holding will show up in your parts. It has to, if it's not held square and accurately to the spindle it's going to get cut to whatever orientation it's held in. I then started searching for what I should have done in the beginning. Lot's of research later I talked to Eric at Glacern who was the company engineer at the time. He now owns Orange Vise. I bought a matched pair of there GPV-615s. At the time there was a larger difference between there prices and Kurts than there is now. It was pretty eye opening seeing the difference a good quality vise makes. The internals look just about as good as the exterior. But despite what Glacern say's on there web site and because of various other bit's of information I've picked up I suspect there vises are currently and very likely being made by the same off shore company that the Shars premium vises are coming from. When I bought mine the castings were being done off shore and the machining and grinding done here.

I've not used the 4" Glacern vises, but don't really expect the quality would be any different. If I was looking for one of that size I'd probably go that route. My mills a BP clone so that's why I moved up to the 6" size for it and any vise accessory that's made for a Kurt also fit's directly to my Glacerns. Because of the rarity and price for the 3"-4" Kurt's plus there extra width, I did buy a 4" version of what's usually known as a Grinding, Tool Makers, or Screwless vise for use on my lathes Tee slotted cross slide from MSC and with the Accu Pro brand on it. It checks out well under there maximum allowable 2/10ths on every surface I've checked. It's also one of the few Items I've bought for the shop that I think I paid too little every time I pull it out of the box. No it's not a Hermann Schmidt grinding vise, but it wasn't even close to Hermann's $920 price either.

Many on the forums seem to think these Grinding Vises won't hold parts well enough for milling. Stefan Gotteswinter on YouTube always uses what looks to be about a 4" vise of this type on his RF-45 mill at home. While he usually doesn't do large parts or use large end mills he's not shy about burying an end mill in the work. He's a highly talented CNC machinist on his day job and mentioned the company he works at uses a lot of these types of vises for high precision CNC milling as well. The only down side to these vises is there also hardened and ground on the jaw faces with no tapped and threaded holes so there's no easy way of adding replaceable jaw inserts if you wanted to. The good brands of grinding vises of this type are made to far higher accuracy levels than even the best Kurt makes and are well above what milling even requires. If I wanted something decent and around the 4" size for a good return on the cost I'd buy another one. Vertex might be another brand to look at for a conventional Kurt clone vise.This Old Tony on YT did a video on one he bought and for the price it was very surprising just how well it was done. Since I've never owned one I can't say for sure the quality is consistent for every vise they make. My Vertex rotary table and the dividing head I bought are ok.

Using a swivel base on a mill vise? Only my opinion, I think there pretty much a waste. The degree engravings are still only approximate for anything that counts, so for almost anything I can think of you need to set the vise using better methods. If your doing that it sure wouldn't take much extra time to just set the vise on the table to the angle required. They eat up valuable Z height plus make your work holding far less rigid. Using one on an accurate and well made vise you spent good money to get because of those quality's pretty much defeats what your needing to have if your wanting to take a decent cut. It still depends on your usual work and not mine. If you do a whole lot of different angles all the time then I guess one would be worth it.

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Carrdo
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by Carrdo » Tue May 07, 2019 9:33 pm

Perhaps I have been lucky but I have two Palmgren swivel base vises and both of them are excellent. See the attached photos. Both were bought new. I do look after them and I am quite particular about my equipment.They do look new after all of these years and it is not because I don't use them.

The quality of the castings and the machine work on either vise is excellent. The 6" heavy duty machinist's vise is the older traditional style milling machine vise and it weights a lot - 80 lbs. It was bought about 10 years ago. The Sears Craftsman angle vise (made by Palmgren) is much older.
Attachments
405 Palmgren Older Style Heavy Duty 6 Inch Machinist's Swivel Base Vise.jpg
404 Sears Craftsman (Palmgren made) 2.5 Inch Swivel Base Angle Vise.jpg

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Carrdo
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Re: Rockwell 21-800 Mill Vise Made by Palmgren

Post by Carrdo » Sat May 11, 2019 9:45 am

To continue on with my last post, the biggest problem with all of us home shop types (in my experience) is we push our end mills way beyond the point where they should be re-sharpened as we do not have the proper sharpening equipment to properly sharpen our end mills. I use mainly HSS end mills, both new and used, so I will talk about them mostly.

I cannot operate in my home shop without having very sharp end mills. I believe, from my experience, that 75% of our milling machine problems would disappear if we used sharp HSS cutters. An end mill, once it starts to become even a little bit dull will rapidly degrade in its performance. And a dull end mill will only increase the cutting force on the milling machine spindle dramatically, will result in a very poor surface finish and we will risk destroying the end mill cutting edges, the work and cause the milling machine spindle to "chatter" in an extreme case.

By industry standards, in our home shops, we all are using very light machines (even a manual Bridgeport milling machine is now considered a "light " machine), so everything we can do to reduce the cutting forces the machine sees is of great benefit to us.

And we do not need to have a $ 5-10K tool and cutter grinder or even a Quorn in our workshops to keep our end mills in top sharp condition.

We do though need to have a good quality bench grinder to start with.

I have no interest in the publication I am going to recommend but on Amazon.com one can purchase, for a very reasonable price, the book "Tool and Cutter Sharpening" for home machinists by Harold Hall. I have the revised and updated publication. In it he describes the necessary advanced tool rest and other fixtures needed to accomplish the above on a simple (but well made) bench grinder. He gives excellent detailed instructions and very clear drawings of all of the fixtures he uses to sharpen his own end mills. The fixture parts have to be well made but they are not difficult to produce using standard machining techniques.

My only comment is the standard aluminum oxide grinding wheels he recommends should only be used for HSS end mill sharpening and for no other purpose. For carbide end mills, all of the above applies also but using CBN or diamond wheels (which are not cheap) so again, dedicate them to sharpening carbide only. And do not use a diamond wheel to grind any ordinary (alloy) steel.

That's it.

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