6" vise on an X2 mill?
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  1. #1
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    Default 6" vise on an X2 mill?

    Would it be overkill to put a 6" vise on an X2 mill?

    I have read that a 6" vise is recommended for clamping larger things, such as certain jigs that I am using, and my 3" vise works but the low jaws end up squeezing the bottom of the jig causing the upper part to bow outward.

    I'm pretty sure the vise would fit (perpendicularly of course, not in line with the table) so as to not interfere with the cutting tool height (I would not be using the rotating base) but I envision it to be comically large in comparison to the small table.

    What do you guys think?

    Is it worth it?

    Is it ok to have a giant vise on a small mill or are there other things I'm not thinking of?

    The vise is 16" x 8.5" x 4" btw and the table is 18" x 4.7", and the mill has 10" z-axis travel

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071K3Q3W7
    HiTorque Mini Mill | Mini Mill Machine | LittleMachineShop

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    Not recommended and you need to go back and read the forum rules on mentioning "Mini Mills' here. Sorry.

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    That's not under the forum rules actually, it is in a sticky. But I found it now. My apologies, I will keep that in mind in the future.

    This question is more about the relative size of the vise vs the table however, it need not apply to any specific mill.

    Any tips on finding the largest suitable vise size for a given machine would be appreciated. All the posts I have found are usually a guy asking if a specific size will work and other guys saying yes or no, but no real definitive rules for sizing.

    Thanks!

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    A 4" vise would be proper, but if a 5" vise is available, will work, might be a little big. I've read many threads, not here, where people try to put 6" vises on their smaller mills and realize it was a mistake.

    Ken

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    Either shim the moving jaw at the top or make new jaws that are milled 1° out of plumb. I had similar problems with two vices that I made. I at first milled aluminum jaws to see if the 1° tilt helped at all.
    Worked fine so I milled the existing jaws using a carbide endmill. The original jaws are hardened so carbide is essential. The jaw should be slightly thicker at the top. Shimming would be easier. I think two or three layers of 1/4" wide masking tape would do for shims.
    As far as the 6" vice, I do not think it will work well. Too large for your tables width.

    mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by cds333 View Post
    This question is more about the relative size of the vise vs the table however, it need not apply to any specific mill.
    I think the specific mill might well be a significant factor. From what I have seen of machines that come from Little Machine Shop, I would not consider mounting a serious vise.

    -Marty-

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    I recently faced a similar problem. But my mill is not a mini.

    Just for starters, your mill has a table that is only 4.7" deep. A six inch milling vise will be at least 8" wide and even sideways, it will stick out a LOT both front and back. And it's Y axis travel is only 5.1" so, even IF you can find a suitable mounting location, there is no way that you can even reach all of that. If you leave some space behind the work piece for an edge finder to operate, you are going to be at around 4.7" of usable Y space. A six inch vise is totally out of place here.

    When I recently purchased milling vises (I bought two identical ones, one with a swivel base) here is what I did. I made cardboard cutouts as close to the dimensions of the vises offered from their descriptions on the internet as I could manage. As I said, I have a larger mill with a 9 3/8" x 32 1/4" table with X - Y movements of 7 7/8" and 21 5/8". I was torn between the 5" and 6" vise sizes. Here is what those cardboard cutouts looked like when I placed them on the table.

    First the 5" vise size:



    In this photo I have used a rod in the mill's spindle to see where that spindle axis hits the vise. In this photo, the vise's mounting lugs are aligned with the second table slot and the spindle axis is just a little behind the fixed vise jaw so an edge finder could be easily used. When I moved the table backwards the spindle axis shifted almost to the line that represented the fully open position of the movable jaw. This told me that I could access almost all of the vise's working envelope.

    And here is the 6" vise size:



    Again I positioned the vise on the table so that the spindle axis was a bit behind the fixed jaw. But when I moved the table to it's rear most position, the spindle axis was only a bit past the center of that vise's working envelope. You can see in the photo just how far the vise would have stuck out past the front of the table. The six inch vise was clearly overkill for my mill. I would never be able to use all of it's front to back envelope and, after considering the limitations with the table slot positions and keeping the vise from hitting the vertical column, the six inch vise may have even given me a smaller working envelope.

    I found that these cardboard cutouts were very helpful in envisioning the use of the two vise sizes on the mill. I was also going to try a four inch cutout, but the five inch size seemed to work out so well, that I did not bother with that size.

    Here is the five inch vise on the mill table.



    As for the X axis (left - right) envelope, remember that I said above that I purchased TWO vises of the same model. They may not be of the same quality level as a Kurt or other US brand, but the lower price of the Shars vises allowed me to afford this. I did purchase one of the vises with the swivel base which was only a few dollars more and will provide that feature if I ever need it. But the main reason for purchasing two was so that I could mount them side by side on the table for larger work pieces. This will give me a much larger work envelope than any six inch vise could possible provide.

    One more consideration: Larger vises are larger in all three dimensions: that incluces the VERTICAL which has not been discussed above. In my experience with mills, you can run out of vertical space (under the quill) just as fast as horizontal space, perhaps even faster. A six inch vise will have a larger table-to-vise bed and table-to-vise top than smaller sizes will. This is a strong argument for the smaller sizes.

    PS: From my experience and obvious success in choosing a vise for my mill, I think that the 4" vise size may be best for your, smaller mill. I think that even the 5" vise size that I am using, is too large for a mill like yours. I encourage you to make some cutouts and see for yourself just what things are. You talk about mounting the vise sideways. I can see a lot of reasons against that. I think my two, smaller vise solution is far better than that. It provides a much larger work envelope. And that is the main reason why I choose to buy two identical vises.

    On top of that, the work reaches a certain size when the best thing to do is to remove the vise and use a clamp set to fasten the work piece directly to the table. This gives you the best possible work envelope and minimum or no loss of vertical work space.

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    You talk about seeing similar postings and guys saying this and that. I did a search and also posted one of those questions on another forum (HSM). I would provide the URL to it, but their site is undergoing new software problems at the present time and I can't presently access the site to get it. Perhaps later.

    And yes, I got a lot of do this and do that suggestions but little in real ways to make the decision. That was when I came up with the cardboard cutout idea.

    I made those cutouts with my CAD program.

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    That is an outstanding idea! I'm going to make a 3D model out of some cardboard right now. Thank you!!!

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    Do post some photos of your 3D model. And your conclusions.



    Quote Originally Posted by cds333 View Post
    That is an outstanding idea! I'm going to make a 3D model out of some cardboard right now. Thank you!!!


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