Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Drill press or machinist vises


#1

Hello, folks. What are the best quality drill press vises or
machinist vises on the market in a decent price range? I’ve purchased
a couple of cheap ones, and have got what I paid for. When I attempt
to tighten the vise, the moving piece raises up and pushes the item
that I am attempting to hold up slightly. This makes it impossible to
get a super straight and precise hole drilled.

Please give me the brands of your favorite drill press/machinist
vises that provide for very accurate and straight drilling. It would
help if the vises are equipped for drilling tubes too, as I drill
some pretty small (2mm to 5 mm) tubes to tube set faceted round
stones.

Thanks.


#2
Please give me the brands of your favorite drill press/machinist
vises that provide for very accurate and straight drilling. It
would help if the vises are equipped for drilling tubes too, as I
drill some pretty small (2mm to 5 mm) tubes to tube set faceted
round stones. 

I use a lathe (unimat 3) and 3 jaw chuck to drill tubes for setting.
I sometimes cut a step into the other end of the bezel tube and press
fit the bezel into a hole in the piece that I am making.


#3

Thanks, Rick. Could you please explain that process in more detail.
I’m not exactly sure what you do and how you do it, and I’d like to
try it.

For example, what do you mean by press fitting the bezel into a hole
in the piece you are making?


#4
brands of your favorite drill press/machinist vises that provide
for very accurate and straight drilling. It would help if the vises
are equipped for drilling tubes too

Don’t remember the OPs name - saw this Sunday when I’m home on
dialup. ~ I’m not a vise expert, first~

Kurt and Wilton make the best machinist vises - Palmgren is probably
next, for American made. Kurt makes $5,000 vises… What you need
more than the brand is the type, though. I went to use-enco
[ http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/aq ] They’re not the best, but
they’re accessible. Vises start on page 460 (search “vise”, of
course) On page 472 there are two interesting vises. One is high
precision - the screwless toolmakes vise. They are made from one
piece of steel and the movable jaw tends to push ~down~ when
tightened. There’s two problems with those on a drill press. First is
that they are intended to be mounted on the table of a milling
machine with mounting clamps. There are no screw holes. That can be
done… The second is partly the same reason - you can have a hell
of a time getting theose truy centered, as they are intended for use
with the x-y of the milling table. The other is on the same page -
cross slide vises, which mimic the motion of a milling machine table.
If you get one of those, get the best you can afford. They need to be
tight, as the higher you get off your table, the less rigid
everything becomes.

I have 5-6 vises, though I only use a couple or 3 The screwless
vises are really nice, and I have a standard (like pages 461- 462)
vise that does most everything else…


#5
I have 5-6 vises, though I only use a couple or 3 The screwless
vises are really nice, and I have a standard (like pages 461- 462)
vise that does most everything else.... 

Thanks for the reply. Do you have any experience with drill press
vises where the grips don’t move up or down when tightened strongly?
All of my cheap vises move when I tighten them, and that causes the
piece to move. As a result, the hole is never exactly dead center
all the way deep.

I don’t have a big budget to spend $500 or more on a 4" drill press
vise. But I do need something that will allow for precise drilling,
as I often work with very small stones where the hole can’t be off.
Thanks.


#6
Do you have any experience with drill press vises where the grips
don't move up or down when tightened strongly? All of my cheap
vises move when I tighten them, and that causes the piece to move.
As a result, the hole is never exactly dead center all the way
deep. 

Kurt Vises are the way to go. The down side, they are not cheap.
Look on ebay for deals on slightly used ones.

The other thing you might look at is your drill press. Unfortunately
precision does come at a price, and most off the shelf drill presses
are not precision instruments.

Good luck,
P@
www.patpruitt.com


#7
Do you have any experience with drill press vises where the grips
don't move up or down when tightened strongly? 

Well, yes and no, John. First off, I’m a sort-of experienced
machinist, but I’m far from “A Machinist”. Some thoughts…

One Rick said he uses a Unimat lathe to do what you are doing. The
latheis the proper machine to use for what you want - turning on
center. Sorry if you don’t have one, but it’s the truth.

Unless you have a precision drill press, it’s really not geared for
the precision you’re talking about, either. Your typical hardware
store drill press is for drilling 1/4" holes in kitchen cabinets.
Some of what you are dealing with is no doubt “run out”, which is
the amount that the spindle wobbles off-center as it spins. IOW, the
tool isn’t spinning right on-center to begin with. Plus it can be a
real ordeal getting some tiny part centered under the bit to begin
with.

I have a 4" bench vise - the kind plumbers and everyone uses. I can
grab the moveable jaw and rattle it back and forth a fair amount.
It’s just this steel post with a screw moving through it. My milling
machine vises don’t move a bit. There’s a certain clearance, or the
jaws wouldn’t move, but it’s tiny and the joints are tight. And mine
are Taiwan, BTW…If you can push on your movable jaw, not under
load, and move it even a tiny bit, then there’s your problem right
there.

I can think of three solutions (not counting buying better
machinery). 1) Buy a better vise. 2) Buy something like a
toolmaker’s vise and mount it in YOUR vise, which I would think will
give some improvement. I have a 1" screwless vise little bigger than
a matchbook that cost me under $50, for instance.

  1. Make a jig. One thing I could envision would be two plates of
    metal (steel). Generically, clamp them together “perfectly”, drill
    them through in two places, tap one plate and put through holes on
    the other. So they can be screwed together, you see. Screw them
    shut, mount them on your table and drill down the seam, creating a
    tubing-holding spot. Problem with that is with all jigs - if it’s
    crooked then everything will be crooked. But it’s one way - it
    doesn’t always have to be a vise. Doing the above and then milling
    the bottom of it flat would be the best way, but not on a drill
    press.

#8

For getting concentric seats for stones in round wire or tubing a
small lathe is a great tool. I have also used a #30 handpiece
attached to a flex shaft in a similar way to cut the seat in small
diameter tubing.

To answer your second question, I sometimes step down the outside of
the bezel tube and drill a same size hole in the jewelry piece that
I am making. I usually solder the tube from the back side, which
makes for a very clean joint. I make the step slightly longer than
the metal thickness. I’ve used this process to attach bezels
mechanically as well to drilled gem stones, or metals like niobium,
that cannot be soldered.


#9
As a result, the hole is never exactly dead center all the way
deep. 

Thought of part 2, after I wrote part 1. John you also need to square
your machine, if you haven’t thought of it already. On a mill that’s
called “tramming”, which you can Google. That doesn’t mean lining up
the marks on the side, it means actually squaring it so the spindle
axis is dead-square to the table and even the vise. If you’re not
going to truly tram it at least use a square. Highly recommended is
to use a machinist’s square (cheap on Ebay). Last resort and almost
useless would be a tri-square. Put a large drill bit into the chuck
(drill bits are turned and ground) and check for square all
around… Do it often.


#10

Here are a couple of small, precision milling vices, which are
themselves milled on every surface:

Proxxon precision vise, small (suit MF 70, KT 70)
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/b1

Proxxon precision vise, large (suit PF/FF 230, PF/FF 400)
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/b0

You can mount them any-which-way because they are truly squared all
over. In each case, the rear fixed jaw which is an integral part of
the vise frame, is vee-grooved to align the workpiece.

Mark B


#11

I really wish there was a diagram function where you could you could
show me that process because then I could REALLY get what you are
saying. Your explanation is very good. But I am much better with
visuals. And I’m not super hip to the lingo yet, so seeing it really
drives the point home to me.

For instance, how do you “step down the outside of the bezel tube”?
What equipment do you use for that? Is it a lathe because I don’t
have one?

If it is a lathe, do you know if I can find one for a reasonable
price, and what brand/model should I look for?

What is the soldering process? You say “from the back side”, but how
do you do it that way? Do you apply solder to the bezel tube first
then heat from underneath? Or do you just heat from underneath and
then touch it with wire solder? Where do you apply the solder in
order to hide it best?

Finally, you speak of “mechanically” attaching it to metals that you
can’t solder like niobium. What is the process there? Do you just
wedge it in as tight as it will go so that it doesn’t fall out?

Thanks a lot, Rick.


#12

A difficult one this. Firstly for small stones, after careful
marking out and center punching I would mainly use my flexy shaft
drill, well lubricated and hand held. Practice, practice…

I also have a minute precision drill with a variable speed foot
control and a small vise which I also use. The vise is not locked to
the drill table and is hand held on the drill table.

So many problems can be solved with: marking out, center punching,
speed control, frequent lubrication, and drilling, first with a
small drill bit, say 0.8mm then larger drill bits or jewellers burrs
again lubricated often. Sharpen drill bits with a diamond lap, Ezi
lap, fine, on red handle. Lots of light and magnifying goggles.

Hope this helps.
jewellerydavidcruickshank.com.au


#13
Kurt Vises are the way to go. The down side, they are not cheap.
Look on ebay for deals on slightly used ones. 

Arguing with Pat that the best is the way to go is foolish, fruitless
and idiotic, because it’s true. I’d suggest that buying a vise that
costs more than your drill press is a bit of overkill, though. Plus
the precision of the vise will exceed that of your press by 1000
times. There’s a 2.5 inch (width of jaws) toolmaker’s vise in front
of me on Ebay for $38.90 + $12 shipping, right now. Be aware that you
simply ~can’t~ do 2mm tubing work on a 6 inch vise. You need to scale
the vise to the work. Ah, another: 2", $29.50… One inch (3" total
length, cute little thang…) $27.99+8.99. Shop around, then spring
for a lathe, LOL…


#14

Stepping down the outside diameter of a tube involves using a file or
cutting bit in the lathe or handpiece. I suggest buying or borrowing
a book such as Tabletop Machining by Joe Martin, producer of the
Sherline lathe and milling machine. It is excellent, and has lots of
images. The Taig lathe is probably the least expensive small lathe on
the market. The Sherline is a bit more expensive, but has a very
large range of accessories, useful for clock making and advanced
model making.

I’m not a fan of wire solder, I cut tiny pieces of sheet solder.
Again, I’ll suggest a book, required for the kids I’ve mentored: Tim
McCreigh’s The Complete Metalsmith, to help you visualize processes
such as soldering techniques or flaring a piece of tubing to make a
mechanical joint.


#15
Arguing with Pat that the best is the way to go is foolish,
fruitless and idiotic, because it's true. 

HAHA…im only human… :wink:

There's a 2.5 inch (width of jaws) toolmaker's vise in front of me
on Ebay for $38.90 + $12 shipping, right now. 

Keep in mind, that tool makers vises are designed to be held in
place by an even larger vise. It is a means to clamp the part once
and do mulitiple operations on the part. That is the reason they are
made so square. That being said, if you can find a way to hold the
vise down to the table, then its good to go.

Like others stated, it would be good to post some photos of what you
are trying to do to get the best recomendation.

P@
www.patpruitt.com


#16
If it is a lathe, do you know if I can find one for a reasonable
price, and what brand/model should I look for? 

The cheapest lathe I’ve had was the afore-mentioned Unimat 3. Many
people swear by them, Personally, I hated it and sold it eventually.
I was trained on a Southbend, which spoiled me :slight_smile: That’s like $500
with some essential tooling (educated guess - haven’t looked it up).
Beyond that they quickly go to $750/$1200/$12,000. You can scour
Ebay but everybody is looking for small, cheap lathes and there’s
not so many to be had. You could be the lucky one. My 7" import cost
me around $1350 with base and shipping, and it works pretty well for
me. Not going to rebuild any crankshafts on it…

Workholding… You might consider temporary soldering. Solder your
tubes onto square, milled stock, Then you can mount the square into
the vise, do your thing and then unsolder. Makes it easy, sometimes.
You use steel parallels to block things up in the vise - in your
case you could probably get by with stock brass strips or the like.
I say stock so it’s fairly truly parallel, not handmade parallel.
Common practice, really.


#17
that tool makers vises are designed to be held in place by an even
larger vise. It is a means to clamp the part once and do multiple
operations on the part. 

Some of the larger ones can be clamped - some have slots along the
sides for that purpose. Which isn’t an argument either. In a generic
sense on this topic, one of the problems with drill presses is that
darn table with all those strange, (relatively) sloppy holes punched
in it. A milling table has T-slots more-or-less precision milled down
the whole length, allowing you to use a ~huge~ variety of clamping
methods to get your work just exactly in-line with the spindle. Just
saying it for the sake of discussion…The nature of the beast and
all that.


#18

Here is another source for good machine tools at a reasonable
price… including lathes and vises. I have purchased several or
their products and they perform well. My old dremel hooked to an old
sears drill press and used with the XY table and vise makes a good
cheap milling machine.

Micro-Mark
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/bk

Thew supply model makers and railroad enthusiests but they have a
wide variety od small scale power tools that cross the barrier to
metals/jewelry.

My foredoom and a block of 3/4 ‘’ acrylic make a very good wax
turning lathe.

Ben


#19
Micro-Mark 
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/bk

Bem reminds me I was going to post this today. Micromark is a cool
place- I get their catalog, though I’ve never bought from them.
Maybe a bit more useful to this thread is Little Machine Shop. They
cater to the small machinist - Taig lathes and a bit larger, and also
the small mills. Workholding, tooling, toolholding, precision tools,
spare parts. I’ve used them quite a lot over the years.

littlemachineshop
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/bo


#20

Unfortunately, it is not a catalog that is fit for a tool junkie like
myself. They have some of the coolest tools that I have bought just
because I “might” need it someday. :slight_smile: Their prices seem fair, their
shipping is good, and I have never had a problem with returns…Teddy