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
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
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.
- 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