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Vacuum Vise Won't Stay Put


#1

Anyone else have problems getting vacuum vises to stay put ? Mine
will clamp down initially to the point where I could lift my desk off
the floor by grabbing the vise, but a few minutes later it’s loose. I
use it for stone setting, and I work on a small formica topped desk
which I use exclusively for stone sorting and setting, just for
"clean" work. If anyone has a little trick to get the danged thing to
stay put, I’d like to hear it. It’s not a cheapo vise, it’s one of
the better quality models.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#2

Try wetting the edge of the vacuum cup. It will help fill the
imperfections between the rubber and the counter top and slow the
flow air in.

What you wet the seal with effects the leak rate (loss of vacuum).
Water (or spit) is the easiest and cleanest. Vasoline or light grease
will give a better seal with more mess. The vacuum industry uses
silicone based grease, nice but expensive. What ever you use make
sure it won’t attack or degrade the vacuum cup rubber.

Norman Buck
Howling Studios


#3

Hi Brian

Anyone else have problems getting vacuum vises to stay put ? Mine
will clamp down initially to the point where I could lift my desk
off the floor by grabbing the vise, but a few minutes later it's
loose. 

Yeah, I have this same problem. I was going to get a new vise, but
first, I was going to try clamping it down a different way.
Formerly, I had it attached down to a ceramic tile, but I’m thinking
that, if the surface was absolutely flat, the vise would vacuum down
better. Is the formica top on your desk rippling or anything over
time? I’m thinking tiny gaps in the suction (from a surface that is
not 100% flat) will cause the suction to let go after a short time?

Good Luck and let me know how you make out…maybe I won’t have to
buy a new vise

Kim


#4

The problem is with the vacuum vises they all share the small
problem no matter what you payed for it. They loose the suction if
they are ant scratches no matter how slight in the surface of the
attachment area. You can try water on the cup before you put it in
place. Or I have used Cooking type oil or baby oil on the cups of
suction items. Like the car top carriers of old. It will seal the
smallest scratches so the vacuum is maintained till you are
finished. Always clean the oil of after use, as it can affect so
rubbers that are used in the cups manufacture.

Been there, done that Dropped the glass table top when the vacuum
cups slipped!

glen


#5

Brain,

You could try this; start by cleaning the area well, then with a
heat gun, metal some carving wax on the area you want to use the vise
on, just a thin layer. When it cools scrap off the excess with a
putty knife. Buff any remaining wax with a heavy cloth. I think this
would work. Formica usually has a very slight texture, even when it
feels smooth. If you see a texture as it is I think you should sand
the area a little first. I have used the carving wax before because
when hot it flows well into every crevasse but is hard and durable. A
more permanent solution would be urethane first, then wax.

Daniel Culver


#6

Daniel,

I found a simpler method. Remembering those suncatchers that my wife
sticks on the windows with suction cups and water, I just wet the
bottom of the vacuum membrane, and the vise stuck fast, at least long
enough for a good setting session. Wow ! Dummkopf !!! Why didn’t I
think of that before ? :slight_smile:

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#7

Kim,

I found the trick. Just wet the bottom of the vise before you stick
it down. It will hold much longer. The other thing would be to attach
it to a marble tile, or a piece of formica glued to plywood, but the
water worked for me.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#8

Hi Brian,

I probably have the same annoying vacuum vise you have. On my
workbench top mine also gets decent suction initially, but then it
comes up seemingly when I’m right in the middle of something.

I have meticulously cleaned the bottom of it and tested it on a
variety of other surfaces–from my workbench top (which is a Sears
Craftsman workbench with a smooth “treated medium density fiber board
surface”), to my bathtub floor, on one of my granite kitchen counter
tops, and on other spots. Of course it works in the tub, in the
kitchen, and on the hood of my Volvo, but I don’t plan on doing any
work from any of those locations. As a matter of fact, I almost
couldn’t get the stupid thing off the kitchen counter after I’d
finished testing there.

I went back and re-researched the vise, and what I found was the
same thing I knew before purchasing it: The vise is supposed to stick
to any.“smooth, clean, nonporous surface.” My background is physics,
not chemistry, so I’m not quite sure about the make-up of the sealant
used on my particular bench or its resulting porosity, but whatever
it is, the surface is evidently still much too porous to maintain the
necessary suction to successfully keep the vise in place. -I should
have known better.

I’ve stopped using the vise unless I’m doing something like holding
a scriber to shape links for chains-it’s handy then because it’s at
the level I need it to be, and I can move it anywhere I want on my
workbench.

Since it’s going to turn out to be more convenient for me to draw my
own wire, I’m just going to invest in something heavy duty and suck
this one up as I am well beyond the return date. The vacuum vise
seems to be too much of a pain to deal with based on some of the
other comments I saw. If you’re still within the return deadline from
when you bought it, I say send it back and get something more
reliable that you KNOW works for your bench (i.e., screws and
clamps!)…

I’d wanted to ask this question for a while, but decided not to
since I have to get a different one anyway. Thanks for bringing it
up!

Tamra Gentry


#9

Can someone please tell me why they use a vacuum vise? is it lack of
bench space?

Sam Trump.


#10
Since it's going to turn out to be more convenient for me to
draw my own wire, I'm just going to invest in something heavy duty
and suck this one up as I am well beyond the return date. The
vacuum vise 

We use a 6" bench vise mounted with 3/8" bolts for drawing wire, and
many, many other things. You really could hurt yourself using a
vacuum vise (as you point out). I have no use for vacuum vises - I
have a couple with a screw clamp that are smaller, when I need that.
But you could try using a small sheet of plexiglass or tempered
glass. Also try wetting the rubber and the surface…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11

Daniel, what does “metal some carving wax on the area you want to
use vise on” mean? Do you really mean Melt?

Thanks…


#12

Hi Sam

Can someone please tell me why they use a vacuum vise? is it lack
of bench space? 

More like lack of experience. With not a lot of working capital to
start out with, I saw this handy-looking little vise that I could
(theoretically) work with anywhere I had a flat surface…and it
had a little price tag as well. Sometimes, I think I am getting
something really nifty and I find out later that it’s a nifty idea
without a use. Back to the drawing board

Kim

p.s. I did pick up a truly useful tree stump from my neighbor. It was
free and now my neighbor really knows how weird I am because I was
like a little kid at Christmas when he said I could have it.


#13

John,

No problem, I use the vise only for setting stones, never for any
operation that requires stress such as drawing wire. That is done on
a bench-mounted vise.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#14

Sam

I have found that as with a lot of tools and widgets. Its the
advertising suggestion. And our minds way of picking the easy/first
thing that we thing will work. They look so good and the written
description makes you want to believe!

the holding power(only under ideal conditions) to the work surfaces.
The bench space not wasted(a false sense of space saving) Having
more benches piled with stuff that should have could have been put
away. And economy(because they are cheaper than the bolt downs. After
45 years in all manner of shops, studios and fabricating area’s I
should know better but still get suckered in for stuff. Cold heat
soldering iron, Tip broke with in 3 minutes of the first time I
started using it, new from radio shack 9.95. Still looking for some
one living under a rock to buy it.

A vise with only the clamping part bolted to the bench made by vise
grip a couple of years ago was touted as the greatest thing since
sliced bread and bottled milk. It would have been a great idea if it
would have only worked. for large, off sized items. Would release at
any time it felt like it. would not secure the item if it held, due
to the composite plastic used in it make up. Plus they never seemed
to carry thru with all the stuff they had planned to make the vise
the most important tool in the shop.

I will say that the vacuum vises have a place if you need a light
hold on something in an area that you can’t have a bolt or clamp on
vise. I had a 2 inch vacuum vise that I used for model making, I will
say that the clamp on vises are much better at holding things and
clamped to a bench or table.

If you want to protect the table top cut a strip of cardboard, sheet
felt( furniture slides) or rubber sheet material and glue it to the
clamp and bottom of the vise.

I have a number of sizes of the clamp ons and they work good. I had
one that was mounted on a trailer hitch mount that went in to the
receiver on the truck. It worked good out at places when you didn’t
have a third arm to hold things.

Bottom line is that alot of stuff looks good in the package but
doesn’t work out well when the wrapper comes off.

Sort of like book covers, music covers, video covers and software.
When you can only make a decision only on what you can see and read,
you probably will be dissapointed.

glen
been there, bought that, and do ya wa na buy it!


#15

I use one because I use a small desk for doing “clean” work such as
sorting and setting stones. Sometimes I want the vise in front of me
to set stones, sometimes I clear the decks to look over my hoard. I
can also take it with me when I travel, like tomorrow, when I’m going
to our place in Myrtle Beach for two weeks. I’ll take the vise, some
stones and settings and get some things done while I’m gone.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#16

Daniel,

Can you discard the rubber part of the base, drill holes in the metal
part and bolt it to a piece of wood? I have a Pana-vise (Not a vacuum
base one) mounted on a piece of wood and take it to workshops. 2
C-clamps attach it to a tabletop for students to use. I checked the
Pana-vise websaite and they offer a “lifetime” warranty. If it is a
Pana-vise maybe you should talk to them.

Cheers,
Karen


#17
The bench space not wasted(a false sense of space saving) Having
more benches piled with stuff that should have could have been put
away. And economy(because they are cheaper than the bolt downs.
After 

It’s not a matter of being cheaper. The vacuum vise is simply
portable ! Don’t think of it as a work-horse bench vise that has to
be bolted down for eternity. It has a usefulness of its own, in my
case simply to hold settings that I can rotate all over the place
while working. And, I can take it with me when I travel.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


#18

I also have an old vacuum vise that also doesn’t clamp down any
more. The rubber base has lost its plasticizer or just oxidized so it
is not flexible any more. It is just the way suction cups get. It
seemed a good idea at the time, but wasn’t.

I have several small vises generally with 4 inch wide jaws - They are
from HF and cost $15 to $20 on sale. I have these fastened to a
square or 12 inch circle of plywood. The ones on the squares have a
1/2 inch floor flange with a piece of vertical pipe that can hold a
Foredom motor or air tool hose supply or a small sculpture size lost
wax sprue system. These are not very heavy ( to me) and stay were
they
are put well enough for most things. I even have one set up with the
vise set vertical - weird and another story.

jesse


#19

Hi Sam,

Can someone please tell me why they use a vacuum vise? is it lack
of bench space? 

I bought my vacuum vise simply because I thought that’s the type I
wanted for my setup at the time. I was happy with the thought of
being able to move it around where I wanted vs. having one mounted
permanently. I have a few other things hard-mounted to my bench and
didn’t really want to mount anything else, because I like to have as
much space as possible when I work. Additionally, my log is much
lower in height than my bench top, so I didn’t want to hard-mount a
vise there either. And, I must admit that the concept itself was just
kind of cool (I like tools, gadgets and seemingly nifty things like
the v-vise).

I knew the difference in functionality between the v-vise and the
more traditional ones when I bought it; however, I hadn’t really
planned on wanting to do things that required greater stability like
drawing wire, making jumprings by hand, etc. [–I almost got whacked
in the face by the vise as it lost its initial suction and flew off
the bench while I was winding wire for larger-diameter jumprings. As
a result, I declared war on the thing…probably more so out of
wounded pride than anything else.]

It’s not a bad product, really, but for me personally, it’s just not
the best fit. Would’ve saved time, effort, and a few swear words
along with the negative energy that accompanies them if I’d just
gotten the traditional one to begin with. ;->

Tamra Gentry


#20

I haven’t been following this thread closely but I remember
wondering, when I first saw it, what use a vacuum vise would be. I
had a small one, years ago – totally useless, especially since I
don’t make tiny things. Now I use a portable bench vise. It screws in
place with its own built-in C-clamp. I attach it to one of those
flat-top wooden bar-stools, and I can put my foot on the stool rungs
to brace it if I’m twisting wire or something like that. It’s useful
for lots of other things, too, and I can trek it around to my classes
when I’m teaching. I love it! I bought it years ago at some tool
supply place for about the same price as the version which Rio sells
(“clamp-on bench vise”).

Judy Bjorkman