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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking > General MetalWork Discussion > Need some advise on an efficient way to get stock level in a vise
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Question Need some advise on an efficient way to get stock level in a vise

    All of the machining I do involves machining both sides of my work piece, so my normal work flow is to get my aluminum bar stock faced off on the edges so that I can get my stock as close to the exact size as possible so that when I flip the part over to do the other side that everything lines up correctly on my holes ( the finished piece also has machined hinges, so this is another reason for precise stock size )

    Normally my stock is in the 3 1/2 x 10 inch long x 1 inch thick range, so the piece is clamped into two vises that sit side by side.

    The problem I'm having is trying to get my stock level in my vise before I run my facing operation to shave off the edges to get my stock an exact width.

    it's taking a ton of time to get the pieces perfectly level in the vise for each piece.

    Today, I had the idea of laying the bar stock right down on the inside base of the vise ( in other words not in the soft jaws, but on the bottom base of the vise )
    So I took a 1/2 " end mill and skimmed off just enough across both vises thinking that this would give me a perfectly flat surface for my stock to sit on before tightening up the vise.
    ( it was a good thought in theory.... but still didn't give me perfectly level stock in the vise )

    So what I'm doing now is just using a dial on both ends before I really tighten up the vise, and gently bumping the stock up or down till it's level.

    Just curious if there is a quicker way to do this?

    On a side note, I do have to admit that I'm not using the most expensive vises in the world.... so that may be my problem.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions...


  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Re: Need some advise on an efficient way to get stock level in a vise

    Normally if you machine soft jaws in place they fine. I normally load them with a piece of bar stock clamped in the vice below where I am machining them. Using parallels is another option, just stick a piece of paper on top of the parallels at each corner, then tighten the vice, smack the stock with a dead blow hammer as needed to get the stock seated on the parallels. If the paper is tight, it's seated.

    If you have any bolt holes in your finished part, then bolting it down to a fixture plate is my prefered method. Clamping to a fixture plate with a Mighty Bite style clamping system or just toe clamps works well also.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Need some advise on an efficient way to get stock level in a vise

    You could be getting jaw lift if its a cheap vise, or you're clamping above the jaw plate line (taller jaws than the jaw plate) which can cause jaw lift as well. Using a torque wrench to get repeatable clamping pressure might help also.

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