Saturday, April 21, 2012

A new toy in the shop

I have been looking for one of these for quite a while.  I finally got my hands on one this very morning!  It's a machinists vice.  One with an X-Y translation stage as an integral part of the vice.  Basically, it can turn my drill-press into a limited capacity milling machine!  Sort of a mini Bridgeport!

I actually saw this vice last week at the little flea down the hill from Wal*Mart in Lunenburg.  Unfortunately I didn't have the cash on me at the time to buy it.  I would have right then and there if I had.  Mum and I made a special trip out there again today in hopes that the vice would still be available.  As I said last week to the guy selling it "If it's meant to be it will still be here.  If not, well, ..." such is life. (or some such.  I don't remember my exact words.)  Anywho, it was still there today so I snapped it up.

It seems to be in pretty good shape.  I have no idea how old it may be or how much use it may have had over it's life so far.  I also haven't found any builder's plate or other identification as to who made it.  It does need a good cleaning, lubrication and adjustment.  That is to be expected with this type of machine tool.  I will also have to replace both cranks.

Even after it's all cleaned up I don't expect to be doing any real precision machining.  I'm not sure mild steel is really a possibility using this with my drill-press.  Aluminum and other soft metals, plastics and maybe some wood should be workable using this rig.

First I need to clean it up and get it ready for action.  Then I need to dream up some things to make with it.

This is going to be fun!


Wolfman said...

My dad has one very similar to that in his shop in MT. He has done a few mild steel projects, but its veerrrrryyyyy slow. Looks like fun though!

HerrBGone said...

Turns out that it is!

While I was puttering around in the shop a little last night I chucked up a center drill (next up on my shopping list will be an actual end mill or twelve...) and tried cutting a zigzag groove in some soft scrap wood. Just because... ;-)

It works!

It's not at all precise without proper cranks and there is quite a bit of backlash. But I think with a good cleaning and some practice using it, it will become a favorite tool. At least until I prove to myself that I use it enough to upgrade to something bigger, and more precise.