A vice, more commonly known as the vise, is a device used for holding workpieces for machining. Vice is usually attached to a workbench, or a desktop, which is constructed with two parallel jaws to clamp the workpiece in place. The construction of a free vise is quite different from the standard vise, however.
The free vise is essentially a versatile two-piece device. The distinguishing feature of a free vise is that the two jaws separate from one another, and that is why this kind of vise also gets the name of the split vise. A vise with a two-piece model generally has an I-beam design and steel construction that ensures reliable clamping and long service life. With a simple turn of the handle, tons of pressure is generated to clamp the workpiece.
Vises are without a doubt useful for industrial applications requiring the strength to hold large and long workpieces or parts in a range of sizes.
Some of the specifications you will see in a free vise include the dimension of jaws, the machine dimension as a whole, the unit for clamp travel, the distance between fixing slots, etc. The jaw width of a vise generally falls between 6 to 8 inches; the jaw depth usually ranges from 2 inches to 4 inches; the machine weight typically ranges from 30 to 40 pounds. The overall width ranges from around 7 to 9 inches, and the height ranges from about 3 to 5 inches.
Though a vise does not seem to be large enough to take up too much space, please keep in mind that a vise is designed with split jaws that can repel apart far enough to hold an exceptionally long material, thereby taking up more bench space than you would have expected. Therefore, it is suggested that you take the bench size and the intended workpiece into account when choosing a vise that is best suited for your line of work.
A vise is more of a traditional clamping machine that has been around for decades. Despite its long existence, it still has its uses and advantages. In terms of applications, a vise is exceptionally ideal for clamping extra-long objects and parts. The capability of utilizing the full length of the worktable and the machine itself is the most distinguishing feature of a free vise.
In terms of the features, a vise is incredibly easy to set up; the jaws are mounted onto the table slots for accuracy in the set-up. In terms of the material, vises are made of high quality cast iron with hardened and ground jaws. The strong iron-casting ensures the durability and the longevity of the machine and does not easily rust when working with water coolant. Moreover, the thrust bearing in the power transmission allows bench operation to proceed efficiently. The grooved jaw inserts are removable as well, which ensures accuracy and repeatability.
When clamping, the workpiece is placed directly on the bed for extra rigidity. Often, a quarter turns on the detachable handle clamps the workpiece hard enough for heavier duty work. In a nutshell, a free vise gets its name because it can machine heavy, large and long objects.
In this section, some warnings are provided as follows to ensure safe operation with a free vise:
● Although a free vise is designed to have split jaws that can be pulled apart for a substantial distance, do not attempt to widen those jaws more than they are meant to.
● It does not matter what kind of vise or project you are working with, do not start an operation without safety goggles on. Any place that involves machining will always pose a potential hazard for those in the area.
● Since you will most likely be working with a long piece of an object, do not over tighten the workpiece more than it is needed because it could potentially break the long workpiece.
● Do not be stingy about replacing any part of the vise if you notice fractures or any form of damage on them. The expense of maintaining a mechanical instrument will always justify your safety concerns.
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