Self Centering Vices

What is a Self Centering Vice?

If you happen to drill a lot of pen blanks or other work pieces which requires constant and repetitive drilling to the center, self centering vices will make these tasks a lot easier. Self centering vices are used to clamp and hold work pieces which are otherwise difficult to hold by a standard table vice or double sided engraving tape. A self centering vice is designed to hold medallions, pens notary seals and many other objects. It is also able to hold and engrave asymmetrical objects using clamps, jaws and pins.


Self Centering Vices vs Standard Vices

A stand vice is a mechanical tool used to secure a work piece as bench work is performed. Vices generally have two parallel jaws with one being movable and the other one being fixed. Every time a different sized object is being machined, a new reference point would have to be located again.

On the other hand, a self centering vice provides superb precision for drilling, boring, tapping and finishing applications by securely holding the work piece in place as they are machined. The key difference of using a self centering vice comparing to a standard vice is that once the center of the vice is found and set to origin, work pieces of various sizes will always be lined up. This means that you will no longer need to find a new reference point every time you alter the size of the work piece for engraving and other applications. 


Operating a Self Centering Vice

First and foremost, you will need to set up your self centering vice as it is easier than you think. To start the installation, you simply put a smooth rod into the drill chuck, then close the vice on to the rod as it is captured between LH and RH V-gooves in the jaw faces. Then, fasten the vice onto your work bench on the provided mounting slots and lock the bench to the column to ensure it becomes completely stationary. Next, open the vice jaws, and they will automatically move away from the rod allowing it to be positioned in the center of the vice.

The way a self centering vice works is that the vice screws is threaded with a RH thread and LH thread. The RH jaw and the LH jaw will move towards the center until they eventually meet. In other words, they open equally from the middle position. And because of the LH and RH vice screw, your work piece will always be kept right at the center of the vice regardless of the size of the work piece. 

Now it is time to actually place your work piece on the vice for machining, and let us assume that we are going to work on a double-sided object. Once the object is placed, tighten the vice so that your work piece is held and clamped securely. Then, you start cutting the first side of the object, and once finished, loosen the jaws and turn the work piece to the other side. Next, just keeping cutting until the work is completed. Due to the fact that the jaws will come to the center as you turn the tightening knob, the object will align perfectly from side one to side two. 

When you buy a self centering vice, it will almost always come with an instructional manual. You definitely want to read the manual for the operation instruction specially tailored to your vice model and the application of work as the instruction provided above is merely meant to give you a general idea of how a self centering vice is installed and operated. 


Advantages of Self Centering Vices

You will find a self centering vice possessing quite a few distinguishing advantages as shown below:

Multi-object holding: Some self centering vices are designed to be able to hold multiple objects the same time on a single vice. This greatly reduces the time that you would have had to spend on separate projects. It practically eliminates the needs of having to change over jaws for holding different work piece. 

Accuracy and Holding Capability: A good self centering vice should be easy to set up via the use of centerline. It should have high accuracy in terms of centering your work piece for machining. Moreover, a good self centering vice should have jaws that are able to hold your work piece firmly in place. While optimizing clamping force, the work piece should never become off positioned as a result.

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