I spend too much time in my workshop on my knees looking for a small piece I have sawn in my vise, and it fell to the floor, into debris around my vise, or into a partially open drawer under my bench. (See the second photo.) I have wanted something to catch small pieces of steel that separate from the stock in my vise. This Instructable will show how to copy what I made.
- 1/8 x 1/2 inch steel bar
- Sheet aluminum from an old license plate
- Pop rivets
- Marking pen
- Pair of pliers
- Tin shears
- Pop riveter
- Wire feed welder
- Spring clamps
Step 1: Paper Pattern
I made a circle 4 inches in diameter on a piece of scrap paper and cut it out. I removed a wedge about 80 degrees wide (2 1/4 inches between corners). I transferred the paper pattern to the back of an old license plate.
Step 2: Cut Aluminum
When I cut the aluminum to fit the pattern I transferred to the back of the old license plate I left 1/2 inch extra on one side of the missing wedge. This will make an overlap so I can make a cone and use pop rivets to hold it in place.
Step 3: Shape the Cone
I bent the aluminum between my thumbs and first fingers a little at a time as I went around the piece to shape it into a cone. I used a pair of pliers to raise the overlap area a little. I chose a cone rather than a box because there is less chance a small part might bounce out of a cone.
Step 4: Bend Bar Stock
I put a piece of 1/8 x 1/2 steel bar in the vise and held the aluminum cone so the top is roughly parallel to the vise jaws. I bent the bar to fit the side of the cone.
Step 5: Drill the Bar
I drilled two holes in the bent portion of the bar for pop rivets.
Step 6: Fit to the Vise
The first photo shows sawing the steel bar after it has been bent to fit the far side of the vise member that encases the jack screw.
The second photo shows welding a piece parallel to the bent section.
Step 7: Drill for the First Pop Rivet
I pulled the sides of the cone together and clamped them so they could not move. I drilled for a 3/16 inch pop rivet long enough to go through two layers of aluminum and one piece of 1/8 inch steel bar.
Step 8: The Second Pop Rivet
After the first pop rivet is secure, position and bend the cone as necessary. Drill for the second pop rivet. Install the second pop rivet.
Step 9: Midcourse Correction
I found the vise jaws would not close sufficiently to hold some of the small rods I may want to saw. I decided to make my catch cone raise up to catch the notches under the jaws. See the text box in the first photo.
I found I needed to add a 7/16 inch spacer to hold my catch cone so the notches under the jaws would fit around the steel bar. I also ground away a bit of the corner bend to fit the notches better.
Step 10: How It Works
Position the steel bar over the part of the vise connecting the jaws and close the vise on your work. The second photo shows a short piece of steel rod I have sawn off and it fell into the aluminum cone. I will not spend time on my knees looking for it.
The third photo shows how completely the jaws of my vise close with the catch cone in place.
Not all have access to a welder. Other things, even wire from a coat hanger, could be fitted to hold the cone. I thought about using magnets to hold a short bar to the side of the vise.