Picture of How to Square a Vise (the easy way)

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
A Mill
A Vise
Vise Nuts and Bolts
A Rubber Mallet (Or piece of wood.  Or your hand.  Just something softer than the vise)
Dial Test Indicator
Shop Towel
And a collet (that fits the dial test indicator)

If, like me, you're not lucky to own all this equipment, you can get all of this and more with a TechShop membership!(http://techshop.ws) (I made it at the TechShop)

Step 2: Clean Everything

Picture of Clean Everything
Take a shop towel and wipe down the table bed.  Errant chips will throw off flatness and may mar the table or vise surface.  If the vise is going to be in position for a long time, coat the table with a little oil to prevent rusting.  Clean the bottom of the vise with a shop towel and place vise on table.  Put t-slot nuts and bolts in position, but leave them loose.

Step 3: Roughly Square the Vise

Picture of Roughly Square the Vise
With both hands, slide the vise toward and away from you to get a sense of it's range of motion.  Try to center the vise within its range of motion. If one side hits maximum during adjustment, you'll have reset and start over.  To save time during adjustment, use symmetric features on the vise to roughly square the vise with the t-slots.

Step 4:

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Snug the t-slot bolt on the left side of the vise.  A good feel for snug only comes with practice, but try turning the bolt until you feel the table and vise make contact, then maybe a quarter turn more.  We want it snug enough that the vise doesn't slide, but not so tight the vise can't rotate slightly when we tap it with the hammer.  The closer your initial alignment, the tighter you can secure this bolt initially. Tighten the right bolt so the table and vise just make contact, plus maybe a 1/16 turn.  We want the left side mostly fixed, with the right side just loose enough that it'll allow the vise to rotate with a firm tap.
baudeagle5 months ago

I think that it is important to note. You squared the vice using the fixed jaw instead of the movable jaw. I think that you probably did this intentionally, it is better to measure against the fix jaw when possible to remove errors due the slop that is inherent with the movable jaw.

anasdad2 years ago
Great job! Thanks for posting it! This has been a task that I've put off for a while but I just finished doing my Bridgeport. Beware of amateurs with a Bridgeport!
Thanks again,.
caseygibs2 years ago
That's a dead blow hammer i believe, do you recommend that over a rubber mallet? Does it really matter?
hardj0092 years ago
good instructable. im an aprentice in a machine shop. ( i have to square up the vices all the time) i can now do it with 2 taps ofthe mallet :) . I have been told that you shouldent dial in the fixed jaw. instead you should put a parrelel in the vice prowd of the jaws lock the vice down so that it is clamping with alot of pressure. and use the stylus on the parralel. this is because the fixed jaw can have a tendency to move. "you always set up everything in the way its going to be used" Eg clamping . ( this isnt suposed to sound agressive ) :)
jtinst (author)  hardj0092 years ago
Not aggressive at all. Sounds like a fine idea, especially if you have a beat up vise. Thanks!
studleylee2 years ago
Nice! thanks.