I love my PanaVise Jr. But about half the time I go to use it I find its just not wide enough to hold what I'm working on. At only a 3" opening, it only holds the smaller of my projects.

After disassembling the vise to see how I might be able to extend the opening, I discovered it was very doable. This Instructable documents how I was able to extend it to a 7¼" opening for only $7 in parts! The end result is a product that looks as good and works better than the original.

Important Notes:
  • This will make the vise more unstable since the wider it opens the more its off balance. But it works great for me, and a homemade base would solve most issues (EDIT: or one of their own bases here http://goo.gl/cKsWk).
  • The wider you make this, the more screwing you will need to due to open and close it that far.
  • You will need a tool to cut 1/4" steel rods (hacksaw/miter saw/etc)
  • You will need a grinder or dremel to make a delicate cut in one of the steel rods.

Step 1: Planning

Below are the original plans I drew up for the mod.

The parts that will need to be replaced are the two outer glide shafts, and the inner threaded rod. The new length for the replacements will obviously determine your new vise opening.

You can decide on your own vise opening size, as long as you follow these rules (ensure your own vise does match up with this):
  • The vise opening = Shaft Size - 1¾in. This accounts for the 7/8in arms on either side.
  • The threaded rod should be 3/16in longer than the glide shafts. This accommodates the threading into the knob.

I chose to use a 9in shaft, which means my vise opening will be 7¼in wide. It also means that my threaded rod needs to be 9 3/16in long.

Note: While a very wide opening is nice, because of the design of this vise it will start to tip over the wider you go with a load in it. A bigger base addition would fix this though.

Step 2: Parts

You will need the following parts:
  • 1/4in steel rod (Lowes 30302 | McMaster-Carr: 6061K101)
  • 10-24 threaded steel rod (Lowes 10305 | McMaster-Carr: 90034A410)
The Lowes version is nice because both rods come in 3ft lengths, and are cheaper than what I found at McMaster-Carr. If you go with McMaster-Carr note that I just picked some random lengths, so make sure you buy the right ones.

Step 3: Disassembly

1. Remove the plastic endcap (opposite side as the knob). I did this by simply expanding the jaws of the vise until it popped off. Save this cap as you will be re-adding it.

2. Unscrew the threaded rod all the way out, and pull the assemble apart.

3. Remove the knob from the threaded shaft. I used a pair of vise grips to hold the threaded rod while I unscrewed the knob.

4. Pull the threaded rod from the jaw. Make sure you save the hard fiber washers for reuse.

5. Remove the retaining ring from the threaded rod. Note the notch it was clipped into. This will be referred to in the Fabrication step.

6. Remove the glide shafts from the jaw. They come out with a punch and hammer, or similar tool.

Step 4: Fabrication

1. Cut your two glide shafts and threaded rod to length (lengths determined in the Planning step). I used a miter saw with a metal cutting blade, but with some effort you can use a hack saw. I cut mine to 9in and 9 3/16in respectively. Use a file to cleanup the threads on the rod.

2. Now for the tricky part. If you look at the original threaded shaft you removed, you will see one inch from the end where PanaVise removed one thread, this is where the retaining ring clipped into place. I used a bench mounted grinder with a stone that had a fresh sharp edge to it to gingerly grind away a narrow ring. I couldn't get it only one thread wide, mine ended up two threads wide, but works fine like that. Maybe someone has a better suggestion for this part.

EDIT: User Spokehedz and Redleg had a great suggestion for the above step. Put the rod into a drill and spin it while using a dremel to carefully cut the thread. See their comments for more details.

Step 5: Assembly

1. Insert the glide shafts into the jaw. You can just hammer these into place.

2. Clip the retaining ring onto the threaded rod (where you removed the thread).

3. Slide the threaded rod into the jaw (with the hard fiber washer first) until the retaining ring fits into the recess.

3. Thread the rod into the knob. I used channel locks to grip the rod as close to the jaw as you can. Try not to mess up the threads any more than you have to, but this close to the jaw you should be fine. (Maybe someone has a better suggestion here?)

EDIT: User fubal19 had a great suggestion for the above step. Thread two nuts onto the rod, tighten them together, then use a wrench on the nuts as leverage to thread the knob on.

4. Push the glide shafts into the opposite jaw, and thread the rod into place.

(Queue the Jaws music) You did it! Rate it if you like it!

<p>Cool. BIG SHOT VISE. This is also a good instructable for a replacement spindle for my friend's clamp on vise. He put a 7 foot cheater pipe on it and stripped the spindle thread.</p>
<p>I was looking for something like this, thanks for posting it. The first time I did it, I screwed up the threaded rod and broke my turn nob. But with some insight to watch out for screw-ups. I came up with this instead. It allows me to use my drill to wind it fast or I can turn the coupling nut to fine tune it. Also the other thing I did different was use a lock nut instead of dealing with the e-clip, it allowed me to fine tune the resistance of opening and closing the vise.</p>
I just tried to find the rod and threaded rod at the Lowes website. And as per usual when someone mentions a Lowes product as a source, Lowes no longer carries it. Or at least it's not on their website :-(.<br><br>Are these items in store only? Or has Lowes stopped carrying them? The nearest Lowes to me is miles away, so I not going to waste fuel driving all that way just to find out they don't carry these items any longer.<br><br>Can someone who live close to a Lowes store confirm or deny that Lowes has them in store but not on the website??
I see what you mean. Yeah I bought it in my local Lowes store (SC). I &quot;think&quot; this is a 12&quot; version on the website http://bit.ly/fR5ap. But not sure how much I trust their website because while trying to find a 36&quot; version of it, I see inconsistent data between the descriptions and specifications of some of the other ones.<br><br>If you have a hardware store closer to you what you are looking for is a 10-24 threaded rod. The 10 is the diameter (.1900in) and 24 is the thread count (per in).
Nice mod!<br>We have weighted bases and clamp bases designed for the PV Jr. #201 that help out with the balance issue. http://goo.gl/cKsWk
Thanks for the kudos! I love your products.
To get a much cleaner cut on your circlip/e-clip/lock ring on the threaded rod, I find that it is much easier to put the threaded rod into my drill and spin it while cutting into it with my dremel and go slllllooooowly with the dremel.<br><br>You could also use a lathe, or a milling machine which would make a much more precise cut.
Great suggestion. I guess you might want to put the side you are cutting closest to the drill chuck to minimize any wobble. Just added it to the steps. Thanks!
You might be able to put two nuts on the threaded rod, locked together with wrenches. Use this new &quot;nut&quot; with a wrench or vise-grips for leverage to tighten the knob, and then remove the nuts the same way. This could work for the original knob removal too. <br><br>A Dremel-type tool with a small cutoff wheel might work to make a tighter and cleaner lock ring notch.
Great suggestion about the using the two nuts to hold the rod. Just added it to the steps. Thanks!
An asymetrical base which extends (in your photos) to the left under the extension should solve the stability problem. Cut a rectangular piece of material (plywood, plastic, whatever) about two inches wider than the vice at it's widest extension, and mount the vise base near one end. As far as cutting a notch in a rod (threaded or not) for a snap ring, I've had luck with this method in the past: Needed: -a drill, preferable reversible capable of chucking the rod -a hacksaw -a helper or a vice to mount the saw in Measure and mark the location of the notch with a sharpie. Chuck the rod in the drill so that the mark is right outside the teeth of the chuck Clamp the hacksaw in a vise by the backbone, with the blade on top, teeth up Hold the drill with the marked rod at a 90 degree angle to the blade, and with the blade aligned with the mark. You may be able to rest the jaws of the chuck against the blade to increase precision. SLOWLY start the drill allowing it to rotate the rod against the blade. Once it's scored it slightly, you can speed up a little. Cutting oil helps. Check progress regularly. You can always cut more, you can't &quot;uncut&quot;. If you're cutting a threaded rod and blade wants to &quot;walk&quot; down the rod in the threads, either reverse the drill, or move to the other side of the blade so that it's &quot;walking&quot; toward the chuck. Nice instructable......
This is a great instructable! I was lucky enough to get one of these when I moved into a new house the previous owner left it.
Congratulations! This I'ble was picked up by the <a href="http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/02/big-mouth-panavise-mod.html">MAKE Magazine Blog</a>. Not a bad showing for your first Instructable!

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