Get the most out of your Bench-Vise!
After building three vises, I think I came up with enough tips, tricks, improvements, unusual uses, and hacks to stop you from getting screwed while DIY'ing (pun not intended!).
In this Instructable I will show:
How to make an improvised Drill-Press with a vise
How to save space- Clamp tools in your vise!
How to save money - Know if you should build or buy
How to make an improvised vise with a C-Clamp
And many, many more!
Let's get started!
(Oh, and if you thought three Instructables in a row about Vises too much, This is the fourth one... :)
Step 1: Build or Buy?
Build or buy? BUILD!
"As a "maker", I don't think it makes sense to pay $100 to $500+ on a vise, when it's basically a big chunk of wood/metal and a bolt. I know that I'm not the only one that thinks that." (from here)
As I've mentioned before, I've built three vises, and I don't think a vise is something you need to buy... Light duty and woodworker's vises can be easily built, and heavy duty metal-worker's vises can also be built.
Here is a list of all of my Instructables on how I built my homemade vises (like the pictures):
1. How to Make a Wooden 6" Bench-Vise (My favorite one, it works extremely well)
2. How to Build a Wooden Drill-Press Vise (My first one, not as good as I thought it would be)
3. How to Build a Twin-Screw Vise from a Turnbuckle (Not very useful, mostly an excuse for getting rid of my Turnbuckle ;)
There are many more people that built their own vise, so make sure to check them out here, or by Googling them:
Step 2: Open a Tube of CA Glue
My tube of superglue almost always glues its cap on itself, making it almost impossible to remove. Luckily, because CA is so fragile, when you squeeze the cap in a vise, it crumbles.
Ta-daa! An easy way for opening a tube of CA glue!
Step 3: Pry Open Electronic Devices
A vise is a great tool for prying open electronic devices, from phone chargers and computer mice, to flash-drives and TV remotes.
In only several seconds, you can pry a device that you probably would have never been able to open because of its impossible screws. Why not give it a try?
Step 4: Hold PCB's While Soldering
Before I built WAVE, I would hold big circuit boards in my vise. This would come in handy while trying to unsolder big components such as electrolytic capacitors and relays, but it wasn't really comfortable for soldering components on PCB's.
I later came up with the idea of mounting a small vise onto the top of a microwave transformer, which has been a HUGE improvement for my soldering projects easier. You can see how I built WAVE- The Ultimate Helping Hands Vise here
Step 5: How to Save Space- Clamp Tools in Your Vise!
One of my favorite uses for a vise is for clamping tools. Whether if you're using it to save space by making a mini portable router table, or using it to hold your sharpening stone, it's always extremely useful!
In the first picture, I've clamped my wooden Hand-Plane so it'll be easier for me to joint boards, in the second picture I've clamped my mini bench grinder so I won't have to waste any clamps by clamping it to the table, and in the third picture I'm using it to hold my sharpening stone.
Step 6: How to Make an Improvised Drill-Press With a Vise
Since I have only two hands, it was pretty much impossible to take pictures for this step.
What I did here, is mount my Dremel in My Homemade Drill-Press Vise, and bring move it up and down for drilling perpendicular holes. If you place squares on both sides, you can make this a really accurate Drill-Press.
Step 7: How to Make an Improvised Vise With a C-Clamp
I made this way before my grandpa gave me my vise. This was taken apart the day I restored my metal vise, meaning that these pictures was taken a long time ago, so sorry for the quality...
I bought a C-Clamp at the hardware store, and connected it to my workbench by wrapping some sheet metal which had been screwed down to my workbench. I don't really know how to explain this, but this was the best way that I could think of doing this.
This worked well enough for the projects that I used to make back then...
Step 8: Improvised Solder Dispenser
A solder dispenser? Yes!
By clamping a dowel in my vise's jaws, I can use it as a wire dispenser for soldering. As long as your vise is big enough, this can hold any type of spool that you want...
Step 9: Protect Your Workpiece - Use Soft-jaws!
Soft Jaws? I've made magnetic soft jaws from silicone adhesive!
Any type of material can used as a "soft jaw", which protects you workpiece from getting marked by your vise's jaws.
You can use plastic, silicone adhesive, leather, heat-shrink tubing, wood, erasers, towels, leather gloves and many more. These are only a few ideas...
Personally, I think I'm going to glue some Silicone Tape onto my Wooden vise's jaws. I think this should work pretty well.
Step 10: Save Time! - Open & Close Your Vise With a Drill
Time! Time is something many people don't have.
The vise you see in the picture is My Homemade 6" Vise, and it takes quite a bit of time to open and close it, so I've glued a small piece of wood, and inserted a screw through it. This way, I can open and close my vise in only a few seconds.
Alternatively, you can also build Izzy Swan's Homemade Quick-vise.
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