Homemade Drill Press Vice




Introduction: Homemade Drill Press Vice

About: Hi I'm Neil and I like to make and create. This can be anything from woodwork/metalwork to photography/drawing or any other form of creation that motivates me.

I've been managing for a few years now with one Drill Press Vice. This hasn't been ideal for use with both metalwork and woodwork. When drilling steel I use a drop of oil and I'm not that careful with it. So when it comes to woodworking the oil and grime that accumulates ends up finding its way on to the wood. That was a good reason to finally make one.

There are plenty of different ways it could be made but I decided to do it in the most simple way I could think of. I've found from my other recent projects that most people want something simple, easy and quick to make. It doesn't get much easier to make than this. No need for any metal runners or ripping hardwood, plywood is more than sufficient. Also I designed it so no rebates needed cutting, the plywood pieces create the rebate when assembled. Also I've added a pdf with the dimensions I used.

Step 1: Vice Screw and Handle

I liked the handle on a traditional drill press vice with the swivel joint on the end - so I decided to replicate that.

A wooden handle could be made and glued onto the threaded bar if that's easier. It wouldn't be as fast to use though and it would make the vice a little longer.

I used 12mm threaded rod and a short (60mm) piece of 12mm bar. I used an angle grinder to make a slot in the end of the threaded bar. Then I used a file to create a tongue on the end of the bar, to slot into the threaded rod. I rounded over the end of the tongue so it could swivel in the slot. After drilling a hole through both I cut off the end off a nail, leaving about 3mm, put it through both pieces and pounded the end over.

Step 2: Cutting Plywood Parts

I used 17mm plywood but anything around 3/4" plywood would be fine. I ripped a strip of 40mm ply on the tablesaw (1.4m is needed), a strip of 30mm ply (0.5m is needed) and a short strip (130mm) that was twice as wide as the thickness of ply used (34mm in my case). I've made a drawing with the dimensions I used and added the pdf here.

Step 3: Assemble the Vice

Using the drawing in the pdf (last step) I assembled the plywood parts with glue and screws, pre drilling and checking with a square as I went. It's summer here in my part of the world and it was super hot in my shed so everything I touched, especially the plywood, had sweat and grease transferred to it as you can see in the photos - It cleaned up afterwards though.

Step 4: Moving Jaw

There are 6 pieces of 110x40mm - these will be glued together in a later step to make 3 pieces (2 jaws and a vice screw housing).

But first I cut a M12 nut in half, the two halves will be housed inside the moving jaw. Instead of cutting the nut in half, 2 nuts could be used but that wouldn't leave much room for the nuts to be housed. That would be ok but it's pretty easy to cut a nut in half. I then proceeded to drill some recesses in the moving jaw. After finding centres I drilled a shallow recess in one side of the jaw for an M12 washer to turn freely, this needed to be just a touch deeper than the width of the washer - if it were made too deep the vice jaws would be sloppy to use. I then made a recess for the two halves of the M12 nut, in each side of the jaw - this can be a couple of millimetres deeper than the nut halves. Then on the side that I drilled the recess for the washer I drilled a 13mm hole through the piece.

I put these two halves of the moving jaw aside for a later step.

Step 5: Fixed Jaw and Screw Housing

The fixed jaw and screw housing then got glued and clamped together.

When dry, I marked the centre and drilled a 13mm hole through one piece, this is for the vice screw. I then marked around a M12 nut and chiseled out a recess, then epoxied the nut in place.

Step 6: Moving Jaw Assembly

On the end of the vice screw I filed two flats on opposite sides. Then the screw was put through the screw housing and threaded through the nut that was epoxied in place, then it needed to go through the piece of the moving jaw with the hole through. Then I put one of the half nuts on to the screw followed by a washer then the other half nut. Using a vice I squashed the nuts onto the flat parts of the bar, leaving just enough room for the washer to spin. The nuts should not be able to turn off the threaded rod. After checking it all worked as it should, I glued the two sides of the jaw together making sure not to get any glue on the enclosed washer and nuts.

Step 7: Sliding Guide

I measured and cut two pieces from the 34mm wide strip of plywood. They needed to slide freely in the rebate created in the vice body. I held the larger piece which should be around 70mm in length in the rebate and marked the two sides with a pencil, I then filed the ends down about 1mm. This will raise the two blocks slightly above the vice body and enable the moving jaw to move freely. The two pieces were then glued together.

Step 8: Fixing the Jaws

The fixed jaw and the screw housing got fixed with glue and screws from underneath. I predrilled and made sure they were square to the vice body. I rounded over the corners of the sliding guide block to help it slide in the rebate, then fixed it to the moving jaw with glue and a couple of screws.

Step 9: Sanding and Finishing

After sanding I finished the vice with beeswax polish putting plenty on the moving parts.

Step 10: Finished Drill Press Vice

It was an easy build and will come in very handy. I found it much more difficult to explain the procedure than it was to make.

I chucked up the handle in a cordless drill to test how well it would adjust with speed. It worked well but I'm not an impatient person so I would use it in the normal way - which is easily quick enough for my needs. It's an option though if that's what you'd prefer.

There isn't really much point in a cost list as it would only cost a couple of dollars to make. Scraps of plywood, a short piece of threaded rod, optional 60mm piece of 12mm bar, 2x M12 nuts and a washer.

Tools I used:

  • Table Saw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Angle Grinder
  • Drill
  • File
  • Hammer

Thanks for viewing - I hope it was of help to someone.

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    5 Discussions

    Eh Lie Us!
    Eh Lie Us!

    2 years ago

    Getting SH** done! Right on. Thanks for sharing.


    3 years ago

    could you use a T-nut instead of cutting a nut in half?

    cycle ninja
    cycle ninja

    3 years ago

    Wow, great instructable. Been wanting one of these for a while. Wouldn't be too hard to upgrade to an adjustable vice...

    Pask Makes
    Pask Makes

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you!