When I am building small mechanisms by hand, I find that I am constantly using the micro cut-off wheel to cut things like steel wire, brass tubing and square stock, and small threaded rod etc. Surprisingly, it's one of my most useful small bench top tools. And so I have modified it to be as easy and fast to use as possible.
Fooling with the original vice was time consuming and difficult. So I cut off the original vise and base and built this simple quick release vice for it. It's a joy to use now.
Here are the features that make this vice work so easily now:
- BaseRight size. Heavy enough to hold the whole tool in place on the bench top. But still slides forward on the bench top to use, and back again for storage.
- Quick release With one hand, just lift the handle to release the male threaded shaft out of the female threaded half channel. And smoothly push or pull the jaws into place. Set it back into the female threaded channel and give a short easy turn or two to lock the part.
- Jaws The mating off-set "L" jaws will quickly center and hold a variety of stock: Square, Round, Flat. And the jaws are sized to match this cutting wheel diameter and the size of stock that it will cut. The jaws are also locked in the 90˚ position, as I found that I almost never used the angle cut adjustment on the original. And the end of the jaws are exactly at the cut. This makes it easy to slide the stock to exactly where you want to cut it.
- Knob handle Ergonomic shape knob gives easy grip and just the right amount of twist torque without shifting grip.
There are two basic steps to this modification:
1 Cut the old vice off of the saw. Build the new base and attach the saw to it.
2 Build the new vice parts, and working from back to front, adding them to the base.
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Step 1: The Base.
A I made the base from wood.
Though the size of the new base is not critical, these are the dimensions on this base.
- Width 9 inches
- Heigth 1.5 inches
- Depth 6.5 inches
B I scribed a center line on top for reference.
This was the reference line for attaching the saw and new vice.
C I cut the old vice and base off of the cutoff saw. And then drilled and mounted the saw onto the new base.
Step 2: Built the New Vice Parts Onto the Base
Now that I had the saw mounted onto the wooden base, I built the vice from the back, working forwards, referencing the centerline of the base.
AGuide rail blocks. Made of nylon.
BRear jaw. Made of aluminum square stock with wood inserts.
CGuide rails. Made of 3/16 inch steel round stock.
DFront jaw. Also made of aluminum square stock with wood inserts.
E Screw. Made from 5/16- 20 bolt. And 5/16- 20 connector nut cut in half.
F Handle. Made from craft store wooden "egg".
Step 3: Building Tips
If you are going to build one for yourself, here are some things I learned that will help:
AMake sure that moving parts are going to clear each other in use.
Some areas to be mindful off are:
a. An unobstructed swing of the cutoff wheel to the base and the jaw tops.
b. lining up the rear jaw face to come just behind the center of the cutoff wheel arc center.
c. Right edge of jaws just touching the left side of cutoff wheel.
d. Front jaw floats 1/8 inch above the base.
e. 5/8 jaw opening. (This is a 2 inch diameter cutoff saw, made for just the small stuff.)
f. 20˚ free range of movement on the screw, so that it can lift up out of the threaded channel.
g. Knuckle room on knob.
B You can build this vice modification with these materials:
- 3/8" Birch plywood. - 3/4" aluminum square stock. - 3/16" steel rod. - 1/2" Nylon blocks. - 3/8"- 20 steel bolt. - 3/8" - 20 x 1" steel coupling nut. - Wood screws. - Wood glue. - Wood and metal files.
And these tools: - Band saw. - Drill press and drill bits. - Bench vice. - Hammer. - Screwdriver. - Rule or slide caliper. - Pencil.