Here's a modification I made to quieten the handle bars on vises using Sugru, a self-setting flexible silicone rubber.
A bit of background - vises have handles that slide and rotate. If they drop from the vertical position the loud crash they make when they drop is not appreciated by some vise owners.
Step 1: About Vise Handles....
I'm a member of the Halifax Makerspace, and Instructables.com sent us Sugru to see what we could do with it on one of our build nights. After some thought, I thought about the issue of vise handle bars.
The photos above show a very large vise. The handle bar shaft through the spindle (the big cylinder that the handle goes through) weighs about five pounds and is eighteen inches long. It makes quite a crash when it drops, and I don't really want to think of getting a finger pinched between the handle end and the spindle. :<
The closeup shows a home made solution to pad the bar ends - some sort of hose or washers wrapped in electrical tape to keep it from disintegrating.
What can be done with Sugru? Let's try making handle pads with it.
Step 2: A Vise for the Testing
Here's a smaller vise to try this out on - a Record 83 Quick Release Engineer's Bench vise. A Quick Release vise has a little lever on the front that, when pressed, allows the vise to be moved in and out without winding the handle. Neat, eh?
Let's mold some Sugru into thick washers on each end of the handle, some padding on the spindle and if we have some Sugru left, we can put silicon grips on the QR lever.
Step 3: The End Result....
Here we see the molded Sugru silicon rubber pads after they were left to set for a couple days.
I used a couple of the small packs of Sugru for this particular vise. Molding and kneading Sugru is a straightfoward exercise, and the finish on the pads was smoothed by rubbing the surfaces using the natural oils from my fingertips.
The crash noise is abated quite a lot now. I added the grips to the QR lever and the other side of the vise front where the fingers grip the dynamic jaw (the jaw that moves in and out). They look good and grip quite well. I think I would make the discs on the spindle fatter to absorb more force.
I will eventually try this on large vises. The pads will be made wider and thicker the bigger the vise gets and may incorporate a hollow middle section to allow for more force dissipation through compression.
Your results may vary and testing and implementation of this is, of course, at your own risk.