Simple Vise Modifications to Bend Metals




About: Just a fellow who want's to learn new tricks and skills.


This is my instructable about simple modifications to vise, to make tidy bends to metals.

There is multiple methods and attachments for different bending tasks, i wanted to find a solution that uses mostly actual vise itself.

I have been building a new kind of vise, these modifications are kind of prototypes that i wanted to test before actual building. Decided to share these first, because its obvious that everyone doesn't want to build the whole vise by them self.

I used my diy vise as a base, but these can be used with commercial vises too.

If you are interested to know more about my diy vise:

Here is a video about making it:

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Step 1: Jaws..

First step is very simple, if you have little experience with metal working.

I made a pair of new jaws to my vise from 10mm thick steel plate, and 3mm x 20mm flat bar.

Weld flat bar to the edge of 10mm plate, and then rounded and smoothed the edge.

Measured the location of the jaw mounting holes from the vise, and copied them to the jaws.

After that i cut front jaw to three equal pieces, and back jaw to two pieces, one is 1/3 and second 2/3.

Then i got three different sized jaws that i could mix together for different bending / stamping options.

Step 2: Stamping Shapes..

Make different "stamps" i removed, or relocated jaw pieces.

You can see it from this video:

I think it explains it better than i can write.

Step 3: Making Bends..

Idea about making bends is very simple.

This method doesn't actually need new jaws at all.

If you have a vise with un-removable jaws, you can just cut/grind a V-groove to it and use it to make small bends.

Also, that groove are very handy when you need to clamp round or square pieces.

Max width of the bend depends the size of the jaw piece, ones that i made allows me to bend 40mm wide pieces.

Because i made front jaws narrower than back jaw pieces, i can adjust the width of the "die groove", simply

replacing one piece from the end to back. Wider cap allows to bend thicker materials.

Note: "tommy bar" on my vise is 15cm long ( about 6" ) i used pipe as a extension on the video.

That's aluminium pipe with a very thin wall, so it doesn't require much power, that pipe would have bent otherwise.

As a "front die" i used suitable sized pieces of pipe, personally i think that this is very usefull for bending small parts, those are really tricky to bend with tools that are made for big tasks.

Step 4: Rod / Bar Bender..

To get more use from my vise..

I made this simple rod / bar bending add to it.

I cut two pieces from the 10mm plate and weld them and a piece of 10mm rod to the wider back jaw.

After welding i filed a groove on the middle of it, this groove guides rods to the straight line with the bender.

Step 5: Bending Arm..

Bending arm is made from 40mm x 40mm x 4mm square tubing.

I drilled two holes trough it with 10mm drill, these holes are for the " bending facers ". ( leans to the rod to be bend)

Step 6: Arm Continued..

After drilling i made necessary cuts with angle grinder and 1mm cut of wheel.

( note, all 1mm cut of wheels doesn't perform very well with material this thick )

Personally i recommend 3M cubitron cut off wheels, or using thicker ones from some other brand.

After cutting i weld plug to the end and cut it to the right widht. ( seen on pictures or better on the video below )

First bending facer on the front is just a 10mm bolt. This one is used with thinner materials, and it gives little smaller bending radius.

Other one is located 40mm behind it and includes two bearings, this one is used with thicker materials, and it gives little bigger bending radius.

Video about making and using:

It also includes comparison about making bends on vise with " hands ".

Step 7: And.. the End of This Instructable.

And there it is.

This idea can be used with bought vises too.

And if you interested about the " ultimate vise " build, that i mentioned on first step.

Stay tuned!

Happy making, i hope you found something useful from this.


Tuomas Soikkeli

- The other Finnish guy -

Ps. Here is a video about my angle grinder mount, that was also kind of prototyping for the final vise build.

( Finnish voice over, subtitles in English )

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    25 Discussions


    Question 4 months ago on Introduction

    Hollow if you be so kind and let me now were I can buy the metal blade for the chop saw also is safe to hold the rod wen you weld I image is to have more control on the weld and have a cleaner job thanks in advance and God bless you.

    2 answers
    The other Finnish guyjustiniano

    Answer 4 months ago

    I have used Evolution cold cut saws, i have tested couple models from Ridgid too, but blades didn't last as well as Evolution blades does. Important thing is to make sure that your chop saw doesn't run too fast. Cold cut saws use much lower rpm than abrasive models.

    I have used evolution 185mm blade with my old black & decker hd 1000 circular saw. And it works nicely ( it runs 3200 rpm )


    Question 5 months ago on Step 7

    On Step 5 - the two larger holes (not the 10mm ones) - what size are they? Also, I read through this a few times, and watched the simple vise video in YouTube (and also read your comments there too) and I couldn't find measurements for hole placement. Does it matter, or did you just kinda wing it?

    3 answers


    If you locate left and right mounting holes little differently. Then you get another option to adjust the bending cap more.

    Sorry, I'm a little confused, I meant the placement of the holes that were drilled on the 40x40x4m tubing


    Sorry. I missed that point. Larger holes are with 20mm diameter. Same than the widht of the piece that connects the axle where bending arm is mounted, to the vise. Jaws are mounted with M6 bolts. Outer pieces are 1/3 from the widht from the nearest edge. ( 12mm ) piece on the midle has hole on the middle of it.

    My vise is 120mm vide, so hole on the middle and 50mm from the center to the both sides are locations for the mounting holes of the " edge " pieces.

    This was actually important point. When mounting holes on the "outer" pieces are of centered, it gives different widht for the cap than center piece does.

    The other Finnish guy

    Tip 5 months ago on Step 3

    As a "front die" i used suitable sized pieces of pipe, personally i think that this is very usefull for bending sma...

    I supposed to write plate instead of pipe.. Sorry

    3 replies

    I did not realize I was replying (above) to the creator!
    I thought I was responding to one of your critics!
    Erittäin mukava työ!
    Fastidious and Finnish, too!

    No harm done. Now this commenting seems to be fixed. It was little annoying to write same text multiple times, and every time it disappears.
    Big site must have issues sometimes, so i don't mind. Great that it works again.

    Woaw I am really impressed seeing such tool, loved your instructable !

    I'm part of a robotic club, and we really lack of tools to work with metals (to say it all we only have a metal handsaw, youhou..!).
    Would be amazing having such tools... but I suppose you don't sell them. :p


    5 months ago

    You do very nice work! Never apologize for your english, be who you are.

    1 reply

    5 months ago

    Neat build! An instructable on custom forms and a metal brake for the vise and you've covered most needed other than english wheel work and more complex shapes from my basic understanding. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply
    Frans van Dijk

    5 months ago

    Very nice instructable. Your vice is way too small, get yourself a really big one made out of steel, (160 mm wide or bigger) than you can bore into the sides of the yaws (M12) with amazing possibilities.

    1 reply

    Thank you. I have actually been making bigger vise. It shouldn't take long, but i am one of those persons that likes to make too many things at the same time. :)


    5 months ago

    Wow! What great ideas - you remind me of my father who was a millwright and could fix ANYTHING. Amazing work, and please don't apologize about your english. And your videos were superb as well.

    1 reply

    5 months ago