I recently purchased a Central Forge cross slide
vise to add a little precision and of course repeatability to my projects. The ability to move the work piece relative to the cutting tool with any kind of precision makes life so much more enjoyable.
Enter the cross slide vise. This particular vise is a relatively good piece of equipment considering its cost. The vise even has an indicator dial to help in determining the location of the jaw relative to the cutting or drilling tool.
Yes, CNC is nice, but there are still 2-axis situations where CNC is overkill, i.e only a couple parts are needed. Also, it is a LOT cheaper!
There is only one small problem though. After only a short use, I became weary of calculating a new dial position. The dials cannot be "zeroed out". I thought a little bit about this and after several iterations I was able to finalize the design. I do not have pics of the vise prior to the mod, but it should be self explanatory.
The only machining operation is a drilling operation and that is for the 1/16 hole required for the pointer. Precision is not required for this operation.
1/4 inch or 3/8 inch drill
allen wrench (the size varies) (SAE and metric)
Open end / box end wrenches (size varies) (SAE and metric)
small hammer (6 ounce)
2 ea. 12 mm shaft collars (these will replace the existing dial acting as the new thrust bearing).
2 ea. compression springs 5/8 ID X 1 long X 0.047 wire.
2 ea. 17 Ga X 1 long brad or nail.
2 ea. 12 mm washers (optional)
As I stated earlier This modification is fairly straightforward the pictures telling the complete story.
The result is the ability to "zero" the indicator, making life with this vise much much friendlier.
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Step 1: X-axis
The first step, after procuring all of the hardware, is to remove the crank of the upper or X axis.
Loosen the set screw on the thrust collar and slide it off the shaft.
Now the shaft support can be removed.
Once it is in hand place it on an anvil, or a solid piece of wood dimple side up. We are only going to create a small depression in the shaft support, so we will not to hit the center punch very hard. Only a small dimple will be created for we are only going to drill a 1/16 inch hole through the shaft support. The dimple will inhibit the bits desire to skate on the metal surface before it decides to start doing it's job, to drill through the metal shaft support.
Once the hole has been successfully drilled we can proceed to install the indicator (the wire brad or nail).
Insert the nail, or brad, into the hole from the back side.
Step 2: Now to the Second Part (Y-axis), Same As the First Part
Now we are going to mark the location for the pointer that will be added to the shaft support.
Mark, with a scribe, create an "x" on the shaft support about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) above the surface of the thrust collar.