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What are the different types of machine vice base?

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different types of bases Machine vices are available with different types of base, which mount to the table of a machine tool. These are listed below along with some information about each type.

Fixed bases

fixed base drill press vice A machine vice with a fixed base has a flat bottom design which fits straight to the machine’s table and is stationary.
drill press vice mounting holes The vice has mounting holes within the base where bolts are fitted to secure the tool to the drill press table. (The bolts are purchased separately and are not included with the vice.)
fixed base drill press vice Sometimes, fixed base vices have extended mounting holes, or even a variety of holes in order for the bolts to be moved, so that the vice can be placed in various positions under the drill bit.
drill press vice extended mounting holes If the mounting holes are extended, this means they are longer than usual to allow a bolt to slide along and be fixed at different positions.
ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
tick and cross
  • Less chance of moving during machining
  • More reliable
  • Less versatile than other types of base
  • Once bolted down, it can only be moved by removing the bolts
  • Time-consuming

Swivel bases

swivel base A vice with a swivel base can be rotated, allowing the vice to be placed in various positions when machining.
360 degrees The swivel base is bolted to the drill press or milling table, but can then rotate 360 degrees and be locked when in the desired working position.
swivel base lock nut The base often has two lock nuts, one on either side, which control its movement. To adjust the base, the nut is loosened which allows the vice to be moved into a new position. The nut is then tightened to keep the vice still.
swivel base A separate swivel base can be purchased as an additional feature and then be attached to a fixed base machine vice.
ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
tick and cross
  • More versatile than a fixed base
  • Allows user to clamp a workpiece while still being able to move it into various positions
  • Ideal for drilling holes of different shapes and sizes
  • Saves time
  • Not as sturdy as a fixed base
  • Greater risk of vice moving
  • Adds to the cost of the vice

Three-way bases

three-way base vice Some drill press machine vices have a three-way base in order to offer alternative mounting options. This design means the vice can be positioned and bolted down in three different ways, adding to its versatility.
three-way base horizontal It can be placed horizontally on the drill press table (similarly to a fixed base).
three-way base vertical Alternatively, it can be placed vertically on the drill press table.
three-way base vice Or it can also be placed longitudinally on the drill press table, in order to clamp workpieces for drilling.
ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
 tick and cross
  • Extremely versatile
  • Clamped workpieces can be rotated 90 up to degrees without removing it from the jaws
  • Movability means it can hold bigger workpieces that are difficult to manage in a fixed base
  • If a workpiece is too long or wide to clamp horizontally, the vice can be moved and placed vertically or longitudinally
  • More expensive than a fixed base

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