A Scratch-Built Drill Press Vise From Scrap

Never underestimate the importance of fixturing when you’re machining parts. No matter what the material, firmly locking it down is the key to good results, and may be the difference between a pleasant afternoon in the shop and a day in the Emergency Room. Flying parts and shattered tooling are no joke, but a lot of times quality commercial solutions are expensive and, well, commercial.  So this scratch-built drill press vise is something the thrifty metalworker may want to consider.

To be sure, [Ollari’s] vise, made as it is almost completely from scrap angle iron, is no substitute for a vise made from precision ground castings. But it’s clear that he has taken great care to keep everything as square and true as possible, and we give him full marks for maximizing his materials. And his tools — nothing more complicated than a MIG welder is used, and most of the fabrication is accomplished with simple hand tools. We like the way he built up sturdy profiles by welding strap stock across the legs of the angle iron used for the jaws, to give them a strong triangular cross-section to handle the clamping force. And using the knurled end of an old socket wrench as the handle was inspired; we’ll certainly be filing that idea away for a rainy day in the shop. Although we might use Acme rather than plain threaded rod.

We always enjoy seeing someone fabricate their own tools, and this one reminds us a bit of the full-size bench vise built up from layers of welded steel we featured a while back. It even looks a little like this 3D-printed vise, too.

12 thoughts on “A Scratch-Built Drill Press Vise From Scrap

    1. I watched the video without listening to the audio (if it has one) quite informative, although maybe he could have cut the welding scenes a little bit (scenes swamped by glare).

    1. It looks sufficient. A small vice won’t be put under severe strain. I made a large vice myself but reused the threaded rod from a fractured vice. My vices get a lot of abuse as I use them as a bearing press. I also made several large g-clamps.

    1. The thrift shop for starters like Goodwill or others? shopgoodwill, ebay, craigslist, letgo and offer up are where I’ve been addicted to finding cost effective deals or free stuff. Might be others I’m not aware of.

      Might even be able to make a welder and grinder if you’re savvy with restoring and hacking stuff. Angle steel from bed frames maybe?

      Square files are more a challenge to make without knowing how to pattern make metal with some tools like a chisel and hammer then how to heat treat before and after processing the metal. Is interesting to watch files made also. There are youtube videos and here is an interesting example that is a first of a series (seems there is a modern eastern European one I’ve watched before that is more modern):

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