You say Vise and I say Vice but we agree that Clamps are Clamps

When I put together the package of items that I would be ordering with the Tormach PCNC440 I probably made a mistake.   I wanted a machine vice (vise if you over the Atlantic) and the recommended size for the 440 was a 4″.  However a jaw set was not available with this size the same as it was with the 5″.   After checking with Tormach I ordered the 5″ in the belief that it would be usable.

The 5″ is serious lump of metal  and really only fits on the 440 table long ways on.  The jaw set is really nice however.   Sad to say that none of it has been used so far and if I am honest it is unlikely to be used.   A large and heavy white elephant sits in the corner of the workshop.  It is going to cost more to freight it back to swap out than is economic.   Offers gratefully received !

What to do ?   Looking around I found that Arc Eurotrade offer a range of machine vices.   In particular I liked the look of the SG Iron Milling Vices as they have flexible jaw positions and had a ‘pull down’ action of the jaws on closing.  They do not offer soft jaws but at a pinch these could be made as and when needed.   I ordered a 100mm (4″) version and it is a nice piece of kit, seems solid, but not as heavy as the 5″ Tormach.

The vice did not come with any useful fixing clamps so what to do ?  I had already made a tooling plate for the 440 table that has M8 holes on a 25mm matrix.   The plate also has additional 4mm tooling pin holes within the XY limits of the spindle movement.   The vice sits nicely between the M8 mounting holes and just needed some simple ‘L’ clamps to hold it down.

Designing and making the Clamps

I designed something suitable on Fusion and did a 3D print of a prototype on the Sindoh 3DWOX to do a trial fit.   This seemed to work fine so production of four metal ones was now needed.

Fusion 360 drawing of the clamping block

A debate now ensued.  Options at this point were : –

Use the Fusion model to CNC/CAM repeat produce four individual clamps which would need three set ups to face and cut.

Use Fusion to extend the model to have four clamps in one piece of stock to be cut to length as needed but machined using a full CNC program of all four on one piece of stock.  Each clamp would still need facing after cutting

Use the single clamp already drawn in Fusion and use WCS increments to hop along the stock and create four separate clamps for cutting off as needed.  Still would need facing after cutting.

Finally given their simplicity there was the option to run them on the Myford manual mill ….

Outcome

Well my hand goes up to say I funked it and made all four on the manual mill.   I cut four pieces of stock (24mm x 19mm) to 40mm on the Kennedy hacksaw and faced the ends to length on the Myford mill.  I jigged the Y position while sitting on parallels in the machine vice before cutting the clamping step on each.  Next came an 8mm hole central in the slot before mill extending it out 2mm either side.  Job done.

Would it have been faster on CNC ?  I don’t really know.   If I had drawn the ‘four in one bar’ version I think it would as there would have been only one setup apart from the facing off.   If I had done the WCS based version of a single clamp then four set ups would have been needed, one for each WCS plus the facing.   Either way both of CNC options would have increased my knowledge on CNC and I could have chalked another ‘result’ on the 440 fuselage mission tally board.

No excuses I know, but there is just something about manual milling and the intimacy of being in touch with the metal ……

The finished clamping blocks were made to suffer heat and then an oil dunking to blacken them off to make them look almost professional.

Tooling Clamp for milling table
Vise Tooling Clamp
Vise in place showing clamps and tooling pins
vice, vise, tormach pcnc440
Wide view of vise in place on 440 table. Note the NYC CNC training course handle finding a home.

So all of that was a bit of a ramble but you get the gist – CNC or manual.

Placement Tooling Pins

In closing the last thing I made was a couple of top hat tooling pins that sit in the tooling plate and align the vice position.   This ensures the vice clamps can sit symmetrically either side of the vice.  It makes for a quick set up if the vice has been off table.  Note in the picture below the small piece of shim to get the alignment correct.  (Lazy man syndrome creeping in again).

So the shop is now ready and better prepared to cut metal.   Note also the NYC CNC training course produced vice handle being pressed into service on the new vice.  Thanks to Kevin & John for that – was it nearly a year ago ???

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Clickspring Therapy

Some days you walk into the workshop and while you know you have long term projects lurking, you just feel like having a distraction therapy day.  For me this usually means adding some tooling in some way or other.  Yesterday was one of those days.

While looking around I spotted one of my storage boxes with all the parts I had accumulated to make some table tooling grip nuts as shown by Chris at Clickspring.   These are similar to a commercial item.  As I now have a tooling plate on the Tormach with a matrix of M8 holes it seemed like a good ‘all in one day’ project and would satisfy my therapy distraction.

Chris did not give any dimensions in his write up but there is more detail in his Patreon video which is subscription only.   One gem he passed on was using a piece of 1mm thick material to offset the three jaw chuck to create an eccentricity to the locking nuts.

I have created a page detailing my approach here.

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Sherline Motor Assembly for clock wheel cutting

After completing the write up on the Sherline CNC Indexer for use on the Myford for clock wheel cutting, I realised that an important part of the process was the cutting mechanism itself.

I had adapted the Sherline headstock motor and spindle assembly to mount on the Myford vertical slide to act as a secondary cutting source. I use this for cutting clock teeth and for drilling holes ‘off centre’ to the lathe axis for such processes as arbor mounting holes.

The full write is available as a pdf on the associated page on this site.

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Laser Centring Tool for Tormach Tooling System

Frustrated by not being able to use my Myford Mill Laser Centring tool on my Tormach PCNC440 I have done a redesign using Fusion 360 and 3D printing.

Tormach, Fusion360
Concept View of Laser Centring for Tormach TTS

Read about it here ……

Disclaimer : –  This post and many others on my website feature references to Tormach and its products.  I have no connection to Tormach Inc financially, commercially or otherwise.  I acknowledge that Tormach®, Tormach Tooling System®, TTS® and PathPilot® are all registered trade marks of Tormach Inc.

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Spindle Illumination Light for the Tormach PCN440

I am a great lover of having enough light to see what I am doing and being of a certain age my optics are not as sensitive as they used to be.   I have fitted Ebay sourced Angel Light ring car clusters as illumination lights on my pillar drill press and on my Myford VMB manual mill.   The arrival of the Tormach PCNC440 got me thinking of doing the same.

As luck would have it I had a 100mm OD ring light left over from the VMB installation and this was just about dead right to fit the Tormach 440 spindle diameter.  All it needed was a mounting boss.

On the drill press and on the VMB I machined up a boss in Acetal which left a mountain of swarf and I was not looking forward to another session vacuuming out the lathe.   Then the thought struck me I have 3D printing so why not print a boss ?   It is quite funny how you get locked into one way of doing things and then you step back and realise there are more ways to skin the cat.  (Is that a non PC thing to say these days ???)

Booted up Fusion 360 and one extrude pull and two extrude cuts plus three clamping screw holes had a design ready to print.  Print time on the Sindoh was just under 4 hours.  It looked a lot more professional than the Acetal ones.

Tormach PCNC440 Fusion 360 Sindoh 3DWOX
3D printed boss for Tormach PCNC440 spindle illumination designed in Fusion 360 and printed on Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 and using 100mm Angel light ring LED cluster

It also fits like a glove and the three M5 nylon screws lock it in place.   I just need find a 12V plug top to drive it.

Tormach PCNC440 illuminator
Component parts of the illumination ring
Tormach PCNC440 Fusion 360
Completed illumination ring for Tormach PCNC440
Illuminator in place on Tormach PCNC440
Wider view showing the illuminator and my home made swarf (chip) shield

If you would like the Fusion STL or the link to the Angel Lights on eBay let me know.  I have the STL file for the 3D printed a small enclosure to suit the regulator for the Angel Lights from a 12V supply.

I also have the Fusion file for the handles on the magnetically mounted perspex front shield as seen above.   The handle mountings have 45mm centres to match the magnet plates which are standard UK sourced magnetic latches.

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