Broken Vise Transformation

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About: Hi, I am crazy about creating things with my crazy mind. I love making unique things that can entertain, inspire and educate you .checkout my youtube channel for more awesome builds & be sure to subscribe.

This Instructables is all about how I manage to save my bench vise. Definitely, a hard time when I broke down this jaw, but I think it's definitely not my fault there is some flaw in the casting which leads to a catastrophic failure. When I contacted the company about this they said that it's now out of warranty but when I purchased this at that time they said it has 5 years warranty which now turned to 2 years, fraud seller. After a big argument, they said they can make a new jaw but I have to pay half the money. But I am very frustrated and decided not to do anything from the seller, instead of that, I tried to fix this on my own. I found on the internet that this kind of problem occurs to many makers. So this journey is all about how I fix my bench vise in 1⁄4 the original price, excluding the paint job. Hope this will help you to give your vise a new life and save you some money.

Supplies:

Step 1: Material and Tools Used

Tools Used

  1. Drill Press
  2. Welding set
  3. Welding Electrode
  4. Angle Grinder
  5. Flap Disk
  6. Grinding Wheel
  7. Chipping Hammer
  8. Wire Brush
  9. Thread Tap set
  10. Drill Bit set
  11. Allen Key set

Material Used

  1. 2.5" dia and 3" long
  2. Pipe 50 mm od and 30 mm id (which turns into 47 mm and 32 mm)
  3. Steel Bar 10 mm thick
  4. Steel Block 5.5" X 3" X 2"

Step 2: Two Fixes

So to fix this kind of problem you have two options one is to weld this and second is to make the jaw completely out of scratch and in my case I try both of them. I think if I am able to save it just by simple welding then this instructable is never going to happen but that didn't work for me. I saw many people save their vise just by doing welding. Don't know whether it's last long or not. To weld cast iron you need similar materials filler rod and that rod is also of two types machinable and nonmachinable. I use the nonmachinable rod. I did some research about welding on cast iron in hoping that this will work for me. Then I start the welding process, as I described that I have no plans of making this tutorial and that's the reason that there is no footage of welding work in this instructable. After finishing the welding I found small cracks appear onto the surface and there are too many of them. But the weld seems good to me and I make a test by tightening the jaw, and it snaps completely with very less force. But I didn't lose hope and give this second try by making again grove around the welded area and start the weld but the result didn't change. Then I decided to make the front jaw completely out of scratch which in the end turns out really robust and I didn't think that the company owner can make it that much robust in that price.

Step 3: ​Turning the Main Base of the Front Jaw

Since I didn't have a lathe for this project so I reached to turner nearby me who decided to do the task at the same time when I arrived at his workshop. So for the base, I purchase two different cylinders. The longer cylinder is going to be the main shaft of the vise movable jaw in which lead a few is going to be installed and the second cylindrical pieces are going to provide some base for the front jaw. For the material, I got EN 8 material which is the longer pipe section and the size I choose by measuring the dimensions of the original barrel which was made by the manufacturer. The Turner holds that piece into Chuck and starts from facing operations first. After that he turned down the outer surface and match it to the required diameter, this Operation is not done completely because the other end is held into the chuck. After that, he starts the boring operations which equal to that broken piece. After each pass, he keeps on checking the diameter for the exact dimensions. The birding operation needs to be at some distance so the rest remains as it is. Then he flips the pieces and did the facing and then cleaning work.

For the base of the jaw 21⁄2” round stock has been taken having a length around 3”. Then after holding into the first thing is the facing operation than a little bit of cleaning work which really not required. Then a through hole has been drilled of 16 mm for the lead screw. On the back side, there is a cavity made to insert that barrel inside it to get a stronger joint. Around that cavity, a chamfer has been made to acquire the weld beads for deeper penetration.

Step 4: ​Joining the Two Cylinders Together

Since there is a cavity inside that the barrel could be easily fitted inside that with some hammer blows. It's good to have a press for this kind of work but hammer blows work fine also. To reduce the friction oil has been rubbed around that barrel for an easy fit. Once they snuggly fitted the remaining cleaning done onto the lathe and then I made a weld around that area to make a stronger joint. After that, I cleaned up the excess weld and make the joint smooth. During the welding, I made 3-4 weld beads. The first made onto the chamfered area, 2-3 made slightly up and down from that first bead. To join the second and third bead together the fourth weld is made.

Step 5: ​Clearance Cut for the Nut.

For this process, I highly recommend going with the milling process onto a mill. Since I didn't find that that's why I decided to do it by myself. But if I find one I definitely go with milling because it's perfect and very easy. For the slot, I made a mark equal to the width of the previous slot made on that broken barrel. Then I placed that on a flat surface. In my case, I choose the marble surface which is dead flat and then scribed two lines with marker followed by those two initial marks I made earlier. The length of that cut kept around 7” as needed. Then with the help of cut of wheel remove that area. I cut that slightly undersize so that I can fine tune this to the final dimensions. With the help of grinding disk, carbide burrs and flat file bring down that cut to the required width. This is mostly a trial and error method but milling required no such thing. Once it fits I move onto the next phase of making the jaw.

Step 6: ​Preparing the Steel Block

In this vise, there are two jaws upper and lower. The upper jaw is larger in size as we see in most of the vices but the lower jaw is slightly different for holding pipes and other sorts of object. For the top jaw, I choose thick steel block. This piece I use as an anvil in my past but now I have a professional anvil I use that and it's no longer usable. First I remove that rough edge formed during the cutting process with an oxy torch. I made a mark with the hacksaw which leads the chop saw blade to a straight line because cut off wheel of my chop saw always went outside during the cut and ended up in a tapered cut. This cut definitely helps. Then I start cleaning of the remaining sides of that block and for that cleaning, I didn't go with the chop saw I chose angle grinder and hacksaw. For the aesthetic purpose, I give the sides a slight 5° bevel which definitely looks good.

Step 7: ​Joining the Block and the Barrel Together.

To join the steel block and the barrel together there are two methods of doing this. The first one is making the barrel surface flat by grinding so the two flat faces could be welded easily. The second one is to make a curve onto steel block and then weld that barrel into that. I go with the second one. I first mark the center on to the Steel block then I get a piece of cut of disc equal to the diameter of the barrel. I choose that piece to transfer the curve of that barrel on to the block. Then I with the help of square follow they curve and transfer it to the other side of the steel block. Then with the help of grinder cutting discs and cut off wheel, I remove that area. During this work, I repeatedly checking the contour to match the exact curvature for a better joint. Once I get close. To that curvature with the help of files I made that curvature flat. I also chamfer the edges so that weld material can be filed around for a much better joint. Then I placed the barrel to its position and then placed that steel block onto it making sure that it will align properly. Then I made some tack weld and remove the jaw out of the holding area and finish the weld joints. The current set to 150 amp which seems less to me but in the end works fantastically. Then I finish the joints with grinding.

Step 8: Constructing the ​Lower Jaw

To construct the lower jaw I use 10 mm thick mild steel bar having 2” in width. The lower jaw is identical to the previous jaw. For that, I cut down some pieces by measuring the sides of the back jaw and then start welding those pieces by making a box-like shape whose one end is open for that insert. At the top, I welded a small piece which will be going to act as the backing of the top insert which you will be going to see in the assembly phase. After that, I clean the excess material and make everything smooth.

Step 9: ​Profiling the Top Jaw.

After the welding, the top jaw seems quite bulky to me. Before welding this I was thinking that I can use this as an anvil but then I noticed that that much thickness restrict the filling work. So I decided to remove some of the material. This will also reduce the forward wright. I made multiple cuts and then remove them section by section and then smooth out the surface with flap disk and other grinding wheels.

Step 10: ​Hardened Jaw Inserts

To make the hardened jaw I use 1095 high carbon steel. I cut down the steel to the required length. I made this slightly larger than the stock coming with the vise. They are 1½” larger than the original. Once I cut them down and then hold them into the vise. Later on, with the help of the file, I made them flat. The previous jaw has a seat to hold the hardened jaw so I do the same, scribe a line and then cut that with grinder. The with square file make that seat close to the marking which needed for the design. To make the serrations onto the jaw for grip I made marks with the help of cutoff wheel and then fine-tuned them with a square file. This thing leads to pointed tips of those serrations. Then I mark the hole location and then drill the hole and counter hole to hide the screw. Then I transfer those locations onto the jaw drill and tap them also. Then I hardened the jaw by quenching them into water.

Step 11: ​Installing the Accessories

To install the accessories I place the jaw to the top of the Lower jaw and then transfer the hole location then drill and tap them. To hold the pipe jaw to its place I drill and tap the holes to both the sides and then I insert that jaw into that cavity and tighten the screws.

Step 12: ​Paint Job

For the paint job, I first remove the paint with paint remover and then made two coats of grey primer onto the surface. After that, I apply black color paint over the entire vise parts. I did the black paint because the pearl paint I am going to apply, need some sort of dark base. But both types are completely different because one is Oli base and other is a thinner base. That's the reason why the crinkle effect appears onto the surface which looks good. Then I assemble all the parts and definitely take a sigh of relief because I definitely save some of my money.

Step 13: Admire the Work

If you like and also have some suggestions than definitely leave your comments down below.

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    16 Discussions

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    gm280

    5 weeks ago

    You went through a LOT of work and it makes me wonder, why didn't you just dress up the original cast broken off tube section and Braise it back together? I know welding wouldn't have worked because it is cast iron, but braising would! It would have given you the same ability but a heck of a lot less work. Just wondering!

    5 replies
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    AMbros Customgm280

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Yeah there is no doubt that it could be possible without doing this mess but as far as structural integrity comes I think that joint not going to stand last. Things like bench vice exert a lot of pressure during the tightening action and joint will always remains joint no matter what has been done to it. Brazing joint definitely not able to stand no matters how perfectly that would done. The breaking point is at the base of the front jaw and no matter what has been done to this it always brokedown from same area because that week spot lies there. Bench vise produces a clamping force around 1-1.5 ton which is definitely a hell. Braising in this situation definitely didn't stand last because I wanted to make full use of my vise which includes some pretty bad and nasty hits not because I wanted to break my vise, it's because of the kind of work. It's not good to start a rescue mission in the middle of some other project which is already running. If the joint is somewhere else in the bench vise I would say you are damn right but in this situation it still remains a week section and going to break and that is not a permanent solution. Permanent solution is to remove that week link, that what I do. Thanks:)

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    GofishAMbros Custom

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Welding Cast Iron is done every single day. Very common in foundries. Cast Iron can be gas, TIG or arc welded and Bronze welded using gas, TIG or MIG. Preheat and post heat are recommended.

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    AMbros CustomGofish

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Yeah I am ware of that thing and seen couple of videos on these things which you mention but I am much concerned about this welding at that section, a highly stress developed area, personally says I really don't have trust on this. If you have any idea regarding that thing or have an experience over that I would definitely wanted to hear that. Brazing is awesome but if I do that in my case it definitely breaks within week or so. Structural strength of welding of two different materials always less as compared to similar material.

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    GofishAMbros Custom

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Hello AMbros Custom,
    I agree that where it broke is a very high stress area and by the look of things you like to make stuff bulletproof! That was an excellent repair/rebuild. My comments re: welding. Bronze welding with Tobin Bronze and a Cast Iron flux was the best means for many years and good Bronze is at least as strong as steel and tougher with a higher modulus of elasticity and like all welds needs proper joint preparation. Old cast iron piston rings make good filler rods for gas as they have a fairly high % of Nickel and Silicon. I've found the key to a good Cast Iron weld is joint prep, pre heat and post heat and peening, an air chisel with a needle scaler works well. Brazing is far too weak as the grain structure of Cast Iron and the free Carbon does not allow a proper bond.
    At the end of the day your fix was permanent so time well spent.

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    AMbros CustomGofish

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thanks mate for the info, in future I definitely consider this info in my repair builds.

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    Gofish

    4 weeks ago on Step 13

    I have had a similar style 6" vice that has seen much hard work over the past 30 odd years and still good.
    It may be that yours was crap iron or had a casting and/or design defect but the usual reason for vice breakage is abuse. 'Cheater' bars/pipe on the handle and whacking the handle with a FBH are the usual reasons.
    Reading the comments indicates that there are some cheap duds on the market.

    1 reply
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    AMbros CustomGofish

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Yes you are right, and the day it breaks down I tighten it just by my hands, nothing additional thing used for the leverage and I think if vise broke down in such situations it's definitely the manufacturing defect. I recently saw a video of fireball tools in which he breaks down the vise by doing a test, but the amount of abusing done by him is really extreme and then it fails. That definitely tells that what a quality needs to be......

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    espdp2

    4 weeks ago

    I had the same vise, and it broke the exact same way when my son was using it.

    1 reply
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    monte7101

    4 weeks ago

    Howe about telling us that brand name so we can avoid the same situation?
    Thank you,

    1 reply
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    ardu11

    4 weeks ago

    Very good job... I had the same vise and had the same problem. Unfortunately I had to replace it because I had not seen your very good explanation before.
    Congratulations, you are really good.
    GS

    1 reply