What are the main types of milling machine vises

types of milling machine vises

Milling machine vises are essential tools used in machining operations to securely hold workpieces in place while they are being milled, drilled, or otherwise machined.

These vises come in various types, each designed for specific applications and offering unique features. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the main types of milling machine vises, their characteristics, advantages, and best use cases to help you make informed decisions when selecting the right vise for your milling machine parts needs.

What are the main types of milling machine vises

  1. Standard Milling Vise:Standard milling vises, also known as plain milling vises, are the most common type of milling machine vises. They are versatile and suitable for a wide range of milling operations. These vises have flat, parallel jaws that can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically to securely hold workpieces of different sizes and shapes. Standard milling vises are typically made from cast iron or steel for durability and stability.
    • Advantages:
      • Versatile and suitable for various workpiece sizes and shapes.
      • Offers both horizontal and vertical adjustment.
      • Robust and durable construction.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • General milling operations.
      • Holding workpieces with regular or irregular shapes.
  2. Swivel Base Milling Vise:Swivel base milling vises are similar to standard milling vises but come with a swiveling base. This feature allows the vise to be rotated horizontally, making it easier to machine workpieces at different angles. The swivel base is usually graduated, enabling precise angle adjustments. These vises are commonly used for tasks that require angled milling or drilling operations.
    • Advantages:
      • Enables machining at various angles.
      • Graduated swivel base for precise angle adjustments.
      • Versatile for angled milling operations.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Angle milling and drilling operations.
      • Machining bevels or chamfers.
  3. Tilting Milling Vise:Tilting milling vises, also known as angle vises, are designed to hold workpieces at precise angles for machining. Unlike swivel base vises, tilting vises allow both horizontal and vertical tilting. This feature is beneficial for creating complex angles or for tasks that require compound angles. Tilting milling vises are often used in applications such as tool and die making.
    • Advantages:
      • Allows both horizontal and vertical tilting.
      • Ideal for creating complex angles.
      • Suitable for compound angle machining.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Precision angle milling and drilling.
      • Machining complex geometries with specific angles.
  4. Machine Vises with Quick-Release Mechanisms:Some milling vises come equipped with quick-release mechanisms that allow for rapid clamping and unclamping of workpieces. These vises are designed for efficiency and productivity in high-volume machining environments. The quick-release feature minimizes setup time and increases machining throughput.
    • Advantages:
      • Rapid clamping and unclamping of workpieces.
      • Increased productivity in high-volume machining.
      • Reduced setup time.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Mass production environments.
      • Tasks requiring frequent workpiece changes.
  5. Screwless Vises:Screwless vises, also known as toolmaker’s vises, do not have traditional screw-based clamping mechanisms. Instead, they rely on a wedge or clamping mechanism that tightens the jaws when a lever or handle is operated. These vises are known for their precision and repeatability, making them suitable for fine machining operations.
    • Advantages:
      • High precision and repeatability.
      • Suitable for fine and delicate workpieces.
      • Quick and easy clamping.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Precision machining of small or delicate parts.
      • Tasks demanding high repeatability.
  6. Hydraulic Milling Vises:Hydraulic milling vises use hydraulic pressure to clamp and unclamp workpieces. They offer a significant clamping force, making them suitable for heavy-duty machining applications. Hydraulic vises are often used in conjunction with CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines where automated clamping is required.
    • Advantages:
      • High clamping force.
      • Suitable for heavy-duty machining.
      • Automation compatibility with CNC machines.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Heavy machining operations.
      • CNC machining with automated clamping needs.
  7. Self-Centering Milling Vises:Self-centering milling vises, also known as universal vises, are designed to automatically center the workpiece when clamped. They have movable jaws that adjust to the workpiece’s shape, ensuring even clamping pressure on irregularly shaped parts. These vises are convenient for quickly setting up and machining various workpiece geometries.
    • Advantages:
      • Automatically centers workpieces.
      • Suitable for irregularly shaped parts.
      • Quick and convenient setup.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Machining parts with irregular shapes.
      • Rapid setup and machining of various workpieces.
  8. Magnetic Milling Vises:Magnetic milling vises use magnets to hold ferrous (magnetic) workpieces in place. They eliminate the need for traditional clamping mechanisms, making them ideal for thin or fragile materials that could be distorted by traditional clamping methods. Magnetic vises are commonly used in industries such as electronics and small parts manufacturing.
    • Advantages:
      • Securely holds magnetic workpieces.
      • Prevents distortion of thin or fragile materials.
      • Quick and easy workpiece changes.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Holding thin or fragile materials.
      • Electronics and small parts manufacturing.
  9. Precision Sine Vises:Precision sine vises are specialized vises used for precise angular workpiece positioning. They feature a graduated sine bar that allows for precise angle adjustments. These vises are often employed in applications like making angular cuts or creating features at specific angles.
    • Advantages:
      • Precise angular positioning.
      • Suitable for creating features at specific angles.
      • Graduated sine bar for accuracy.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Machining tasks requiring precise angular positioning.
      • Creating angular cuts or features.
  10. Kurt Vises:Kurt vises are a well-known brand of milling vises known for their robustness and reliability. They are often used in high-precision machining applications. Kurt vises come in various configurations, including standard, swivel, and tilting versions, offering versatility and precision in machining tasks.
    • Advantages:
      • High-quality construction.
      • Versatile configurations available.
      • Suitable for high-precision machining.
    • Best Use Cases:
      • Precision machining tasks.
      • High-performance machining environments.


selecting the right milling machine vise is crucial for achieving accurate and efficient machining results. The choice depends on your specific machining needs, whether it involves standard milling, angle milling, heavy-duty machining, or high-precision work.

Understanding the various types of milling vises and their advantages will help you make an informed decision and enhance the overall productivity of your machining operations for more information click here.


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