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Little Machine Shop 2" Quick Vise Review


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I recently purchased the 2" Quick Vise, #1276 from Little Machine Shop. Thought I'd give a quick review. Here's the "executive summary" - DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

 

The vise arrived coated with a thick, sticky preservative. I had to completely disassemble the vise to clean it, which required two sizes of metric hex wrenches. In the middle of the vise, there is a sliding part that has to move backwards and forwards to allow you to tighten the moveable jaw. That sliding part is meant to move backwards, pushed by a small, weak spring, when you turn the handle counter clockwise. Because of the preservative, that slide wouldn't move at all. Hence the need for disassembly. The handle itself is not even attached to the sliding part - it just fits into a hole in the end of it. Before I cleaned the vise, the handle completely unscrewed from the body of the vise and I thought it was broken until I realized how it is meant to work.

 

As can be seen in the picture below, there is a lever on the back of the moveable jaw. It is meant to sit in one of several slots in the sliding piece, allowing for quick widening. Unfortunately, there is no connection between the jaw and the adjusting screw, so when you want to open the vise, the jaw has to be moved back by hand. The machining on the vise is terrible. Neither the sliding piece or the moveable jaw move freely because they are so rough. I'm guessing the vise is made to the lowest possible standards in China although there is no marking of any kind on the vise. As well, the handle is quite thin, making it hard to tighten the vise.

 

post-9862-0-08315600-1474812739_thumb.jpg

 

The worst part of the vise is that the moveable jaw machining is so sloppy, if you just snug it up to the fixed jaw, you can open a 1/16" wide gap at the opposite end of the jaws. (Should be visible in the picture above.) That alone makes it pretty much worthless, but on top of that, it appears that the jaws aren't even machined flat. I clamped a piece of brass bar stock in the vise such that one end was right next to the V in the moveable jaw and the bar stock was fully clamped in the left side of the vise. I tightened the jaw as hard as I could and I was able to easily lift up the left end of the bar stock with my finger. It only clamped in the center so that the bar stock pivoted on the tiny spot where it was clamped. If a vise can't even hold the piece you are working on, it has no value.

 

post-9862-0-51536500-1474813004.jpg

 

So, bottom line, this is a useless piece of junk. The vise costs $39.95 and on top of that is $12.40 shipping. Little Machine Shop's return policy is that if you return it, you get to pay the return shipping and don't get a refund on the original shipping. So if I returned it, I'd be out $25 anyway. Hardly worth the effort for what would amount to a $15 refund. Some time back, I bought an A2Z quick-change tool post for my Sherline lathe and once I modified it to fit, I've been quite satisfied with it. But I definitely am not happy with this vise and would advise anyone to steer well clear of this one. I think Little Machine Shop is doing disservice to their customers and to their business by selling this.

 

Cheers -

John

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If I were you, I would call the shop and ask for my money back.

I have dealt with Little Machine Shop and found that they are more than cooperative if something is wrong.

When I bought their mini mill I also purchased the three inch screw-less vise (#1590) and have had none of the problems you describe.

True, mine is a bit tricky to adjust, but once I learned how, it works great. The dove-tail sides prevent the twisting you mentioned.

Looking at your pictures, I don't think it is the quality control of the part (ground steel surfaces, etc.) but it is the poor design.

Edited by Modeler12
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Sorry but I think that vice was compared to others on their site as being low cost and easy to use, not a machinist or bench vice, so don't expect it to be more than it is. Believe that vice is intended to be roughly set close by hand. It was never intended to be retracted with the tightening screw, only to snug up and release with the screw. Packed in grease, good, there to protect it from rust in the warehouse and during shipping, ever been issued a rifle and had to clean the cosmoline from it. Cosmoline will gum up the works. That vise is not a precision tool, I have one similar on an older power hack saw, it has a pivoting jaw on the adjustable side, never liked the style, but it works. Looks like you got the vise you payed for, just don't understand how it's intended to be used yet, it's not a bench vise and not a precision tool. A little fine tuning with a file and some emery paper might do wonders for it, perhaps using some soft jaw covers would be all you need.

jud

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Sorry but I think that vice was compared to others on their site as being low cost and easy to use, not a machinist or bench vice, so don't expect it to be more than it is. Believe that vice is intended to be roughly set close by hand. It was never intended to be retracted with the tightening screw, only to snug up and release with the screw. Packed in grease, good, there to protect it from rust in the warehouse and during shipping, ever been issued a rifle and had to clean the cosmoline from it. Cosmoline will gum up the works. That vise is not a precision tool, I have one similar on an older power hack saw, it has a pivoting jaw on the adjustable side, never liked the style, but it works. Looks like you got the vise you payed for, just don't understand how it's intended to be used yet, it's not a bench vise and not a precision tool. A little fine tuning with a file and some emery paper might do wonders for it, perhaps using some soft jaw covers would be all you need.

jud

 

You're right - the vise is not designed to allow the jaw to be retracted with the screw and I admit I didn't understand that when I bought it. If I had, I wouldn't have bought it in the first place. Of course, some preservative is necessary, but having to completely disassemble the vise before even being able to use it is a bit of an annoyance and strikes me as a good deal more preservative than really necessary. I was lucky I had metric hex wrenches. A bit of emery paper would not save this thing - not with the jaw being as loose on the base as it is. It wouldn't be worth my time to even try. I made a mistake in buying the thing - I just want to warn others not to do the same. I wouldn't even use it if someone had given it to me, let alone having thrown good money into it.

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If I were you, I would call the shop and ask for my money back.

I have dealt with Little Machine Shop and found that they are more than cooperative if something is wrong.

When I bought their mini mill I also purchased the three inch screw-less vise (#1590) and have had none of the problems you describe.

True, mine is a bit tricky to adjust, but once I learned how, it works great. The dove-tail sides prevent the twisting you mentioned.

Looking at your pictures, I don't think it is the quality control of the part (ground steel surfaces, etc.) but it is the poor design.

 

I don't think the product is defective in the sense that getting another one like would be any better. It's just a poorly designed and poorly made piece of junk. Believe me - it looks a lot better in the pictures than it is in reality. If you tried to slide the jaw back and forth, you'd see how bad it is.

 

I have a screwless vise for my mill, but I wanted a vise for the bench that is easier to adjust with a handle rather than always trying to find the hex wrench. This is not the answer. I have one of the cheap Microlux/Proxxon vises and it's a lot better than this thing.

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Just wanted to follow up that I contacted Little Machine Shop to let them know how unhappy I was with this vise. I got a nice reply from them as seen below:

 

That particular vise is about the smallest and cheapest vise we sell and we make no claims on its accuracy. On the product page what we have listed in the description is the product dimensions and the sentences: “This is our smallest vise. The ratchet device makes it quick to adjust.” That’s about all we could come up with to say about this little vise. This small vise is adequate enough for some to put it to use and be quite happy with it. That said we want you to be happy with your purchases from us. You are more welcome to send the vise back for a full refund, including your original shipping charges. You should be able to put it in a USPS regional rate A box for around $12.  Or, if you cover the shipping to send it back to us we will upgrade you to a 2” screwless vise (item 1591) and ship it out to you upon receipt of the 1276 vise at no extra charge. Please let me know if you would like to proceed with one of these options.

 

I still feel like they should stop selling this thing, but that's their business.

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  • 3 weeks later...

When we decommissioned the Helena CA 75, preserving the guns was a big thing. We used cosmoline in two viscosities, one about like 30 wight motor oil and the other grease.  What we normally painted was repainted, what we could take apart got the grease and anti moisture paper wrap. surfaces a coat of cosmoline. What surprised me was the hydraulics, we drained all systems, refilled with the cosmoline and ran the system until it was warmed up and then drained it again. Recommissioning those systems was done just by refilling with hydraulic oil and running them. Kind of indicates that plain old motor oil would thin the stuff enough to easily clean it off. When I was transferred to ACB-1's Armory, I found 30 call machine guns sleeved for the NATO 7.62 round and M 1s also sleeved. One day a truck backed up to the door and unloaded 600 M-14's with the selector leviers installed plus the maintenance gear carried in the rifle butt, all wrapped in vapor barrier paper and lots of cosomiline, we used diesel fuel to clean those rifles, about 5 months later it was all done over with M 16s. Every man in that battalion was assigned an M-1, M-14 and an M-16 to qualify with and maintain. Never received a turn in order while I was there. Having experience globing it on and removing it, I like the stuff, it does its job and is not the problem many would like you to believe.

jud   :pirate41:

Edited by jud
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