I have a shapeoko pro and I’ve started machining aluminium. I’m looking for a low profile vice like the one for the nomad to use for work holding. Any recommendations? Ideally I’d like it to just slot into the hybrid table if possible.
If the Nomad one is the right size, all you need is a plate to mount it on with holes for the screws that line up with the t-slots.
You have the robot to make it, you just have to imagine, design and machine what you want.
I see that the modular vise from Saunder Machine Works is a popular choice for metal work.
I guess it depends on how much money you want to spend on it, how often you want to cut aluminum vs. other material, how complex of parts you want to make, etc.
The Saunders Machine Works vise is an incredible investment. I would say it massively elevated the quality and consistency of the aluminum parts I could produce on my Pro. One incredibly useful feature is that it is basically self-indicating. That is, once you have the plate(s) probably aligned to your gantry then each time you install the vise, it is square to the cutting. This makes it possible to flip parts and have the same alignment (although edge finding is another issue but that’s completely unrelated to the vise).
You would want at least one fixture plate and one vise set. The talon grips are really nice addition to it as well. If you went all out on a Pro XXL you could spend $2,500 (or more), which is getting a tad pricey.
I would also caution that you should really think about how you are going to use the vise. I was using double sided tape/tap + glue before upgrading to the SMW setup and it was a big change in how I worked.
I, personally, wouldn’t want to setup jobs in my precious vise using Carbide Create. Fusion 360 is so much better because you can include the vise as a “fixture” in the setup and it will check for collisions with the vise during simulation. Fusion is also much more flexible in having multiple setups for the same part (e.g. adaptive clear down to 3mm from the bottom of the stock, flip the part over and then adaptive clear that last 3mm from the top) which I just don’t think CC can handle.
Also, as soon as you move to using a vise, you’ll most often have your stock elevated above your table. That can change how you want to cut through parts. Aka, the middle of the stock is just sitting in air. This is most important on thinner stock. It’s good to understand what you’ll want to do to avoid buyer’s remorse if it’s hard to do what you want. Furthermore, if you are cutting larger and thinner pieces of aluminum, you’ll end up wanting more than a single vise.
I recently cut parts out of a 6"x6" square of 1/4" aluminum. I used one vise and two of the adjustable sides to secure the part. Using just the single vise caused too many vibrations and ruined the top surface. Again, as you start adding more bits and pieces, the cost adds up!
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