Stretching the Boundaries Yet Again (Surface Grinding Shapeoko)

Here is a hardened steel (Rc 65) Toolmaker’s Vise that I finished Ground on my Shapeoko:

Note: ALL surfaces are ground square, parallel, etc. (My tolerance was +/- 0.00025")

Check out my IG for lots more photos and videos (JPL_Richard)

If you’re interested in the story, continue reading:

About 30+ years ago, I was given an unfinished 752 Vise Body. It was pre-machined, heat treated and tempered to 65 Rc. Missing was the jaws, lead screw (of a proprietary thread pitch), and the jaw retainer. When I was working in a machine shop I could never find enough (personal) time to work on this vise, so it sat.

Along came the Shapeoko 3 and while I knew I could make the missing jaw parts, the lack of a lathe and grinder kept this project out of reach. One day @ApolloCrowe (you remember that guy?) told me about a Tool Swap meet. At the show, I found a thread gauge and found out the proprietary thread was actually a 32TPI…and THIS moment was the starting point.

If I could make the lead screw, maybe I could tackle the rest of the parts…even the grinding (on the Shapeoko). I determined that the thread OD was somewhere between 5/16 and 9/32. I bought a 5/16-32 adjustable die and practiced. on some soft steel. When I finally figured how to make the correct size, I then I purchased some grade 8 bolts (to use as bar stock). I annealed them to a soft state and then threaded two of them, and kept the best one. I then re-heat treated it and tempered the lead screw to 40-45 Rc (Rockwell C Scale)
Using an old index tool I made last year, I used it to mill a straight knurl on the lead screw as will install a ball plunger to add tension to the dowel pin handle.

Now I was ready to tackle the vise!! I have seen far too many toolmakers who have lost one or the other jaw, I also decided to forgo the two piece jaw design of a single jaw (longer that the short jaw, but shorter than the stand long jaw. I purchased a foot of O1 tool steel, and using my power hack saw (another Shapeoko project) I lobbed of a piece. I decided that 0.010” extra material all around was enough to allow for grind, so I designed the finish part in Fusion360, then scaled the part to 101.14 percent.

Once the jaw was finished machined I made a redneck Heat Treat Oven out of a few fire bricks. Heated the material to 850ºC (1560ºF) I then tempered it at 400ºF to Rc 62-65

Grinding: I purchased some 6mm shank Grinding wheels (40mm Dia x 10mm Thk) Grit unknown, but I guesstimate 36 grit. $1.30 each.

I set up two diamond wheel dressers. One to dress the OD and one to dress and dish the bottom

Setting I picked:

Speed: 12,000rpm
Feed 11 to 20 inches a minute (travel)
Down feed between strokes 1mm
Depth of cut: 0.002” (max)

Commerically available B&S Vise: (Note the new corner relief for the jaw)

My Vise (Ground to within 0.0003") Ealier designs never had a corner relief, they (and mine) were ground square)


I tried to like this post 3 times, but the best I can do is one like and one “AMAZING WORK RICH!!!”

Heat treatment oven from some fire bricks a torch and a thermocouple? Where do you get these ideas???


Thanks, this machine continues to impress even me!

Well, as an old guy, I was taught to heat treat using a just color chart to determine temperature (and just fire bricks), so adding a thermocouple is a BIG step up for me. PS Once the oil is washed off, the kitchen oven (with a thermocouple) is a great place to temper metal…when the WIFE is away…


So much awesomeness to take in here. Curious how you set up the toolpath for the knurling using the index tool. Did you have to rerun a single gCode file each time you moved the index or is there something more clever at play there?

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Nothing crafty or fun about a manual index head (homemade or purchased) it’s run the program, index, repeat. Now if GRBL and @Jorge can sell a 4th axis…then I’ll make that thing dance (I promise).

Would be keep to see that! Was just idly pondering if it would be faster to do something like a loop with a tool change (in which the tool isn’t changed - just a way of pausing) than run the program again and again.

Loops and pauses are easy to program, but for me, it is a safety concern, since I need to manually index the well, indexer with my big fingers, and with a mild case of ADD, I am seldom doing one thing at a time…

I SOOOOO want a 4th axis…even if it is just an indexer and not capable of simultaneously machining…


Must be imagination day for me. Mechanical or electromechanical advancing indexer that gets advanced by a carriage move to the far end of the X axis or some such?

I believe there would be a real market for these. I can’t find anything under 4".
And if it wasn’t for the warranty, I was thinking one could add connectors to thier Y motor leads so they could swap the leads (one of them, the other idle i suppose), and reconnect the lead to a rotary axis.
All the Y moves would be on the rotary table, like a 4th axis.

Well there’s this:


(similar thing drawn up here recently)