Metal chips often lock up the screw and nut mechanisms on manual vises mounted to milling machines. When this happens, I must dismantle the assembly and clean it, wasting valuable machining time.
To eliminate this hassle, I use a custom-made guard that deflects chips off the vise.
I drill and tap 1/4-20 holes in the top of the vise at the front and back. I then mill a 0.250-in. slot in a piece of 8-in.-long, 0.060-in.-thick steel. The slot is 5-in. long (maximum jaw opening), 0.500 in. from the edge of the steel, and on center.
Using 1/4-20 screws, I attach the steel piece to the vise and bend it over the jaw edges to cover the vise's side openings. For the back jaw, I bend a small piece of steel 90° over the back of the vise to protect that end.
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Winner for July 2005: Tony Grant, "A shim-stock organizer," p. 60.