Maker's Vise

One Vise to Rule Them All!

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We hope to have a completed design by October, 2017.

A lightweight and versatile general purpose hobby vise.

We have a number of design goals for The Maker's Vise :
1. Clean -- The need for lubricants are eliminated by employing specialized Delrin Bearings.

2. Customizable -- Currently a work-in-progress.. we are building a digital design library for a wide variety of custom jaws that are 3d-printable and would snap/slide easily to our vise.

3. Aesthetics -- A benefit to working with aluminum.. is that once anodized, its surface becomes porous enough to be dyed... printed.. stamped..

4. Mechanical Grip Strength -- It's just not a useful tool if a vise does not hold onto objects securely. This will be a major area of focus of ours.

5. Ease-of-Use -- A makers focus should be on their project, not the tool.

We are currently winding down Revision 2 and are gearing up to work on the third iterative prototype. We will show off Rev2 soon. But, in the meantime...

Check out our first prototype:

  • Still Improving...

    Greg Stephens4 days ago 0 comments

    With a final adjustment made to the bolt angle... we were able to again make an improvement on compression strength.  Now at 3x the original grip force!!

  • The Website

    Greg Stephens5 days ago 0 comments

    I threw together a website for everyone to look at and see what The Maker's Vise has to offer.

    It's got the following pages:

    HomePage  --  Product Description

    Library / Store  --  This is the digital design library I started for custom vise parts.

    About US   --   Our Story + FAQ

    The next step is a big one!  A fun step,.. actually!   It's time to find things that our vise is useful for, and design parts for it.  Send me your feedback!  Let's talk about what would be cool add-ons.  Everything we can add will make The Maker's Vise a better product.

  • New.. Improved..

    Greg Stephens08/07/2017 at 22:40 6 comments

    Wow!  It's been a while since our last log post.  Fear not friends, we have not fallen off a cliff.  We've been working fervently on our design.  

    You may remember that our vise was maxing out at 500 lbs. of reasonable clamping pressure (Link Here).  We promised that most of our design efforts would be focused on bringing this clamping pressure up to a more useful number. least 1,000 lbs or the project would be scrapped.

    We've made it!  The Maker's Vise is turning into a real beast of an apparatus.

    Check out these numbers:

      We're now measuring over 1,200 lbs of reasonable clamping pressure!!  This beats out a majority of the vises we have collected from the open market.  ..which is cause for excitement.

    Today is a good day!

  • Simulating Bearing Strain, Stresses, and Displacement

    Greg Stephens07/07/2017 at 20:43 0 comments

    We wanted to do some rough simulation of our Polyoxymethylene (Delrin) bearings to determine if they can handle the pressure we expect under load! So,.. I learned how to operate SimScale over the course of the last week. Simscale is a rather easy to operate web-based mechanical engineering simulation program.

    We compared our current prototype bearing profile with a hypothesized newer profile with potentially better stress relieving attributes.

    Simulation #1) Current Bearing Profile. 1" Diameter.. Cut 1/4 off at the top.

    Simulation #2) Hypothesized Profile. 1.25" Diameter.. Cut halfway through.


    Young's Modulus: 3.1*10^9 N/m^2

    Density: 1,410 kg/m^3

    Poisson's Ratio: 0.44

    Applied force: 2,000 lbs Normal to flat face.

    Constraints: Round support structure cradling bottom half of bearing

    Total Strain [m/m]

    Notes: A majority of the strain appears to be forming above horizontal diameter.

    Displacement [m]

    Notes: Any surface area not supported is experiencing some displacement. This is a good argument for the half-ball rather than the full 3/4 ball we have now.

    Cauchy Stress [Pa]

    Notes: Cauchy stress indicates the stress experienced during displacement.

    von Mises Stress [Pa]

    Notes: Now this is the plot we're really interested in! The VM stress plot will tell us whether our bearing will break under load. The 1/4 cut 1" ball results in a peak VM stress of approx. 3,000 psi whereas the 1/2 cut 1.25" ball results in peak stress of approx. 2,000 psi.

    Conclusion-- The compression strength of Delrin is approximately 5,000 psi. Our current setup may be getting a little too close to that number for comfort. Cutting the ball in half certainly reduces strain. Increasing the bearing size certainly increases our ability to disperse applied stress.

  • Introducing Our Stock Jaws

    Greg Stephens07/05/2017 at 18:44 0 comments

    Although, we do recommend custom jaws for most applications.. sometimes you just want a brute strength solution.

    Needless to say..

    A quality pair of steel jaws with nice crisp edges are invaluable for applications such as.. bending small brass cutouts into oscilloscope adapters. Click here for tutorial.

    We think these jaws should come standard with the Maker's Vise.

  • Concept Art #5 [3D Model Painter]

    Greg Stephens06/29/2017 at 22:17 0 comments

    I had an idea to make painting 3D printed action figures easy. Make a negative imprint of your model's "feet" and "head". This way you can paint the top, let it dry.. flip it over, then paint the bottom.

    Because the plastic she would be printed from is the same color plastic as the vise jaws.. it looks like she was made as part of the jaws. That wasn't intentional.

    Perhaps a model car or airplane would make a better concept drawing?!

  • Concept Art #4 [Extended Jaws]

    Greg Stephens06/29/2017 at 04:21 0 comments

    I'm not sure how many of you out there wind your own transformers and inductors.. but we do! And, we know how these torroidal shaped iron cores can be difficult to wrap wire around. Our vise aims to make tasks like wire winding easy. I envision our vise having jaw extension attachments, as depicted above, just for jobs like this.

    I'd like to continue making a series of concept images of what our vise will be able to handle with custom jaws. Multiple images a week. If you have ideas for objects you'd like to clamp, please comment or send us a message.

  • Concept Art #3 [PCB Holder]

    Greg Stephens06/27/2017 at 07:42 0 comments

    I am excited about this application! There are too few options on the market ideal for electronics makers. The Maker's Vise is a relatively low positioned vise with many advantages for circuit building.

    Light enough to be portable, yet heavy enough to be stable. It has soft jaws that won't damage your board. And, you can position the vise however you like:

  • Concept Art #2 (Conduit Cutting)

    Greg Stephens06/25/2017 at 21:34 0 comments

    There's a trick to cutting conduit without a vise. You pinch the conduit in the back of your knee as you kneel down to keep it steady as you cut. Though, it's terribly uncomfortable and after a few cuts.. I think you'll agree, it's better to cut conduit using a vise.

    . Or, ideally, use a vise with custom jaws!

    I spent more of my weekend making concept art. Check it out above! I apologize for the puns... I'm so sorry!

  • Concept Art [Ball Pincher]

    Greg Stephens06/25/2017 at 02:58 0 comments

    This is a concept design that I drew up this morning. Because sometimes you need a firm grip on your balls. And, well... custom jaws can get you there.

    I will likely make more of these up in the future with different custom jaw ideas.

    The aesthetics are likely to change. But, this is meant to be our "Kickstarter Edition" of The Maker's Vise. The aluminum would be colored green through interference coloring during the anodize process.. and then, we could surface-dye additional colors using a screen-print.

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Simon Merrett wrote 05/25/2017 at 20:01 point

So that wouldn't help you save time if you had to design and make your own. Oh well, it might be nice to borrow from the mechanism: 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Simon Merrett wrote 05/24/2017 at 19:59 point

I'm sure you've already tried and rejected this but just in case... I really like the way your prototype can quickly slide up and down the notches when the pressure is released. Instead of the allen bolt to tighten, could you use a cam bolt or two bar lever mechanism, like It seems easier to generate force and could use standard parts, perhaps allowing your design efforts to focus on other features (like the fixturing that maybe makes the difference between another vise and a super cool tool). 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Greg Stephens wrote 05/25/2017 at 18:26 point

Hey Simon, that's a fun idea!  A locking lever mechanism would surely make our vise extra simple to operate.  But, I haven't come across anything with enough clamping strength suitable for our vise.   The toggle clamps i've seen, like the one in your example link, fall short with a clamping strength of only around 100lbs.  We'd like our mechanism to have 10x that holding strength.

Thanks for the feedback, i'll keep thinking about it.. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Simon Merrett wrote 05/30/2017 at 18:42 point

Just to pop it down on the project page - a vise powered by any old pair of locking pliers would be cool. Just need to convert the forces and make the adjustments easy/fast. Locking pliers even come with a built-in quick release and fine adjustment of clamping position/force.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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