Low Profile Vise w/ metal quick change jaws

A second look at StickVise™

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Alex Rich's Stickvise ( is exactly what I needed. Well, not THAT exactly :)

I liked the idea of the Stickvise very much, as I soldered that way for years: Pushing PCB´s around my workbench. Nowadays I often use a regular vise, but that's not too ergonomic for your wrists and arms...

Buying a Stickvise was out of question, even if 30$ is a really competitive price (though shipping to Germany would double that I guess). Plus I really don't like these 3D-printed plastic "jaws" all that much. I wanted:

  • metal jaws
  • a "quick change system" for the jaws
  • a way to open the jaws by a pinching motion between index finger and thumb

So I built my own solder vise which in fact looks a lot like the original. All three "main parts2 are made of aluminum and are 30x 15x 100mm in size. The rod is 6mm stainless steel and 250mm long. As aluminum/steel is not the best-sliding combination I made two brass sleeve bearings Ø6[H7]x Ø10x 15mm which are glued in place.

The two guiding rods are fixed by M3x 5mm setscrews in the movable jaw. On the other side, I tapped a M3 thread. Screws with washers stop the movable jaw from sliding out too far.

Now to the jaws. They had to be changeable. Quickly and without tools. We had 16x 5mm cold-rolled steel lying around at the machine shop, so I constructed with that. As I do not like to unscrew jaws just to be able to hold this or that, magnets came to my mind. Ø8x 2mm N50 neodymium are cheap and can hold 1,8kg each. Three of them are countersunk in each jaw. They are glued in place and are exacly flush with the metal surface:

You now just slide the jaws out a little to one side so you can grab them, turn them around to the needed groove and just stick them back in. Easy as that! Drawback: You can't print your changeable jaws at home, you have to have access to a mill. Anyway: these will last a long time.

The steel-multi-jaws will have four different grooves (but only have one at the moment):

The 0,5mm deep groove is perfectly suited to hold PCB´s which have parts mounted very close to their edges as shown with an Arduino UNO board.

The clamping is done with a brass rod with a radius of 7mm to prevent indents on the stainless steel rod.

This is the semi-finished SolderVise:

  • 2 × Aluminium bar 30x 15x 100mm EN-AW 6060
  • 2 × Cold rolled steel bar 16x 5x 100mm S235JR
  • 1 × Stainless steel rod 6x 250mm
  • 2 × Stainless steel rod Rd.6x 45mm
  • 2 × Brass sleeve bearing Rd.6x Rd.10x 15mm

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  • Not yet there...

    Jan03/12/2016 at 14:44 0 comments

    I nearly finished my second design, but only in CAD. Thing is: I modified my first design so I only need a minimum of tools to build the new version. Most importantly no mill. Milling stuff always takes some time.

    One early hint: what if you could cut metal with light?

  • Off to the second build!

    Jan03/05/2016 at 13:06 1 comment

    The first vise just turned into a present for a friend who solders and builds stuff a lot too. I think the second revision will be ready by the next weekend.

    I have a few things in mind I want to do differently. Stay tuned :)

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Martijn wrote 02/28/2016 at 17:55 point

Nice, those magnets are good idea.

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Alex Rich wrote 02/28/2016 at 17:12 point

This is sweet!  You have definitely made some nice upgrades.  That's the beauty of building something yourself from scratch!  You should consider making some insulating jaws too, you will find you like holding your PCBs in the vise even when you're not soldering - it is great for situations when you have a bunch of wires hanging off and you are probing/testing.

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Jan wrote 02/28/2016 at 18:04 point

You´re right. I used the vise for PCB soldering the other day and I had to put it on the table again for probing and testing... That really annoyed me. I think I´ll get my jaws powder coated.

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