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Why We Build Router Vises

We have been operating a CNC router for the last seven years.  As a hobbyist it worked fine as long as what I wanted could be cut out of a flat sheet and I used enough material to allow the part to be cut out. As soon as I wanted to cut blanks to size on the table saw, which is faster and generally produces better results, the router was not as flexible as I wanted. Having a background in engineering and tool design I started looking for a vise similar to what is used on a milling machine.  The cost was prohibitive at about $500 apiece.  I purchased a pair of low price ones at the local big box store.  They were cast iron, had a limited opening plus the jaws were cast iron.  That iron made me a bit nervous when the bits got close to it. Looking everywhere I could not find a vise similar to what we offer here.  I decided to design and build one. My laundry list of features was substantial: Tool friendly materials that are in the “zone” of the cutting tool. Jaw design that allowed flexibility. Easy operation, no floppy toggle handles hanging out. Low Profile to allow maximum space under the router bit. Replacable parts for when the inevitable happens.
I spent quite a few hours creating a fully detailed and dimensioned CAD design of the vise.   During the design phase it occured to me that I could place a fixed jaw on both ends of the vise so that I could use a normal coordinate system when programming parts. I machined the first parts and began working on the assembly.  That prototype was very instructional.  Back to the CAD program for changes.  One of the changes was the switch to Acme threaded rod.  Standard all thread ran very rough making it difficult to move the jaw with ease. Other obvious things became clear.  Why not recess screws used on top of the vise quite a ways below the surface by using counter bores?  They are now 3/8 inch below the surface.  A new style of handwheel was designed. There were several iterations of this process.  The result is the vise plan we are now offering.  It is easy to use.  With the front fixed jaw it is easy to program using it. The edges of this vise are purposely not chamfered or eased.  After the first prototype I realized that sharp edges made it easier to locate workpieces that were not overly critical. We are happy with this version and think you will be too.