Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Toolbox Giveaway Project

Loyal followers and viewers,

Its been a long time since I put up a written blog posting. For those of you that have been checking back once in a while thank you for hanging in there. Much of my effort goes into the Youtube channel work that I do and I only have so much free energy these days. For more current work you can follow me in the virtual world on Instagram and Facebook.

This particular post is related to YouTube activity as well. Some of you may know a fine gentleman named Keith Fenner. He has a YouTube channel that is responsible for getting me involved in making videos about metalworking, craftsmanship and the trades.

Every year now for the last three years Keith puts together a toolbox with the intent of finding a worthy apprentice/recipient to give it to. He calls this activity "What's in your box?" This has been hugely popular and directly supports young folks getting a foothold in the trades. Candidates or acquaintances of the candidate submit a video nomination for consideration. These candidates are voted on by some of the metalworking YouTube community and the box is awarded to the selected person.

Keith accepts donations during the year of tools and material to fill the boxes so there is an opportunity for lots of folks to participate and contribute to this great cause. A good portion of the tooling items he has put up himself. This it really a powerful demonstration of Keith's dedication to the trade and his willingness to teach and foster younger folks entering the craft. Check out Keith's website for more specific detail and rules for the toolbox giveaway.

As part of this years toolbox giveaway some of the YouTube machinists community have generously volunteered to actually make some handmade tools to contribute to this years TurnWright machine works toolbox giveaway. I think this is an incredible idea and allows many folks that support the trades and the toolbox giveaway idea to contribute something deeply personal like hand crafted tools.

Of course I volunteered to do a project as part of this years giveaway. I recently announced the fact on one of my weekly Meatloaf episodes . I let folks know that the project I intended to do was fully designed and ready for fabrication. I stopped short of actually telling what the project would be to the dismay of many viewers I'm sure.

My first problem was deciding what the project would be. There was no particular shortage of small projects offered up by the participants of this years event. The problem that I had was that most of the projects I have done at one point or another in my career. Sure I could do another one of these projects for the toolbox giveaway but I really wanted to do something unique that would be challenging and of high interest to the metalworking community. Also it needed to be small enough that any reasonably equipped shop could follow along and make their own with a little Yankee ingenuity. What follows is the description and plans for the 2015 toolbox giveaway project.

Who doesn't like a Wilton bullet machinist vise? I don't know too many folks that do not appreciate a high quality bench vise. Every shop should have at least one high quality bench vise in it. Until you have used one its hard to quantify the differences in performance and the sheer pleasure of using one.

Anybody that follows my work on YouTube, Instagram and now Facebook will know that I really love using and collecting tools. Bench vises are no different. I had the pleasure of using a good Wilton vise many years ago when I was learning the trades. Once you have gone Wilton you can never go back. Needless to say I have a minor collection in my shop. Here is a short history of the Wilton vise company written by kc-Steve over on the Garage Journal forum. The Wilton vise company is a real American success story.
Here is a shot of part of the harem of Wilton vises in my shop. There are actually a couple more but getting them all into a single picture would have involved some disassembly. 

This brings us to the subject of the actual project. We are going to fabricate a copy of the iconic Wilton Bullet vise from scratch. How the heck are we going to do that is the first thing that popped into many readers heads just now I'm sure. 

Just to be clear this is a welding fabrication and machining project. Unfortunately for all the iron casting fans out there we won't be doing any iron casting this week. One of my criteria for the build was that folks with modest home shops could follow along with the build. The blog article is a simple way to communicate the plans to folks that want to build their own. The actual build will be videotaped and posted on YouTube at the Oxtoolco YouTube channel. This video project series will accompany the blog article and document the techniques used and the entire build process.

Wilton vises were built in a huge variety of sizes and shapes. We will focus on the iconic "Bullet" vise design. This is the first and most successful configuration of Wilton vises ever made. Wilton offers a wide range of sizes. From the monstrous eight inch bullet vise with a twelve inch (300mm) jaw opening down to the smallest currently made bullet vise the three inch wide jaw bullet.

There is a particular model of Wilton bullet vise highly prized among Wilton vise aficionados. This particular vise was manufactured in the late fifties into the mid to late 1960's. Marketed to jewelry makers combined with another Wilton invention called the Power-arm. These tiny versions of the bullet design are fairly rare with vises in good condition selling for north of three hundred dollars at the writing of this article. 
I know you guys are not surprised to find out that I have one of these in my collection. You can get a good sense of size and scale in this picture. The jaws of the baby bullet are two inches (50mm) wide. It can open its tiny little mouth to just at two and a half inches (64mm). Just what every toolmaker needs right?
Here is a baby bullet mounted on the omni directional Wilton power arm. This allows you to rotate and position the vise jaws at any angle for doing fine work ergonomically. This is also really handy for welding small parts as you can orient the part favorably for welding. 
Here is the corner on my welding table. I call this setup the NOGA vise after the multi directional indicator arms sold by the NOGA company. This vise can be re-positioned in a huge variety of positions allows access to weld even oddball joint orientations. This vise is a 2-1/2 wide with solid copper jaws. The copper grounding plate can just be seen peeking out the rear of the vise at the base.
Close up of the power arm showing the pivoting ball arrangement. The ball is clamped by shifting the black knob. This pushes a threaded seat up against the ball locking it the desired position. The vise can rotate as well as lay over past ninety degrees as the ball stem goes into the slot. 

How the baby bullet project was conceived. Most projects in my shop start with what I call a chicken sketch. Named after the pattern that would be left if a chicken walked on the paper and left a design behind. Mentally I broke the vise down into all the different elements. Sometimes when a complex project is viewed as a whole it can be a little daunting. When you break it down like this into single parts each part magically becomes manageable.
The next step was to fully disassemble and measure all the baby bullet components. This took a little while to measure and model the vise up in Solidworks.  Measuring swoopy curved castings is not trivial with generally orthographic measuring tools. In this shot I have not added any blending radii to the vise jaws themselves. This is one of the tricky areas of the build. We want it to look like the original but since folks building their own may not have access to look at one first hand there will need to be some "Artistic License"allowed in this area.
Here I have added some radii to the vise jaws. It really changes the look of the model adding a few radii. You can go crazy modeling radii sometimes so I will probably leave it like this for the build. Some of the sharp corners will be naturally filled when the various parts are welded together. The video documentation will answer some of these questions for folks that are following along building their own baby bullet.
Here is a cross section shot showing the internal guts of the baby bullet project. I didn't model the threads on the clamping screw in case anybody was wondering. This is an accurate representation of the innards of a Wilton bullet vise regardless of its size.
All the materials for the project are readily available and common. I will list the McMaster part numbers for each of the pieces with the drawings so folks that want to follow along can easily source the needed bits and pieces.

Here is a link to a public dropbox file folder. You can download the PDF's of the parts of the baby bullet there. You do not need to sign up for dropbox unless you want to. It is a convenient way to get higher quality documents to the folks that want to build their own vise. Click on the link and select the file you want then at the upper right click on download. As feedback comes in during the build I will most likely add drawing revisions to the folder. These will be the normal drawing format of rev A, B, C etc. Hopefully I have captured most of what is needed to build the vise.

Baby Bullet Project PDF Drawing Link Click Here

I plan to build one of these vises complete on camera for the 2015 Keith Fenner toolbox giveaway. I have had a number of folks step forward and offer to volunteer their time and equipment to help with whatever project I finally decided on. Depending on the resources of the volunteers there may be an opportunity for many folks to participate in this really honorable cause and project.

I hope you follow along with the project and build your own vise for the pure fun of it. Please comment and test all the links for me.

Thanks for looking.

Tom Lipton


30 comments:

  1. Tom I downloaded the files no problem. Looks like a good project I might build one some day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Bill,

    Thanks for testing the links and leaving a comment.

    Best,

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Tom,

    I love watching your videos, and I'm considering building a vise like this for myself based on these plans (I don't have a mill or welder (or substantive machining skills :) ), but I hopefully can justify an inexpensive welder at some point, and could conceivably replace the mill with files and saws and determination).

    I was curious if you'd be able to break down the nifty powerarm base as well, because I'm curious how that mechanism works inside. I've never seen one in person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacob,

      I may get to the powerarm at some point. I will try to show it a little closer on one of my meatloaf videos. Thanks for the comment.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      Delete
  4. tom
    watching your vids makes me want to go out and buy some iron
    don h

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Don,

      Don't let me get in your way. He who dies with the most tonnage wins. Thanks for the comment.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      Delete
  5. Tom,

    This looks like a great project, I think I'll build along with your videos. Any chance I could get the SW models? I have a student seat of SW and like to model all of my projects before building, comes from years designing in SW, helps me visualize the finished part.

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  6. G'day Tom,

    Great little vice you have there.
    Just wondering though if you have drawings for the nut and the moving jaw.

    Cheers,
    Darren.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Darren,

      I put the missing drawing for the moving jaw up. Thanks for the heads up. The nut is a commercial part shown in the parts list. Also I added the Solidworks models of the vise in a separate folder there.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      Delete
    2. Hey Tom,

      I am following in sync with the series of videos. How is the coupling nut going to be modified to fit with the nut carrier? Thanks!

      Daniel

      Delete
    3. Hi Daniel,

      Good catch. I realized that I didn't have a drawing for the nut in the package of drawings. I'll get that uploaded shortly. Really quickly the hex acme nut will be turned round to fit nicely in a hole in the nut assembly. It will be secured by silver soldering or TIG welding the end of the nut to the assembly. Hope this helps.

      Best,

      Tom

      Delete
    4. Hi again Tom,

      Thanks for the helpful reply. I was thinking of turning it and cross-drilling two opposite holes with the nut in place in the nut carrier while held inside the base tube somehow. Haven't figured out that last step... yet. :)

      Take care,

      Daniel

      Delete
  7. my approach to the baby bullet
    http://hamlertools.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-few-pantograph-projects.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Paul,

      Thanks for the link. Those are a couple of really cool bullets you have there. I would love to see more of your process making those.

      All the best,

      Tom

      Delete
    2. Tom go to my picture folders and click on miniature wilton vise.http://hamlertools.smugmug.com/

      Delete
  8. Hi Tom,

    A potentially useful addition to the project would be a bench clamp base - the small Wilton vice on the UK Amazon site has one, and for a lightweight vice such as this it would extend its versatility for those who have to (as I currently do) steal a section of kitchen counter top for light-weight work.

    The video series has been great so far, and when you look at the cost of a new Wilton of this kind of size, the time taken to make it becomes suddenly very worthwhile for the home machinist.

    Regards,

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mark,

      A few folks have asked about the Power-Arm for mounting the vise. I'll see how I feel about the project when the vise part is done. Thanks for the comment.

      Cheers,

      Tom

      Delete
  9. Hi, great blog I can't find a "follow" button on it, if its not too much trouble to add I would like to follow.
    http://mishoptoolsinventions.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. G'day Tom , another bloke who loved the wilton vise build, I'd love to see your take on the powerarm as well!

    Cheers, Ash

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley,

      A few folks have asked about the Powrarm. I ended up buying a new one for the project. Need to move on to other projects. I had a great time building the Baby bullet but need to get back on the etching press.

      All the best,

      Tom

      Delete
  11. We are the Manufacturer and Supplier of Wide Rage of Gas Welding Products in Delhi India. gas welding equipment, Gas Welding Products Supplier Delhi India,Eectric Welding Equipments Accessories Delhi India. www.safetybazar.com/welding-equipments

    ReplyDelete
  12. Did I miss the two drawings (concave/convex) for the milling movements for the back of the jaw?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.
    Liquid Level Sensor

    ReplyDelete

  14. Nice Blog.
    The content of this blog is very good and useful.
    Welding gage

    ReplyDelete
  15. This was a tremendous series. So much potential with skill and basic tools!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for sharing such Android tool for free of cost. Your site always offers a great dear in this concern....
    Apk file download

    ReplyDelete
  17. Easy readable post with many important information. I must back again for something new. Keep up posting and share with us. Thanks for your great staff....
    Safety Spray Shields

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great blog and I love what you have to say and I think I will tweet this out to my friends so they can check it out as well. I like what you have to say.
    Paddle Wheel Flow Meter

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is really an important blog with many helpful information. I have been searching for a long time for this types of content. Keep up posting more and thanks for your great staff.
    Battery Operated Ultrasonic Level Sensor

    ReplyDelete