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Old November 14, 2017, 10:02   #1
gunplumber
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Is a Kurt machinist vise really that good?

I'm contemplating "upgrading" from the Taiwanese model I've been using for 15+ years on my Sharp mill. I haven't determined any deficiencies in my current unit (after very light resurfacing), but it's possible I just don't know what I'm missing. I like the Kurt ability to accept alignment gauges.

I'm looking at the DX6 6" crossover. $590 shipped.
The 688 (scratch & dent) model is $690

Kurt claims the DX6 is superior to the more expensive "old" model 688 "in every way we measure a vise"

Thoughts? Or is their an "almost as good" import model for substantially less?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f_rd_i=desktop
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Old November 14, 2017, 10:24   #2
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From my experience ,the biggest thing is when it's in a vise ,it doesn't let go.kurts are good at that.havent used imports so can't say.having interchangeable vise jaws are also nice .if everything is good and square on import and you've been running one for 15yrs,go with what you know
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Old November 14, 2017, 10:30   #3
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I do have trouble on occasion, when cutting in one direction, of having the part lift. Particularly, when due to the nature of the part, I can't crank down on the vise like a gorilla. I assumed this was just normal. If the Kurt reduces that, it will be worth it just for that feature.

I'm glad I paid the big money for my three Wilton shop vises, but I broke one import after another so the quality difference was immediately apparent - making paying 3x more well worth it. On this unit, I don't know.

I'm a gunsmith who had to learn some machining. I am not a machinist who learned gunsmithing. So I'm approaching it from the perspective of "I don't know what I don't know".
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Old November 14, 2017, 11:26   #4
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The advantage of the Kurt system is the not lifting of the movable jaw when cranking the vise down and if your working with raw stock that is worth it to me. THey do clamp very well but not any better than any other quality non kurt type vise like an older Bridgeport or Palmgren. Another advantage is that since Kurt is the industry standard, things like jaws, fixtures, etc are easily found. Parts for Kurt are also easily bought and I imagine they will be in business for a long time.

There are other quality kurt type vises on the market such as Glacern and Orange if you want to check them out, but I have never used them though they seem to have a good following. SOme even use the Kurt type jaws.
I have a Kurt 688 with a swivel base. I also have a Bridgeport vise that works well, but I have to tap the part back down to ensure its square in the vise. Both are leaps and bounds above the old Chinese, tiawan, and INdian vises I started with.

If you have a part that tend to move in the vise due to its shape, sound like you need to build a set of soft jaws for the vise to use when doing that part.
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Old November 14, 2017, 11:32   #5
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I have four Kurts, three D675's and one D688. Never had a problem with any of them in 14 years. Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with any other brand so I can't offer a comparison.

I've realized that there isn't enough time in the world for me to research and make an educated purchasing decision on everything I buy, whether it be machine tools, guns, cars, or waffle irons. So, I try to determine which one is the standard of comparison and go with it. I'd say Kurt is a standard of comparison and you won't be disappointed. In fact, you'll probably be glad you own it up to the day you retire.
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Old November 14, 2017, 12:09   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnsoninWI View Post
I have four Kurts, three D675's and one D688. Never had a problem with any of them in 14 years. Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with any other brand so I can't offer a comparison.

I've realized that there isn't enough time in the world for me to research and make an educated purchasing decision on everything I buy, whether it be machine tools, guns, cars, or waffle irons. So, I try to determine which one is the standard of comparison and go with it. I'd say Kurt is a standard of comparison and you won't be disappointed. In fact, you'll probably be glad you own it up to the day you retire.
^^^^ This. I've seen just about everything done with and to a Kurt vise and it's one of the few things I can recommend without reservation.
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Old November 14, 2017, 15:09   #7
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Kurt vises

I have about twenty of them in my machine shop. The oldest one is around thirty years old and still works like new. I install L1A1 barrels with a Kurt vise by clamping on the flats and twisting on the receiver. Never had one slip yet.
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Old November 14, 2017, 16:04   #8
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I use 4 of the Kurt angle lock cnc vices and 2 of the standard mill vices.

The cnc vices came with the cnc mills so don't really know what they cost but the std Kurts I've had for 30 years and have had no issues with were in the area of 500.00 each.
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Old November 14, 2017, 17:22   #9
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Mark, just get the 6" one. I got one a long time ago and have never needed another. Leave a rubber dead blow on the mill when tightening; give a few taps on the end of the handle and you're good to go. I also made a set of "soft" jaws that I use the most. I put cold rolled bar stock in the mill, then drilled the two holes in each jaw so that they would use the original allen head bolt. Then, using a new carbide end mill, cut a step in the jaws for holding thinner items. Works great. Just get it.

Also, cut a couple pieces of 1/8" thick aluminum the width of your mill table and the length from the end to the vise's base. Just leave them there and they will keep most of the shavings out of the T slots.


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Old November 14, 2017, 20:02   #10
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I have a 675 thats been worth it's weight in gold..Same with the 100+ we had at the plant in IL...Ive replaced lots of seals and bearings in those, but Ive ever seen one go bust.
Personally, I also bought a cheaper import on a swivel base to have a smaller 4" vise..
It was cheap, but what a mistake...Spent days with it on the surface grinder at work truing it all up...Even the hard jaws were ground crooked...
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Old November 14, 2017, 21:33   #11
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We used to have the Import knock offs, slowley traded them in for Kurts and never looked back.
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Old November 14, 2017, 21:40   #12
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No one here ever tried the shars high end Vises. I have an import on the manual and once made quite a few parts on the cnc with the shars high end vice. I could feel a noticeable difference. Busted the handle on the import vice and now the shars handle is on the import vice.

http://www.shars.com/products/toolho...-vise-0-0004-1
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Old November 14, 2017, 23:09   #13
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I'm glad this thread popped up
I am totally sick of dealing with that POS chicom vice that came with my Grizzly mill and have wanted to get another for quite some time
Not working in a machine shop for a living , I had no guidance for a replacement and did not want a higher priced POS with the same issues
I think I'm going to score on one if these Kurt vices and make my life a lot less aggravating
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Old November 15, 2017, 00:37   #14
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Mark - I have been a precision machinist for going on 34 years and spent many of those as the tooling maker on some form of Bridgeport (or copy) with and without CNC controls. I recommend you only buy a Kurt. You and I are of similar ages. One Kurt will last the rest of your life and make you smile instead of curse when you use it. Please check out what I incorrectly call their "toolmaker's vise". This allows you to use it almost as a tombstone. You can stand it on end or place it on it's side. I have various little aluminum clamps and pieces I have made to do specific things. Buy it where you can find it the cheapest this is just an example. https://www.travers.com/modular-vise...ChMIyvXGzOi_1w. Also I recommend getting a real Te-Co clamp set - not as good as they used to be but still the best. https://www.amazon.com/TE-CO-20402PL.../dp/B003HGGS64.
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Old November 15, 2017, 08:52   #15
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Thanks for all the feedback - I ordered it this morning along with a swivel base. Just under $1000, but from the comments ya'll have made, my only regret will be not having done so years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FUUN063 View Post
Also, cut a couple pieces of 1/8" thick aluminum the width of your mill table and the length from the end to the vise's base. Just leave them there and they will keep most of the shavings out of the T slots.
I use a sheet of vinyl floor mat that is cut to fit around my current swivel base. I riveted a couple small lengths of 1/2" bar stock to it, that sit in the T slot holes. Keeps it clean and the ridges in the vinyl help keep things from rolling off.
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Old November 17, 2017, 16:55   #16
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Two Kurts here. A D60 and a 675. Will be getting another Kurt for my new horizontal mill. Would not consider anything else.
For the vertical mill table, two rectangular sheets of plexiglass with a couple of delrin blocks to fit into the t-slots.
Second the Te-Co clamp kits.
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Old November 17, 2017, 22:57   #17
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Mark,
Congratulations on a fine purchase. At my job we have 6 Kurt vices and two junk vises. The Kurt vices are wonderful and easy to get dialed in. Only thing I dislike about them is having to pull them out of the CNC mills because they weigh a ton.
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Old November 18, 2017, 10:17   #18
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I've owned Kurt for decades and if I were to buy a new vise tomorrow, it'd be a Kurt vise.

I have worked with many other vises over the years, and they have verified that buying Kurt was the right idea.

The vise sitting on my mill in the shop is a Kurt.

But, if you think that Kurt will stop parts from lifting, or flying out, then you'd be wrong. It does a great job of holding parts, better then most, but it's still the operator, and how they set up the part, that makes or breaks any vise! Set the part up wrong, even in a Kurt, and your part could possibly be ruined.

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Old Today, 17:49   #19
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I already like how noticeably tighter it is. And after I turned some tight collars for the 5/8" bolts, there is less than 1 degree of wiggle - making re-setting it at 0 degrees much easier (.0007" runout over 3'). I'll be a lot more comfortable using the swivel base without having to lament over how long it will take to get it back to zero. Still need to check head alignment, but I'm not too worried about that having changed.

First project is Popsicle sticks, although I will have to drag out the table saw to get them close to size.


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Old Today, 19:47   #20
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Looks good. You won't regret that purchase.

I've used a Japanese vise taht compares to kurt, but I can't remember the brand. So I use kurt.
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