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Everyone’s done it at one time or another: just “drilling a quick hole” by sticking something on the drill press and holding it there by hand.  And just as it has weith many others (including us), eventually it’ll bite you in the, um, hand.

All sorts of clamps are available to fit the standard slots in your drill press, but we’re partial to the drill press vise; They’re easier to use, and some of them — like this one from Northern — offer the additional advantage of two-dimensional adjustable travel.

Once you’ve clamped your workpiece down in the vise, you can run it fore-aft and side to side with two swivel cranks.  It can travel up to 6-1/4″ sideways and 8″ front to back.

Most of the time we’ve used them just to quickly and accurately register the next hole without having to completely un-clamp, re-position, and re-clamp our work.  The worst part about re-clamping is that half the time the workpiece moves a little when you clamp it down. 

We’ve even heard of some people using these as a “poor man’s” milling machine, chucking up an end mill and using the drill press vise like the mill’s adjustable table.  Sure, it’s not going to be hyper-accurate, but it might be a quick way to cut a slot if you don’t have a mill.

This one’s available from Northern for $63, and they offer other sizes as well.

Industrial Cross Slide 6″ Drill Press Vise [Northern Tool & Equipment]


4 Responses to Finds: Northern Tools Cross Slide Drill Press Vise

  1. PeterP says:

    Thats slick. My dad almost lost a finger when he was drilling holes in a gang nail plate and the bit caught. Very sharp peice of metal with many sharp nails sticking out of it spinning rapidly = not good.

    I’ve actually been looking for a quality shop vice, but havent found anything compelling. Any ideas?

  2. Eli says:

    Unfortunately, because it doesn’t fit all drilling apps, some people don’t bolt these down to the press table, relying on the weight to keep the piece still. Resist the urge to freehand it, and throw at least one bolt in each side. Those handles will flail you right in the chest while you’re bent over if you don’t. (as usual, not that I’d know, right?)

  3. james b says:

    I have one of these that looks like it came from the same castings. The slop on the plated leadscrews is terrible, and it isn’t big enough for both of the hand wheels to hang over the drill press table (read knuckle basher). Plus, if you try to secure this to the drill table with a lag bolt – the only lag bolt that fits my drill table is too fat to fit in the little v-shaped roudned over tabs in the base of this thing. It took a little grinder work to open them up.

    I do like this for doing multiples of the same part. The leadscrews can be locked down tight to avoid the slop, then parts can be put in and removed with some degree of repeatibility. But for doing a line of holes it is easier to unclamp and slide the part than to use the handwheels.

    For safer drilling I made a plywood table and then drill holes for a pin to keep the workpiece from rotating. For thin material I clamp a board(fence) to the table to keep the part from rotating, then use a quickclamp to hold the piece down so it doesn’t run up the drill flutes.

  4. Will Sanders says:

    The slop on these things is nasty. You would be better off to buy a cross slide TABLE and use that for a poor mans mill. The table w/ clamps will run about 150 but will be well worth it.

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