Diversity of variants – Not just a “question of faith”
Other variants of vices are, for example, the bottle, mini and the traditional parallel vice. The miniature versions of these clamping tools are often used in the hobby sector. But they are also trendy in model making and precision mechanics, as you can fix tiny parts quickly.
The size, shape and type of workpiece are therefore decisive in deciding which clamping device to use, in addition to the application.
Types of machine vices
Mechanical design with threaded spindle
As once invented in early times: A manually operated clamping device in which a loose, movable jaw is tightened against a fixed clamping jaw via a threaded spindle. Between them is the workpiece. The operation mode is the same as that of a simple design that you can find on any functional workbench.
Machine vice hydraulically supported
The mode of operation is the same as the one mentioned above. However, when the loose jaw is closed and it reaches resistance (workpiece) after about half a turn, the mechanism is locked. A hydraulic cylinder assists in turning the clamping lever on the vice. The required pressure can be adjusted so that the workpiece will not crush. With this technique, it is possible to apply several tons of pressure.
A hydraulic clamp’s function is the same as described above, except for the lack of a mechanical spindle. Here, you use pure hydraulic force, which you can also adjust finely. The medium used to “exert pressure” is hydraulic oil, which generates clamping forces of over 5000 kg.
The pneumatic clamp works in the same way as the hydraulic clamp mentioned above. The only difference between the two clamping devices is the type of medium used. If the hydraulic vice uses oil as a pressure aid, the pneumatic vice uses air.
How does “it” work?
With this clamping technique, you clamp the workpiece between the two jaws. There are vices where one of the jaws is fixed and the other is movable. Still, different types of clamping devices, such as centring vices, have two movable jaws. Generally, the jaws’ distance is reduced by the threaded spindle, moving the spindle by a rod or a crank.