DIY Machinist’s Angled Vice Parallels
Machining angles on parts is an everyday task in most machine shops. Some basic examples are milling a specific angle on a part, putting a quick chamfer or lead in on an edge or simply milling a flat and then drilling a hole at an angle. Regardless of what you are doing, creating a holding fixture that is solid, repeatable and accurate is generally a time consuming process.
The use of sine bars and adjustable angle plates are two of the more common methods used for setting up work pieces but these generally mean the removal of all other vices and fixturing on your mill table. Then going through the clocking in and angle setting process, this all takes time and the equipment needed can quickly add up cost wise.
For some jobs there is another alternative though and its quick to setup, cheap, repeatable and makes use of your machine vice. Angled Parallels. These work on the same principal as normal machinist parallel except instead of being square they are cut at specific angles. At Ozo Tools we use these on almost a daily basis, for everything from chamfering to production parts like our Blacksmiths Guillotine Tool- Side Cut Dies.
Side Cut Dies, machined using angled parallels.
The best part? You can make these at home or outsource them to a local laser or plasma cutter and they should cost you less than £10/$15 for a set! Now we should point out, if your making parts that keep planes in the sky and you need accuracy of 0.01 of a degree then these aren’t for you, but for day to day job shop work they are more than good enough for most jobs. To give you an idea, we outsource these to our local laser cutters, their machines cutting accuracy is a tolerance of 0.1mm(0.004″) on any dimension, when you work out the resulting angle tolerance I would suggest a lot of machinists would struggle to measure any discrepancy.
Drawing the parallels in Fusion 360
We drew and drafted the parallels in Autodesk Fusion 360 (free to download and use for hobby users). Our standard angles are 15, 30, 45 degrees with built in stops and a 10 degree parallel that you can use in conjunction with the other parallels. We are making all our drawings available free of charge including a cutting package that you can send off to any cutter.
If you would like a copy of the drawings and cutting package please fill in the form below and we will send you an email with parts attached.
If you would prefer just to buy some, you can find them in our store here.
For anyone still reading, just a few final thoughts:
- You can easily change the drawings to make an angle you need.
- The draftings are not full working drawings and are intended to let the cutters check the DXF scale when importing into their software.
- These are great if you have an awkward job were your know the parallels need to be sacrificial.
- Plasma cutting is an option but we prefer laser cut parts for accuracy.
- These are free to distribute for non commercial use, basically feel free to make and use them, but don’t make them to sell.