Thursday , February 22 2018
Home > Mill Projects > Free Metalworking Project Plans: Toolmaker’s Screwless Vise (Mill)

Free Metalworking Project Plans: Toolmaker’s Screwless Vise (Mill)

Material: Steel Units: (in)

Here's a nice set of plans for a Toolmaker's Screwless Vise. A vise like this is handy to have, and I even used one to make the jaws for the Tapping Fixture.


This is a somewhat advanced project for the mill, and should be constructed from a suitable grade of steel (to ensure that it will provide you with years of quality service). If you have the ability to do so, you may even consider hardening the vise once you've completed it.


The 3 Page PDF file is available for download below.

  Toolmaker's Screwless Vise (122.0 KiB, 3,676 hits)

[adrotate group="4"]

About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.

Check Also

Shop Tip: EZ Tap Guides

Russ shows us his handy tap guides that are easy to make and convenient to have!


  1. Hello Sir,

    I really appreciate your knowledge & it nice to see the posting the Screwless Vise DRAWING.

    I am also looking out to get one screwless vise. As we know that high accuracy, downward clamping force, low cost are some substantial features of SCREWLESS VISE. But i have a technical question regarding it. It goes as under.

    This type of Vise clamps the part only at specific intervals (because grooves are provided in the base jaw).

    So,Is it possible to clamp a shaft of dia 1.7 mm into this vice without providing any parallel blocks (between shaft & the moveable jaw)?


    Please let me know asap.

    Thanks for your time.                                                                                                                                                                             


  2. Hi Asish, there are small groves (one vertical, the other horizontal) in the movable jaw that would allow you to clamp small round bar stock effectively. Larger stock would benefit from a small v-block. I hope that answers your question. Welcome to the site!

  3. French4JohnWayne

    Thanks, Tyler!  I needed a small precision vise in my shop here at work, and this is perfect for the uses I have.  I managed to make the entire vise from scrap laying around the shop (I work at a large corporation that makes circuit breakers and such, in a prototyping lab).  I was able to make this piece in between jobs coming in from the engineering department to which I’m attached, and it only took a couple of weeks of freeing up a bit of time here and there to finish.  Since I had scrap metal to work with, I adjusted most of the dimensions to suit the metal on hand, but the plans were invaluable in getting the layouts correct.


    The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to space the row of holes for the crossbar more tightly.  I have some gaps in the travel as a consequence, and I have had to insert some spacing material in between the jaws and the pieces being held, but it still grips like a beast!  I also left the crossbar a little longer in order to make it easier to grab for quick changes, but I stuck to the design otherwise.


    Here are a few images I shot of it.  Thanks again!



    2013-03-19-11.21.41.jpgImage Enlarger

    2013-03-19-11.20.54.jpgImage Enlarger

    2013-03-19-11.21.19.jpgImage Enlarger

  4. French4JohnWayne

    I’ve also considered adding a sliding vise stop to the top, by cutting a groove perpendicular to the main axis of the vise and dovetailing it, then adding a mating piece onto the assembly that can be removed easily.  It would clamp down (two halves, and the dovetail would be the clamping area) and then protrude over the front jaw in order to place items in the vise quickly and maintain high repeat-ability and accuracy.  What do you think?

  5. Hi French4JW, excellent work! It looks like you had a surface grinder on hand to achieve a nice finish and grind everything nice and parallel. Nice job.

    One thing you might consider adding is a second V groove in the moveable jaw. One parallel to the spindle (perpendicular to the existing V groove). Sometimes it’s nice to be able to chuck a round piece upright, and the vertical V groove facilitates this.

    You bring up an interesting idea for a vice stop. The only downside I can see is the dovetail filling with chips. Another method would be to drill/tap a hole through the fixed jaw parallel to the jaw face and use that to hold a stop that consists of two cap screws held together by a third piece. Something like this:


    Otherwise, excellent work!

  6. French4JohnWayne

    That’s not a bad idea in general, but I have had issues with threaded-type stops moving occasionally.  I wanted to find a way to lock it down a bit tighter.  I could actually do both and compare, I suppose.  


    And yes, I have a pretty well-stocked shop:  2 Bridgeports, a really old mill that is rock-solid and I cannot remember the name of it now…a Hardinge collet lathe, a standard 4-jaw chucked lathe,  a Hardinge horizontal mill, a nice old Do-All bandsaw and 2 surface grinders, a Brown and Sharpe and some other one I also cannot remember the name of.  Throw in a couple of bench grinders and belt sanders, and you have a decent shop to play…I mean WORK in, lol.


    Pretty much anything I need to do I can manage so far, but I keep pushing myself to find new projects I have to finagle a way to engineer a solution for!

  7. This looks like just what I need!

    Thanks very much for this, but is there any chance of having the CAD plan? I want to convert to metric and scale it up a bit
    and it will save me redrawing it?

    I can cope with most formats but DXF is pretty common? (I use TurboCAD 20)




    Chris Parsons

  8. Sorry Chris, I don’t have any CAD files for this. But if you rework the plans I’d be grateful for your metric copy!

  9. Tyler said
    Sorry Chris, I don’t have any CAD files for this. But if you rework the plans I’d be grateful for your metric copy!

    I had a go at producing some – see attached


    Be aware that I have not tried to produce a vice from these plans so they might want checking?


    I will have a go at creating a vice from them, if they need any corrections I will post them here – if you want the plans in a different format let me know? The ZIP file is of a DXF, for some reason DXF upload format is not allowed?





  10. Yea, I have the forum set up to allow certain file times via a whitelist – it’s easier than a blacklist. I’ve never added .dxf to the list so zipping it was the best option. Thanks for sharing the plans!