Chucking out the Chucks?

I realised the other day that I have almost stopped using chucks and vices. When I first got the milling machine (20+ years ago) I spent a lot of time looking for and building milling vices, and similarly on the lathe kept looking for nicer/larger chucks.

But in the last few years nearly all the milling/shaping is done by clamping work pieces directly to the table (either using clamps or stop-pins) , and when you do this you tend to wind up with more solid set-ups, with fewer errors from things slipping, and much more accuracy, and you are not plagued by lifting jaws putting things out of true etc.

Similarly on the lathe I seem to be doing more between-centres work, which I used to view as old fashioned, but I now realise it tends to be more accurate, and you can take a job off the lathe and put it back, and its in the same place!!!

That and the purchase of the ER25 collects and chuck have almost made use of the 3 and 4 jaw chucks a rarity.

I guess if I had had a proper apprenticeship or teachers watching, I would have learnt all this earlier – but none-the-less I am enjoying my improved productivity and accuracy as a result of this change.

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