GRS Microblock

Nathan Ott

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Heres another question,

First, do you guys ever get tired of questions?

And second does anyone have experience using the GRS microblock?
http://www.grstools.com/ballvises.html#standard

I'm leaving my current job and shop behind. I own all of my tools except the graver's ball I've been using. I'd say 99% of my engraving is on jewelry (rings, pendants, etc...) at this point so I don't need a large vise, yet. Also since I'm back running my own shop again I'd like to save a little $ on the ball. But I'd like to hear some input about the microblock from someone who's used it before I order one.
 

Marcus Hunt

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The Microblock is small and fits in the hand nicely if you're doing stuff like stone setting, bright cutting, etc., on jewellery. What sort of engraving are you intending to do on jewellery? In my personal opinion though if you're going to be more into engraving than setting, I'd recommend going for the small block. The Micro is great but it's too light for more than occasional engraving and you might find it moving about a bit too much. I certainly did when I was on Todd Daniels' course last year. That being said it is a lovely little tool and for stone setting it's hard to beat.
 

Mike Cirelli

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I second what Marcus says. It definitely moves to easy and is a bit to light to get a solid grip on items.
 

Nathan Ott

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I usually engrave the sides of my rings with leaf patterns, very similar to what many engraver's use for borders. Beside that I'm working on a piece using the "fandango" border Sam shows on igraver. http://www.igraver.com/fandango/index.shtml

So most of the pieces I'm working with are ring-sized. I've been using my brenchmate for the last few weeks, but I have to make sure I am cutting in the direction that tightens the screw thread or eventually the piece will move on me. It's a great tool for setting, but for engraving I think a gravers ball is much better.

I do eventually want try my hand with a few guns, so maybe I'd do better saving a little extra and buying a bigger vise.

One more question though. I noticed Sam uses the Low profile vise for working under the microscope. Is that the only ball that will fit under the scope or is it a matter of the length of your arms?

A scope is the next thing on my list, so I need to make sure I get the right ball for working under it.
 

KCSteve

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I've got the Micro Block - I use it in my Tool Box O' Happiness portable setup.

One key thing - make sure you get the one that's meant for use as a vise - the microblock is so temptingly engravable they now sell a version with plain jaws - no holes for holding things. Also make sure you get the matching set of accessories - some bits are different sizes from the accessories for the full size ball vises.

Given all of that, it's a nice little vise - works great when I'm sitting on a bench / at a table fiddling about. I have used it under my microscope and it works fine but since everything is set for the larger vise I set a roll of duct tape under it to raise it up.

Since the vise is about the size of your fist I wouldn't use it for anything you think you'd have trouble holding with one hand. I might even go as far as the slide of a full size pistol but nothing bigger than that.

You can fit pretty much any vise under a scope - your working distance is between the lens and the top of the vise so the only limit on where the bottom of the vise is is how far off the ground your scope is.
 
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Tom Curran

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It depends on the scope, but my Meiji has about 5" of working room under it.
the ball can be any size, but if it's tall, it will have to sit on a shelf below the table top.

A small ball will be hard to work. Not enough weight. It will jump around on you, in my opinion.

Tom
 

Nathan Ott

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Bend, Oregon
Well the standard GRS block fits my price range better than the low profile vise. But I'd rather wait and get whats going to work best so I don't regret it later. Am I going to end up engraving between my knees if I use the standard block?

I can't really find the actual difference in height between the 2 models on the GRS website. Maybe time to call JB.
 

Roger B

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Nathan,

I'm using a Magna block for jewellery - it might be a bit of over-kill but I know it won't be lacking if I want to do something heavier later on.

Anyway, don't forget that when you use a scope you will either need a positioning vice or a turntable under the standard vice (which will add some height to the vice). As for a vice fitting under the scope - they all do - it is just a matter of focusing on the work being held in it. The trouble comes if you have a tall vice and short chair/arms/legs/back as you won't be able to sit up high enough to use the scope. It may take some experimentation but you can eventually get things to work. I've had to find a tall gas operated chair (as I have to lower it when I do jewellery work) and still use a cushion for a bit of height - but it is worth it to use the scope.:thumbs up:

All the best,
Roger
 

Marcus Hunt

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Nathan, if you use a drill press as a table for the vise it doesn't matter which one you use, per se, as the height is adjustable. That being said, if you are going to use a scope then you are going to have to keep the vise centred somehow (you only get a couple of inches field of view with a scope). For your small stuff I'd advise going the turntable route with either the low profile or small block (with a drill press it doesn't matter which as you can adjust the height but if you're using a fixed table you'll probably need the low profile version) over the positioning vise or Magna Block.
 

jimzim75

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The micro vice came out after I had been buying vices. I do a lot of Pavé.
Personally I like the weight of the positioning vice, plus I do a lot of setting using a
scope. I wouldn't consider the micro as a primary buy, but rather a secondary item
for a specific job where it's design would help me do the job better.

So far that hasn't come up yet, but it probable will.

Talk to ya later,
Jim

PS; we never get tired of talking, joking, arguing, discussing, a subject that holds our attention most of the day.
 
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Tira

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Nathan, I found the measurements on the different vise models:

Microblock
Weight: 4 lbs. (1.8kg)
Ball Diamenter: 3.1" (80mm)
Jaw Width: 1.8" (46mm)
Jaw Height: 0.87" (22mm)
Max Opening: 2" (50mm)
Height: 3.375"

Standard Block
Weight: 19 lbs. (8.6kg)
Ball Diamenter: 5.12" (130mm)
Jaw Width: 2.5" (64mm)
Jaw Height: 1.5" (38mm)
Max Opening: 3" (76mm)
Height: 6"

Low Profile Vise
Weight: 20.25 lbs. (9.19kg)
Ball Diamenter: 6.125" (147mm)
Jaw Width: 3" (76mm)
Jaw Height: 1.8" (46mm)
Max Opening: 3.5" (89mm)
Height: 5.75" by itself, 6.75" with the vise + turntable

Magnablock
Weight: 30 lbs. (13.7kg)
Ball Diamenter: 5.8" (147mm)
Jaw Width: 3" (76mm)
Jaw Height: 1.8" (46mm)
Max Opening: 3.5" (89mm)
Height: 7.25"

Positioning Vise
Weight: 42 lbs. (19.1kg)
Ball Diamenter: 7.1" (180mm)
Jaw Width: 3" (76mm)
Jaw Height: 1.8" (46mm)
Max Opening: 3.5" (89mm)
Height: 7.75"

Hope this helps your decision. :)
 

Nathan Ott

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Thanks for the input everyone. I think my choice will go a bit easier now. I especially like the drill press idea. Additional thanks to Marcus, I hadn't heard that one before.
 

Ron Smith

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Most people evaluate their needs on what they are doing at the moment. If you have any aspirations of doing other things, you will need a vise that will accomodate about any situation. I would reccomend one with enough weight to do gun work too. I think you will find as you become more involved, you will be wanting to put your work on anything with a clear flat spot, HaHa.....that is just the normal attitude of the average lunatic engraver like me, and I am not alone. The main thing is smooth rotation with lock down, sufficient weight, without slop, and the rest is just adjusting your working environment to accomodate any situations.

Of course, if you like tools, it never hurts to have more than one block for projects on hold. You can get stale on one and roll over to the other one waiting for you to get back to it. Sometimes however, that is only when you become rich and famous............

Ron S
 

Ron Smith

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Famous? Maybe so, but the rich part hasn't happened yet, Les.

I can't seem to get out of the poverty level. HaHaha .............but that is okay, It just wasn't the right place in time for me I guess, and I wouldn't sacrifice quality for money. I also did it full time for a living (different ballgame). The public wasn't too well educated during my career.

You can do pretty well at it now thanks to FEGA, GRS, and others who teach etc. Now if I had children, that would have made a big difference I think. Would have had to do things differently, but if I had, I might not have gotten the famous part. But that is why I reccommend diversity and acquiring all kinds of skills. Keeps a man busy full time if that is what he chooses.

But speaking of vises, I do have two vises however. I do like tools too. My other one was made by John Madole. "The pilot wheel block". It is a work of art in itself, and holds gun barrels right out on the end without drifting. It is heavy and solid as a rock, a difinate asset for gun engraving. I love it! I made some attachments to extend its usefulness for other situations. I love it. It is smooth as silk, so nothing wrong with having more than one vise if you can afford it.

Onward and upward................

Ron S
 

KCSteve

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Hey Ron,

I'm also halfway to my life's goal. It's a little different than yours - I want to be rich and unknown.

Ah well, even if we don't make that 'rich' part the way most folks think of it, I think we're both pretty rich in the things that matter. :)
 

Tom Curran

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I use a Ray LeTourneau vise, which is a massive beast. Love it.
I also have a standard size antique ball, about 4.5 inches. Nice for smaller work. I hardly ever use the small vise. I love the weight and stability of the Ray.

Workholding is one of the keys to successful engraving. Tool geometry is another key, drawing is another. Get a big enough keyring in the beginning, as you will be adding these 'keys' as you progress.

Tom

I think fame could do strange things to a man if he wasn't strong willed and clear headed.
 

Sam

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Right on, Steve. Anyone who can make a decent living doing something they love has wealth beyond description.
 

Nathan Ott

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Dec 15, 2008
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Bend, Oregon
I agree with Ron completely.

I tell people I'm a goldsmith and they think I must be rich because I work with gold... Which always makes me laugh. If I didn't love the work so much maybe I'd go back to school and become a plumber.
 
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