How do I use the SMW Modular Vise System?

For information regarding the Gen1 Modular Vise, see our Discontinued Products page.

What are the recommended torque specs for the Mod Vise?

Vise Mounting Bolts Clamping Bolts
General Use Do Not Exceed
Gen2 1/2" Please see our Fixture Plate FAQ for recommended torque specs. This varies depending on fixture plate material and hole pattern. 10-30 ft-lbs* [14-40 N-m] 35 ft-lbs [47 N-m]
1/4" 10-25 ft-lbs* [14-34 N-m] 30 ft-lbs [40 N-m]
M6 10-25 ft-lbs* [14-34 N-m] 30 ft-lbs [40 N-m]
Gen3 1/2" 10-30 ft-lbs [27-40 N-m] 35 ft-lbs [47 N-m]
M12 10-30 ft-lbs [27-40 N-m] 35 ft-lbs [47 N-m]

*On Gen2 vises, clamping torque is dependent on a) the use case and needed clamping force and b) how much the jaw is 'preloaded' (i.e. how far the two clamping screws are backed out before setting the position of the adjustable base). As long as Gen3 vise clamping screws are fully backed out (2+ turns) when preloading, clamping force is only dependent on the bolt torque. As a general rule, 20 ft-lbs [27 N-m] is acceptable for most use-cases with all versions of the SMW Modular Vise.

How does the Modular Vise work?

The Mod Vise uses tapered clamping screws to apply clamping force to the part. These screws transfer the downward force created by the screws into horizontal force pushing the vise jaw into the part.

How do I know if I have a Gen2 or Gen3 Modular Vise?

Gen3 vises were not sold until January 2024. Vises ordered before this date are Gen2. If unsure, please see the graphic below for determining which generation your SMW Modular Vise is. (Aluminum 'Hobby' vises are currently Gen2 only.)

What is the difference between the Gen2 and Gen3 Modular Vise?

The Gen3 Mod Vise provides a few minor quality-of-life changes for the end user, but the primary reason for this product update is to allow for metric fixture plate support. Changes include:

  • Jaw Insert Bars are now included with every Gen3 vise! Castle Grips are available as an add-on (and do not replace the insert bars if selected)
  • Gen2 diamond pins were machined into the underside of the fixed-side vise base. Gen3 vises use tighter tolerance, precision ground pins pressed into the fixed-side base.
  • Larger M12 clamping bolts provide slightly more clamping force
  • Revised moving-side tapered washers for easier setup and use (making it more difficult to install and use them in the wrong orientation)
  • Revised top jaw slot size for easier setup of the adjustable-side base
  • Increased part density with new, slimmer dual station vise

Gen3 vises can be used alongside Gen2 vises without issue. The jaw height and the distance from alignment pins to the jaw face are the same on both vises allowing Gen2 and Gen3 vises to be used side-by-side. Individual parts are not cross-compatible, e.g. a Gen2 soft jaw will not fit a Gen3 vise base. Both vises have the same jaw features, so reversible insert bars, Talon/Castle Grips, etc. remain compatible with both (note that Gen3 vises use an M5 jaw fastener instead of 10-32).

Do you recommend the reversible jaw inserts, Castle Grips, or Talon Grips for the Modular Vise?

Please see our Mod Vise Jaw Hardware FAQ here.

 How can I convert my Single Station Mod Vise to a Dual Station?

The following parts lists will allow you to convert your single station vise to a dual station.

Note: parts that are size specific are noted as such (e.g. 1/4" or M6, 1/2" or M12). If not noted, parts are identical between the metric and inch vises.

Will the Mod Vise work with non-SMW fixture plates or with no fixture plate?

Our Modular Vise System requires our standard fixture plate hole patterns - for example, 1/2"-13 tapped and 1/2" bored holes on 1.25" centers. Generally speaking, the Mod Vise will not work on other brands of fixture plates.