What We’re Made Of: Behind the Materials Used in Palmgren’s® Vises
Vises come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. Using various irons and steels to manufacture a vise affects the strength and durability. At Palmgren, we take pride in the quality materials we use to construct our vises, so you can properly “Embrace the Work™.”
What We Choose From
There are five different materials that bench and machine vises can be manufactured from.
- Gray Iron
- Malleable Iron
- Ductile Iron
- Cast Steel
- Drop Forged Steel
First Up-Gray Iron
Entry-level vises are made out of gray iron or cast-iron material. Creating gray iron is usually done by melting scrap iron or processing iron ore. The most common type of gray iron used to manufacture vises is “Class 30”, giving these vises the tensile strength of 25,000 to 30,000 PSI. Vises made from cast iron have a grain structure that gives them their strength, and they can handle intense compression loads to form their shapes.
Gray Iron’s Sister- Cast Steel
When vises are manufactured in Asia, sometimes they’re made from all steel scrap material. But these products are not heat treated. Non-heat-treated cast steel made from scraps has strength characteristics that vary depending on the mix of steels. Heat-treated steel has more strength than non-heat-treated steel. Comparably, cast steel vises are no stronger than gray iron vises.
Second Tier- Malleable Iron
Compared to gray iron material, malleable iron alloy has increased strength and flexibility. Malleable iron is 33% stronger than gray iron and has a tensile strength of 45,000 PSI.
What We Use-Ductile Iron
Ductile iron alloy or semi-steel has more strength than gray iron and malleable iron. This material can withstand severe forces applied to it during clamping, and it possesses excellent “memory” when stressed under loads which allows it to maintain its dimensional shape. The grade of ductile iron used for vises is 100% stronger than gray iron and 33% stronger than malleable iron. The tensile strength of ductile iron is rated at 60,000 to 70,000 PSI.
Extreme Strength-Dropped Forged Steel
The last material used for vises is dropped forged steel. These vises are formed from heated steel bars pounded by large forge hammers. This process provides superior forgings, overall tensile strength, and exceptional shear loads because of the steel’s grain flow. When forging is produced from the heated steel bars, the grain flow bends to follow the contour of the vise. It also provides a more uniform response to heat treatment and machining operations. Dropped forged vises are rated at 90,000 PSI tensile strength making them some of the strongest vises available.
What We’re Made Of
Palmgren offers a range of vises constructed with various materials. Our bench vise line includes machinist, mechanic, combination pipe and bench, tradesman, utility, and multi-jaw rotating bench vises. Our bench vises are made from ductile iron, making them stronger than gray iron and malleable iron competitors. Some of our other vise options are made with cast iron.
Why Palmgren Vises?
Aside from being made of ductile iron, each of the vises have unique features that set them apart from competitors. All our vises have hardened replaceable steel jaws, self-centering pipe jaws, and an anvil. Our vises, excluding our multi-jaw rotating bench vise, have a moveable and stationary body casting, sealed construction, and a straight line pull power tunnel.
We compared our selection with our competitors, and here’s what we found:
Palmgren’s Machinist Vise: Same strength as their machinist vise
Palmgren’s Mechanics Vise: 50% stronger
Palmgren’s Combination Pipe & Bench Vise: same strength
Palmgren’s Tradesman Vise: 20% stronger than their tradesman vise and 25% stronger than their Mechanic’s Pro vises.
Palmgren’s Utility Vise: 50% stronger
Multi-Jaw Rotating Bench Vise: 50% stronger
The materials vises are made of matter, and at Palmgren, we only use the best.
In addition to our vises, Palmgren sells a complete line of machinery such as mills, saws, lathes, and more. To learn more about our vises and other products, head to Palmgren.com.
Palmgren®, “Embrace the Work™”