The subject for this project is a small vee block and whilst small, not without a
challenge when attempting to make it using the lathe. It is though an excellent size
for using on a vertical slide or small drilling machine, but not limited to that
For most, it would be a good idea to make a pair of vee blocks, in which case they
should be made as near a match as is practical with the manufacturing method I am
suggesting. I will then, at the end, detail the method for matching them.
Two square posts are necessary but as these were described in the small angle plate
project, refer to Angle plate alternative Sk. 1 for details.
First, any high spots on the base of the casting should be removed using a file or
the off hand grinder and checked against some flat surface. Perfection will of course
not be obtained and some soft copper between the posts and the casting will help
to compensate for any minor errors. Next, mount the posts on the vertical slide together
with the vee block casting as illustrated in Photograph 1. With that done, machine
the side of the vee block.
Now with one flat surface, mounting the block will now be easier. With the surface
just machined against the posts again clamp the vee block generally as in the previous
Photograph. However, the bar must pass between the two sides of the block otherwise
if placed on the outside, at best the casting is likely to be distorted and at worst,
cracked. Now machine the base.
This project is aimed predominantly at the workshop owner who uses the lathe for
milling, but should be of interest to the viewer who's workshop contains a milling
The casting used for this project was obtained from Woking Precision, a firm that
was taken over by Hemingway Kits. Hemingway do not list it in their catalogue at
this time, 2011, but may still have some stock obtained from Woking Precision. There
are though a number of suppliers of castings for vee blocks, but non to this design,
that I particularly like, that I am aware of.
For a block this small it would not be too difficult to machine one from a plain
block of cast iron, even on the lathe. See below right.
The pictures for this item have been taken using an already machined casting . Click
on them to see a larger copy
Using cast iron bar
If making the blocks from cast iron bar this material can be obtained from The College
Engineering Supply, and others.