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Original Press Release

CARVEsmart(TM) Quick Change Vise Jaw System Reduces Set-Up Time, Improves Quality

Press release date: May 27, 2014

Innovative Design Eliminates Cumbersome Cap Screws

Prior Lake, Minn. - The CARVEsmart™ quick change vise jaw system is designed for production and tool-room applications replacing the often cumbersome, conventional method of attaching vise jaws to a vise using face mounted cap screws. The patented CARVEsmart system employs three, from the top, channeled clamping elements and a dovetailed jaw design to couple the master jaw and soft or hard jaws. CARVEsmart dramatically reduces set-up time, improves set-up reliability and quality.

CARVEsmart's dovetailed aluminum extruded bar stock makes the soft jaw an inexpensive cut to length tool that can be reused or quickly recut with each part run. This makes the CARVEsmart system ideal for shops running repeating and tight tolerance work.

Face mounted cap screws are problematic since they are located in a vise's sweet spot. They extend into the workholding zone forcing work to be held in front of or above the cap screws. The CARVEsmart dovetailed jaw provides a larger machinable workholding zone that permits holding parts deeper and more securely into the jaws of the vise providing less jaw lift and more secure clamping.

Front- or side-loading of the soft jaws is fast and simple using a T-handled hex wrench to loosen three channeled clamping elements accessed from the top of each master jaw. By designing the clamping mechanism on the top, it is not necessary to open the vise to access the cap screws. Differential screws pull the channeled clamps, providing downward pressure to secure a jaw in place. The operator can quickly change the soft jaw from the front or side with the entire changeover taking 40 to 60 seconds each. This means when setting up an eight station quad with 16 jaws, all of the jaws can be replaced in less than 12 minutes.

When reusing once carved jaws, reinstalled in to the original master jaw, and a vise that has not moved, using a straight edge or side stop, expect repeatability within .001. The alternative is using the original precut program and a resident tool to recut the original female forms in new jaws in minutes. That quad can be in service in a half hour versus a half day and each station will be as perfect to the spindle as the first run. Saving the jaw prep program, not a once used jaw is often faster and more accurate than reusing once used jaws.

Another significant benefit to the CARVEsmart system is the extruded aluminum soft jaw blanks available in a variety of sizes. Small parts can use jaws as short as 1 inch of CARVEsmart extruded barstock. This means four, 1 inch jaws mounted in to a 6 inch vise now holds two small parts with $5 of jaw material.

CARVEsmart offers economical dovetailed extruded aluminum for soft jaws in widths of inch x 2 inch, 1 inch x 2.25 inch and 2 inch x 3 inch, and lengths of 6, 31 and 94 inches. We also have by 2” dovetailed 1018 steel barstock in 6 and 31 inch lengths. With CARVEsmart only one saw cut is necessary for any length from 1 inch to 94 inches. This can reduce jaw cost by half or more compared to purchasing a commercially made jaw or making them in-house. Additional savings will be realized because used carved jaws will no longer need to be organized, stored, found, cleaned, reinstalled, indicated in and offset still yielding than perfect results.

"The CARVEsmart jaw system is fast and secure,” notes Andy Melde, Senior R&D Model Shop Machinist at a Minnesota Medical Device Company. “The extruded jaw material allows me to cut jaws to any length as I need them. I have cut them as small as 1 inch long and up to 24 inches long."

Ideal for tool-room and single station vises, for reusing pre-carved jaws, hard jaws or working above the top of the vise; the CARVEsmart #10000 6 inch tool steel master jaw set is ground flat and parallel within .0002 inch. The set includes two master jaws, a T wrench and four -13 low head cap screws.

Best suited for carved jaw and production work the CARVEsmart #20000 6 inch 6061 hard-coated aluminum master jaw set is machined flat and parallel within .002 inch. It incorporates threaded stainless steel inserts, pressed into the master jaw from the bottom for the clamp screws. Two master jaws, a T wrench and inch-13 low head cap screws are included in each set.

For more information on CARVEsmart and to find a local distributor, visit

About CARVEsmart:
The patented CARVEsmart quick change vise jaw system was invented by machine shop owner Bill Ehnstrom to save time and reduce costs in his own operation. In 2011, Ehnstrom partnered with veteran machine tool industry expert Doug Fontaine to form Bellatex Industries and commercialize CARVEsmart. CARVEsmart is sold through a nationwide network of distributors.

Doug Fontaine
National Sales Manager


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