What is a Chain Vise?

Alexis W.

A chain vise is a device that uses a cranked winch system and a high-tensile strength chain to hold cylindrical items such as pipes in place while the pipe is being worked on. The purpose of such a vise is to prevent shifting during cutting or welding applications. These types of vises are used in many pipe fabrication workshops, where various lengths of piping may need to have several different items applied to them or where pipes need to be cut or even bent.

Chain vises are used to keep pipes in place in pipe fabrication workshops.
Chain vises are used to keep pipes in place in pipe fabrication workshops.

Every part of the chain vise, from the chain that binds the work piece to the handle used to crank the vise tight, must be made out of a high-strength material to ensure that the vise doesn’t fail during operation. Failure could not only cause damage to the work piece but could also cause a safety hazard for the user who is utilizing the chain vise. If a welded piece of pipe falls out of the chain vise while it’s still hot, the operator could receive serious injuries, regardless of the weight of the work piece, which could pose another safety issue.

Due to the high amount of torque and pressure that may be applied through the use of a chain vise, most of them are made out of high-strength steel components. The steel components that make up a chain vise are often heat-treated steel or cast iron. This makes them both strong and durable for heavy industrial usage.

The components must be capable of creating the amount of pressure needed to hold a round work piece in place. They also must be capable of remaining in position with the high amounts of pressure engaged for the duration the piece is being worked on. Such vices not only have to hold the piece still, but also hold it still through various application processes including drilling, cutting, pounding, welding, or cutting the ends of the pipes for uses in threaded piping applications.

These vise units are thus required to hold a length of piping as tightly as possible as not to allow any slipping or turning while the pressure is applied. This means the chains used in a chain vise must be very strong as well. Work pieces secured through chain vises should be thoroughly tested when they are engaged so that the user is certain the piece is secured during the process of the work he or she is performing.

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