Panavise, then and now

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by BillO, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. BillO

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Not sure if anyone has bought Panavise equipment in the last little while but...

    I remember back 35 years ago the Panavise circuit board holders we had where I worked. My memories of them were, that they were very well designed and precision made. A pleasure to work with. It was on that memory that I went ahead recently an bought a 315 head and 305 base for PCB build and rework.

    I have to tell you I am very disappointed. The forks of the 315 head fit vey loosely on the bar so that the clamping screws cause the forks to be misaligned when tightened. The bar does not fit snugly into the stem and twists enough to loosen the undersized screw holding it to the stem. The fork tightening screws have rough, unfinished ends that bear directly on the bar causing it to get burr marks on it. The 'ball' in the base has casting flashing still on it and seems unfinished and hence it's operation is very rough. And the stem of the head does not fit snugly in the base socket, even when tightened so that it can move unexpectedly when the slight force of a soldering iron is placed on supported PCB. They are just the major things.

    All in all, the quality seems very poor for an US made product and for the price. I am not impressed.

    I have a question for all the old-timers. Is it just my memory of Panavise 35 years ago that is bad, or is the new stuff really not up to the quality of those times past?
  2. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
    I ordered one for my classroom about 7 years ago. Not sure of the mod #(we're on trimester break now) but it's a sliding fork for circuit boards, as you describe. We don't have a bit of trouble with it, and it's used often. It gets the most use from the newbies practicing their soldering skills. And being newbies, they overtighten everything..
    I also have the standard vise head, both have their own base, and are mounted to pieces of steel plate for stability.
  3. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Well, I can't say I'm an old timer per se, but I've used one for a number of years and like it. They are not precision devices, but mine has always worked reasonably well. I think the ball joint will get smoother with use over time, but you should be able to hand-tighten the ball joint so it doesn't move short of giving the bar or arms a forceful smack.

    I've always worried about tightening the arms and having them go out of alignment relative to one another, but I've never had a problem. I know I can't have it hold a PCB firmly by tightening the arms alone - I have to lock down the tension bar so it's fully compressed, fit my PCB between the arms with a smidge of play, lock the arms in position and release the tension bar.

    I would suggest adding either a larger (312) or heavier (308) base as it is easy to tip the 315 using the 305 base alone.

    All that said, I'd contact Panavise since your's does indeed sound a bit out of whack.
  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I've never used that type of arms. I've always used the short types with the soft grooved covers:


    I have 2 of these with the base. You can borrow one when you take it from my cold dead fingers.
    SgtWookie likes this.
  5. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    Left my panavise at Cisco when I left my job there. Too expensive to replace.
  6. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008

    Got two myself and use these most of the time. I use the 315 when the PCB is too long to be held firmly with the short types.