This was my fear too. I just priced new Aloris and Phase II in the MSC
catalog, and promptly lost interest in Phase II. The price difference
just isn't large enough. I'll have to see how used prices run.
I started doing this, but chickened out. I'll wait till I have read the
That was one thought. Or inside something, if there is space.
I've read the manual for the old VFD, and it makes no warnings about
abrupt reversal of direction using the direction controls. I'll try
this on the mill, which uses this old VFD. I've done abrupt reversal by
mistake a few times already, and there was no drama. Given the
liklihood of such reversals in practice, I don't see how it could be any
OK. If one buys a new Aloris, they will make the plate for you,
partially ofsetting the cost differential. With used, one will make
one's own plate.
I haven't yet gotten that catalog.
Having cleaned and inspected the Dickson toolpost and holders that came
with the lathe, I'm losing interest. They are quite heavily used and in
some cases abused. Some of the setscrews are bulging and cracking near
the tips, and will need to be replaced with dog-point hex socket cap
screws. I had to drill the stub of one busted setscrew out.
That said, I'll probably fabricate a proper set of plates, and keep the
Dickson system as a backup.
There is a pin, but it is loose, without springs.
None of these height adjustment pancake nuts came with the set, and the
posts onto which they thread are mostly in bad shape. The mangled
threaded posts can be replaced, but it will be an effort to get the old
ones out. They are very hard, and appear to be upsidedown hex-socket
Yes. And I did get the 4-jaw chuck. What I didn't get is the slotted
Can also be done on the mill, using a piloted tap wrench. I may just
skip the holes for the 8mm locator pin until such time as a need
Yep. They do command a fine price, they do.
Which toolholders do you recommend I start with, by Aloris number, and
why. You mentioned a few, but without the numbers it's hard for me to
connect the dots.
[ ... ]
O.K. I did not know that for sure. (And see later -- this does
not seem to be really the case.) They would either have to have
measurements from you for *your* T-slot (as they vary a lot), or know
the model of the lathe and know for sure that it is the original
compound. It *may* be pre-cut for the largest likely T-slot, and have to
be cut down some more for other sizes.
[ ... ]
I'll bet that they are set in with Locktite. If so -- heat the
holder while gently twisting the mangled screws with small vise-grips.
You don't need to (and shouldn't) apply much torque -- just a little.
When it gets hot enough, the wrench will turn easily, so you know when
to stop heating. Then just replace them with allthread or long
setscrews as appropriate.
You ideally should have at least one height-adjusting nut to
copy. But if you don't, here are the things to bear in mind.
1) The flange goes between two flanges on the top of the cam
one continuous, and one (the upper) interrupted to allow the
tool holder to be lifted clear. The thickness of the flange on
the nuts which you make need to be just a little thinner than
the spacing between the two flanges.
2) The diameter of the flange needs to be enough to reach from the
stud almost to the bottom of the groove between flanges on the
3) The height of the stud on the holder should be high enough to
allow the height-adjusting nut to be screwed on enough to hold
with base of the holder level with the base of the toolpost, and
short enough to allow the nut to be screwed on enough to lift the
holder on the V-rails so its top is level with the top of the
post. The Height adjusting nut needs to be long enough to allow
some threads from the stud at the lowest position of the tool
holder, and some threads from the lock screw at the highest
position of the tool holder.
And the ones which I have use Metric threaded setscrews and
height post screws. (But they are too small to fit our Clausings
anyway). Check to make sure whether you have metric or imperial threads
[ ... ]
That seems reasonable. I do wish that mine for the
Compact-5/CNC had the pin -- because *there* it would make sense.
[ ... ]
O.K. MSC catalog time. Sigh -- I wonder which volume now that
they have split it in two. :-)
Hmm ... first off -- the notes accompany "Tool post T-nut may require machining for your application"
so don't depend on Aloris doing it all for you. :-)
First - the ones which come in the sets:
1) Style 1 -- turning and facing. Get quite a few of these, since
you want to have one for each tool which you are likely to use
often, so they all can be set to the proper height -- or you
lose part of the quick-change feature.
2) Style 2 -- boring, turning and facing. The difference here is
that there is a V down the center of the bottom of the slot,
good for holding boring bars, but still usable for the other
tools as well.
3) Style 4 -- boring, heavy duty. This is what you use to hold
a 1" diameter boring bar which accepts HSS lathe bits. I've
used this both for boring and for internal Acme threading which
a home-ground HSS tool. But you are unlikely to need more than
4) Style 7 -- Universal parting (cut-off). This, with a Mo-Max
cobalt steel T-profile parting tool is very nice to have.
5) Style 10 -- knurling, facing, and turning. Only if someone
*gives* it to you -- and only to use for facing not for
knurling. For knurling -- either a scissors style knurling tool
or the one which I will describe later.
Above -- replace the word "Style" with BXA-" to get the full
Now -- others which I find of interest.
6)* BXA-13 -- "new extension tool holder" -- good for threading
without hitting the tailstock live center. (I would like to
have a couple more of these, but I do have *one* -- bought new.
7) BXA-5 and BXA-53 -- Morse taper holders -- useful for drilling
with carriage power feed. In the BXA size, the 5 is MT-2, and
the 53 is MT-3 -- both useful -- though with only one, go for
the 53, and get an adaptor sleeve from MT-2 to MT-3.
8)* BXA-6 -- multiple tool holder. A grid of setscrews to hold
more than one tool at a time -- groove and bevel or part at the
same time for production work -- usually best with a turret
handling other tasks.
9) BXA-19 -- the fancy knurling tool which I mentioned above and
earlier. $286 in the MSC catalog at present -- perhaps more
when you call in, because prices keep going up.
10)* BXA-16N or BXA-16. The double-ended insert holder. The 'N' is
for negative rake tools -- which with the right chipbreaker
groove still cut as positive -- but which have six cutting
points instead of three for the triangular inserts.
The ones marked with a '*' after the ')' are the only ones which
I bought new -- because I needed them, and I could never find a
reasonable enough price in eBay auctions -- only perhaps $10.00 less
than new price.
There are other interesting ones -- but these are the ones I
have, either genuine Aloris bought new (the ones marked with '*', or
Phase-II or used Aloris for the others.
I doubt that the manual will say anything about it. If you got
a manual for the collet closer as well -- *that* might have more
information. There was no mention in my manual of the collet closer
(with the 2-1/4x8 spindle nose -- even though it was fitted from the
[ ... ] *No*! Almost anywhere inside the lathe is likely to have swarf
floating past -- and if it shorts across two of the terminals of the
pot, either your speed will go to zero, or to full -- and the pot may
get burned out as well. Mill up a housing for it and be sure to protect
the wire entry holes from chip entry -- grommets, or perhaps fill around
the wire entry with RTV.
I *think* that the supply terminals from the VFD are protected
against shorting -- but that may vary with brand.
[ ... ]
Given the weight of the largest chuck -- probably a 4-jaw -- and
the torque needed to accelerate that (even without a load) -- you want
to set the acceleration time down far enough so it won't trip the
over-current under those conditions -- and then a bit more to allow for
the weight of a workpiece in the chuck. (Note that a 4-jaw at full
speed can be a scary object anyway -- and always have the jaws firmly
clamped on something so they don't back out and get launched across the
shop -- or into you.
By the way, is there anything one can smear on the tapers to make
subsequent disassembly easier? Moly grease?
The nice lady at Clausing suggested that I call Royal for information on
the closer, and gave me their 800 number.
I did not find a model number on the closer, so I hope that the fact
that it is fitted to a 5914 suffices.
I didn't fully explain, but the pot will be in a standard diecast box,
with the shielded wire held in a full-closure cable clamp (to protect
the wires mechanically. This setup is dust-proof, so swarf will not
The VFD will be up on the wall a few feet away, on a metal plate 5.5'
from the floor, and has a closed front.
OK. Normal default startup ramp is 10 seconds, if I recall. On the
mill, I shortened that to 3 seconds, and this has not caused breaker
tripping. This is with a 1 HP motor.
If I get serious about rapid stops, I can always add a braking resistor.
The Aloris website and catalog says that they will machine the plate for
you. MSC does not mention this, but some other distributors do.
Good point. I was going to use a torch on the studs anyway, to soften
things a bit, so the pliers can get a grip. And to break any rust, if
something that greasy can rust.
The threads are all imperial, 5/16-18 to be precise.
I will try to buy the correct hardware, especially the pancake nuts.
Well, don't depend on MSC to tell the whole story.
Thanks for this list. I'll be thinking this over.
O.K. I think that it is more trouble than it is worth for MSC,
just as they don't list the option of getting the toolmaker's hammer
engraved with the user's name -- which you can order through other
vendors, and Starrett does the engraving.
But most people who order a *new* Aloris toolpost also have a
milling macine available, so they can prepare the T-nut locally more
quickly than the communications and extra shipping to have Aloris do it.
Even if I were to buy a brand new Aloris toolpost, I think that I would
machine it in house instead of jumping through the extra hoops to have
Aloris do it for me. :-)
[ ... ]
Hmm ... "pancake nut" sounds like what Aloris uses. And the
difference between the Aloris and the Phase-II is that Aloris uses a
keyed lockwasher which engages a keyway on the stud, while Phase-II uses
only a plain inner star lockwasher, increasing the chance that the
setting will shift as you tighten the locknut.
I'll attempt to do an ASCII drawing of the Dickson/Emco/ToolMex
nut. As usual, view with a fixed pitch font like Courier to avoid the
distortion which comes from a proportional pitch font.
||||||||||||||||||||||| > >> will find prices. For that, I use my MSC catalog as the reference. (It
O.K. But as I said above -- I would probably do the machining
at home anyway -- and I think that MSC expects that for most purchasers.
[ ... ]
The two above are what I would look for as the first additions
to what comes in the "set". Of course -- if you aren't planning to use
insert tooling, the BXA-16 or BXA-16N would not make sense for you. But
you did ask what *I* would buy and why, so I tried to answer that. And
since you have a lathe of similar manufacture and size to mine, I think
that it is not too bad a selection. The multi-tool holder makes more
sense if you have a bed turret for your machine (as I do), and plan to
occasionally go into small "production" mode. :-)
You don't *want* grease on them. The male nose taper for the
L-00 is a self-releasing taper, and the threaded ring will apply
whatever force (if any) is needed to pop a chuck loose. And any grease
on the collet adaptor taper increases the chance that it will introduce
eccentricity -- runout. However, a bit of grease (perhaps Lithium
grease like Lubriplate) in the threads of the ring and the chuck or nose
protector may be helpful. But I think that once you get the ring and
nose protector off for the first time, and then clean up the spooge, you
should not feel the need for any on the chuck taper. And you *really*
want the collet taper to grip firmly, not to slip out easily. Remember
-- all tension is removed from it whenever you loosen the collet's grip
on the workpiece.
Also -- any grease in there will be likely to hold some swarf
which will then dent either the collet adaptor or the inside taper of
the spindle -- or both -- introducing some more runout.
O.K. That may get you the information you need. (But really, I
think that you *have* all that you need for removing the collet adaptor.
I think that they will differ only in overall length. There is
no visible model number on mine, either. I'm presuming that you have a
lever style closer.
One thing which you may need to know if there is a collet in the
closer right now. Somewhere around the large diameter hub of the closer
at the far end of the headstock there is a piece of steel perhaps 1/8:
thick visible edge on, with a relieved area near one end. Press down on
that to disengage the other end from a set of notches in a flange on the
end of the spindle, and this will allow you to loosen (or tighten) the
drawbar on the collet. Rotate the top away from you to unscrew the
collet, and use the lever to kick the collet out far enough for you to
grip and remove it. Once this is done, you can use the spanner wrench
to loosen the ring and pop the collet adaptor out of the spindle.
But the terminals are remoted away from that to your switch and
pot -- and it was the power feed to the pot (CCW and CW ends) which I
was worried about.
[ ... ]
O.K. Ten seconds should be plenty. You can consider turning it
to shorter times when doing tapping with stock in a collet and using a
releasing tapping head in a turret. That is where you want to be able
to reverse the spindle fairly quickly (certainly a lot more quickly than
if you are stuck with a single-phase cap start motor, where you have to
wait for it to slow almost all the way down before switching it into
reverse so you can back out the tap. The tapping head releases, so you
don't have to stop too quickly -- but you lose time per part reversing
to back the tap out.
Indeed. Note that with the extra radius and mass of a big
chuck, you will need more braking time -- or a serious braking
resistor -- to handle reversing -- or even just starting at a high speed
setting. And note that you are not supposed to change the vari-speed
pulley settings unless the motor and spindle are rotating.
Nice ASCII art. All of the Dickson and Toolmex holders I have, have this
nut fitted with a square head set screw to allow the nut to be locked by
doing the set screw up against the top of the stud the nut is fitted on.
I'm assuming that one will always wipe the mating surfaces clean before
attempting assembly, as getting swarf into things is *always* a
possibility, even in the absence of an intentional layer of grease.
Once clamped together, subsequent swarf is mechanically excluded.
The clamping pressure in the taper is more than enough to displace a
layer of thing grease. Or anhydrous lanolin.
I talked to Royal Products yesterday. They had no problem identifying
the specific lever closer used; all that differs is the length of the
drawtube. They prefer to pull the drawtube assembly and use a
broomstick of brass rod to tap the collet holder out of the taper from
behind. While the engineer allowed that many people use the nosepiece
to pop the collet holder out, pushing a hardened steel holder out with
an aluminum nosepiece wears the expensive nosepiece out fairly quickly,
and is not recommended.
When I asked what the nosepiece was for, he laughed and said it was
largely to keep the now jobless clamping ring from jingling as the
machine runs, and also keeps swarf out.
Yes, I found all this, by fiddling.
I also have pdfs of the drawings, free from Royal.
Yes. I'll see how it goes. I can always add a braking resistor, but I
will be sure to leave space for such.
Yes. Also says so on the Vari-Speed control on the lathe.
I have a mill too. I don't know which approach is more trouble. Turns
out that MSC gives you one more holder in the starter kit than Aloris,
and skips the machining, so the machining costs one holder, call it $75
By the way, what is the diameter and thread of the hole in the Aloris
T-nut? 5/8-18? (It might be cheaper to get an extra Aloris T-nut than
to buy the 5/8-18 tap needed to make a new T-Nut for the Dickson.)
I will try to buy real Dickson pancake nuts, when I figure out who in
the US carries them. Or ships to the US under reasonable terms.
No apology needed. I asked your personal opinion, based on your
experience with actual use (versus my catalog-reading). I also note
that there is considerable agreement between your list and the various
starter kits on offer as to the four or five most necessary holders.
This is exactly the kind of information I need.
I just converted my 5904 Clausing to a VFD, how I did it is just one of
several ways so use or ignore whatever you want.
I stripped all the motor and motor mount brackets, the counter shaft
with the clutch/brake, and the speed control on the top of the headstock
off the machine, as well as the original electrics (except the drum
reverser switch). A new motor mount bracket was fabricated to position
the motor at the old counter shaft location using the mounting studs for
the counter shaft assembly.
The VFD I acquired came in a nice enclosure and was then mounted on the
back of the base cabinet, where the original junction box/disconnect
was. I wired the original drum switch (controlled by the
forward/off/reverse lever on the front) to the VFD's forward and reverse
inputs. I purchased a die cast project box and an appropriate pot (from
Fry's Electronics) for speed control and mounted them on the cast boss
where the original hydraulic speed adjuster was. I also replaced the
original 2 hp 1740 rpm motor with a 3 hp 3450 rpm motor driving the
spindle with the original size cogged belt, the motor pulley is now half
the size of the spindle pulley. The VFD high and low frequencies were
programed to approximate the speed range obtained with the original
hydraulic speed control. Accel/decel times were originally set to 2
seconds but the decel time was reset to 5 seconds to avoid overcurrent
trips caused by the inertia of the spindle and chuck. A braking
resistor will allow the preferred 2 seconds, I'm scrounging one at this
So far the conversion is a big plus, much less vibration and noise as
compared to the mechanical drive. I used to have finish problems when
turning aluminum that I could never track down and I always suspected
the mechanical drive to be the issue even though it was in good
mechanical order. I now get beautiful finishes on aluminum and
attribute this to the elimination of the stiff variable pulley belt, I
think the cogs or slots in the belt were the cause of the finish issues.
The spindle can be 'plugged' from forward to reverse with no issues,
other than the too long decel time, I recently had to turn a thread to a
shoulder and found it much easier than before due to the better controls.
I have some pictures of the project and will figure out how to post some
to the dropbox eventually.
I have some opinions on tool posts for this machine if you want to hear
Have fun with the new machine!
[ ... ]
My Emco ones are similar -- except that the setscrew is an Allen
head cap screw -- just as are the screws which clamp the tools into the
holders. I suspect that square head ones just aren't made that small.
I honestly don't know. While I have several Aloris tool holders
(some bought new) and the fancy Knurling tool -- I only have a Phase-II
toolpost -- which has a metric thread. But that is pretty close to a
5/8" -- probably 1 16mm, so I would expect 5/8-18 for the Aloris.
But as for "cheaper" -- MSC currently has 5/8 HSS gun taps on
sale in the lastest flyer for as little as ... hmm ... no 5/8" taps in
the flyer except a long-reach (extension) one by OSG which is 5/8-11 and
$41.79. The nearest standard gun tap in plain HSS is 1/2-13, which is
$7.49, with the non sale price at $10.05. So I suspect that the tap
which you want is a lot more affordable than a new T-nut plate from
Besides which -- at 5/8" -- you should be able to single-point
the threads so you won't need a tap.
But a chunk of hot-rolled steel should suffice -- just get one
big enough to make one or two T-nuts from.
[ ... ]
Why not make your own? I've made some for some of my holders
for the Emco-Maier Compact-5/CNC. I never even *considered* buying the
[ ... ]
But that was to cover those who may (want to) say "but this
isn't what *I* would suggest (with or without suggesting on their own).
After all -- not everyone is happy with the same tooling.
[ ... ]
O.K. For that -- go with Vactra No. 2 Waylube. It is thick
enough to say in place, but easy enough to clean off -- especially with
a spritz of WD-40 -- one of the few things which it *is* good for. :-)
[ ... ]
Hmm ... while I did that the one time I forgot to put the nose
protector on -- there is not much access to the back rim given the taper
it is in. I think that turning the end into a long-stemmed mushroom
would help a bit.
Well ... I can certainly agree with keeping the ring from
jingling, there are also protection nosepieces on the 2-1/4x8 original
spindle, and those have socket holes for a pin spanner to use to pop out
the collet adaptor.
And I've not yet noticed any wear on the protective nosepiece
from using it as I have described -- though the 2-1/4x8 one was steel
(and I turned up a replacement, because the original's holes were pretty
badly worn -- just as are the ones on the L-00 clamping ring on my
current one. That is scheduled for replacement next time I have the
Great! I would ask for e-mailing copies, but they would never
make it past the size limits on my spam/virus filtering. Any e-mail
over a total size of 30K is rejected before I even find out who it is. :-)
[ ... ]
Vactra #2? Of course!
Yes, once I manage to mount a chuck to machine the mushroom. In the
mean time, I bet the old tap-tap-tap method of bearing race removal will
I don't think Royal will mind if I post the pdfs to the dropbox, when I
have some time.
First order of business is to wire the lathe up, which will consume the
better part of the weekend by the time it's all done.
I think that the blank T-nut is about $40 too. Or was that the machined
In any event, if one has the tap, then one can make any number of T-Nuts.
Chicken-and-egg problem. I first have to learn how to make threads on