Import BXA toolpost experience



I have a Phase II piston type from Enco (on sale). I've had to file one genuine Aloris morse taper holder slightly to get it on the dovetail, but other than that, no issues--I've not had any trouble with random import holders off ebay. Any time I've had chatter, it's always ended up being in the carriage or compound, not the toolpost.
Looking at the auction, he used a stock photo, not one of the actual item. That usually makes me wary, but using the _wrong_ stock photo gets me fully on my guard immediately, makes me wonder if he's actually got any to sell at all, or if he's just drop-shipping from some other retailer (for example, it's common to see stuff listed from HF for $10 over their price) or just scamming outright. A 98.2 feedback isn't much to write home about, especially after only 699 auctions--I'd walk away just from that. Lots of dings for late shipment and poor communication. Personally, I think I'd keep looking, especially when there's stuff like items 270414954729 or 330434576690 out there.
CDCOtools.com has a no-name BXA piston style for under a c-note. Enco currently has Phase II on sale, in both piston and wedge--and will actually support you after the sale.
--Glenn Lyford
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I sold a BXA piston type holder, real Aloris, for a little over $100 a few years back, and bought a wedge type for about $50 more - if you are patient you can get the real thing at an OK price, particularly in a used set with a bunch of holders - and even more particularly if the auction starting price is high, or the BIN is about right
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On Tue, 18 May 2010 06:48:48 -0700 (PDT), Glenn Lyford

I took the plunge and ordered the one from Discount_Tools / Shars since the price was comparable and the feedback was 99.8 and he'd sold 61 of them previously. It also stuck in the back of my mind that in the past someone had mentioned that Shars stuff was OK. I guess I"m the guinea pig. I'll let you guys know what I think when I've had a chance to use it. Unfortunately, I've never owned an Aloris so I don't have the gold standard for comparison.
RWL
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On May 19, 10:47 pm, GeoLane at PTD dot NET <GeoLane at PTD dot NET> wrote:

Did you mean "Discount_Machine"? I have a lot of items from SHARS. (Including the AXA toolpost).
http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Tools / http://www.shars.com/products/view/1552/Quick_Change_Tool_Post_Set_Wedge_Type_111
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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Searcher7 wrote:

http://www.shars.com/products/view/1552/Quick_Change_Tool_Post_Set_Wedge_Type_111
I've bought from Shars, as wells a HH and CDCO. All were good experiences, no drama.
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

http://www.shars.com/products/view/1552/Quick_Change_Tool_Post_Set_Wedge_Type_111
    Hmm ... this is perhaps a chance to see whether other of this brand of Wedge style toolpost also have the screw on the bottom of the turning position wedge. Re-post the links to the photo which shows the screw, so he can check that and compare with his toolpost.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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--
The screw can be seen in the 6th photo on that page.(Here is a larger
pic: http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Tools/?action =
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I downloaded the photo and saved it to my computer. It needed to be lightened in order to see what I think you're talking about. It looks like there's a screw head on the underside of the wedge. Is that what you're talking about? If so, I'll check mine when it arrives. It shipped today from wherever Discount Machine is located.
RWL
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On May 20, 10:41 pm, GeoLane at PTD dot NET <GeoLane at PTD dot NET> wrote:

Yes. that's the screw. I assume it is there for a reason. It is definitely not loose.
Also I have no problem putting on any of the included toolholders. When I do, the range of the approximate 180 degree swing of the locking bar becomes a 90 degree swing between locked and unlocked when a toolholder is attached.
But the genuine Aloris AXA12N toolholder I have will only fit on one of the two sides. I thought it was because the locking bar was in the way, which it is. But even when I open the wedge completely and then unscrew the locking bar the Aloris toolholder still will not fit down on that side. ?!?
And when on the side it does fit on the swing distance of the locking bar between locked and unlocked is only about 10 to 15 degrees.(Though I don't know how important that is).
Milling the Aloris holder would increase that swing range and allow the toolholder to fit on *both* sides *if* I unscrew the locking bar. (Sigh).
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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FWIW, I found that the Aloris BX and BXA are not compatible
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    [ ... ]

    O.K. That is reasonable. But based on what you say later in this article, I find myself wondering whether you have checked the locking angle with the same holder in *both* stations.

    This is why I ask about the locking angle for one of the supplied holders tried in both stations. Normally, you should have the same fit in both stations.

    Given the starting angle, I consider it quite important, as the lever will be over the tailstock -- and perhaps hitting a drill chuck or live center mounted in it.
    Ideally, the unlocked position should be something like 3:00 o'clock (parallel to the bed, pointing towards the tailstock end of the bed), and the locked position should be with the lever pointing out at the operator.

    And -- this would have to be repeated for every genuine Aloris holder which you subsequently get -- and all of the better clones as well.
    Now -- if you get different locking angles for a supplied holder depending on what station it is on, I believe that one of the wedges is too far down.
    If you have two lengths of round rod of the same diameter (e.g. drill rod), set the lever in the fully locked position and try measuring the width of the two dovetails. Do this using the rods as follows (view with a fixed pitch font like Courier to avoid distortion):
______________ ( ) \ / ( ) ________\ /_______
(the rods should be bigger, but that is the biggest that I can show using ASCII graphics.
    Anyway -- place the rods into the Vs of the dovetails, and measure the width across the outside of the rods (using a caliper or a larger micrometer).
    The measurement across the rods should be close to the same on the two dovetails. If it is not so, then one of them is improperly set on the threads.
    Now -- just for the fun of it, do the same kind of measurement *inside* the dovetails on both the supplied holders and the genuine Aloris. I suspect that you will find a somewhat wider measurement on the supplied holders based on your fit experiments.
    None of the photos show your post from the needed angle. Look at the toolpost diagonally from the corner between the two dovetails, so you can see both wedges at the same time -- ideally with the viewpoint at a level about half-way up the toolpost.
    If you can easily see that one wedge is higher than the other, you have one started on the wrong thread -- an assembly problem at the factory. You *can* go back to the vendor and see if he can supply you with a replacement one.
    But what *I* personally would do is to disassemble the toolpost to the point of removing the wedges (I described how to do this in an earlier article today) and re-installing them so you get both starting at the same time, and so the lever angle winds up more reasonable.
    Note that if you do this, you will probably void the warranty, so if this is important to you, try the vendor route first.
    And if it turns out that the screw is not present in others, it might be that the screw caused the wedges to be put in with this offset.
    It might help to know how these work internally:
1)    The lever turns a cylinder inside the body of the toolpost     which has a multi-start thread on its outside diameter.
2)    The wedges have partial mating threads on the inside, so     when the lever turns the cylinder, the wedges move up and down.
3)    The wedges move in contact with an angled surface which causes     them to increase or decrease the width of the dovetail as they     move down or up.
    Since the thread is multi-start, it is possible to get the two wedges started out of step, so one remains higher than the other. And -- it is also possible to remove the wedges and re-start them so both move at the same height.
    If the wedges are not at different heights, but the dovetails measure significantly different widths, the cure would be to use a proper dovetail mill to narrow the one which is giving the problems. This problem would *certainly* call for a vendor replacement as the first approach.
    And if it comes to a choice between a proper fit for the supplied holders or a proper fit for the Genuine Aloris holders, I would go for the latter as this would increase the number of holders available through surplus and eBay channels.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Yes. it only slides down in one.

Yes. the supplied holders fit the same in both. In others words the travel of the locking bar is about the same, regardless of which of the two sides I use.(About 90 degrees, regardless of the supplied holder I use).

Ok. Since I don't have it mounted I can't be sure what will be in the way.

Ok. With the tool post mounted 45 degrees from square(diagonal), that is the way it would be with one of the supplied tool holders on it. Without a holder the locking bar will point toward the headstock.

Nope. They all lock pretty much the same.

I'm not sure what "close" would be but I just measured both sides with a ruler. And the measurements are 1-21/32" on the right side, and 1-2/3" on the left. And I just noticed that the left wedge has some play when the tool post is in the locked position. But in the un- locked position it is the right wedge that has a slight amount of play.

No doubt. I measured using the ruler and got 1-13/32" for the Aloris and 1-14/32 for the supplied holders.

I took a another couple of pics, but it is difficult,because my Canon G2 Powershot porduces washed out pics when flash is used or is too dim when I don't use flash. The only good shot are outside when it's a sunny day. http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Tools /

I don't know about it *easily* being seen, but the right wedge is *slightly* higher.

I got this tool post years ago, so that is not an option. :-)

The screw mentioned does hit the floor when the post is in the locked position.

Yes. that is the goal. I just have to get the WD-40 out and wait for a sunny day so I can take decent pics of everything as I go.
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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Taking good pics of metal parts isn't easy for most folks. I've found that one or two compact fluorescent lamps often produce much better results with digital cameras than trying to use the flash. Sometimes using a low level/fill (or anti redeye) flash setting with the CF lamps works well too.
The type of CF that I've found to be best are the daylight type, about 5000 degrees Kelvin or higher. Different brands may refer to their daylight lamps by different terms, but looking at the light temperature will be more helpful.
The greatest advantage, of course, in using digital cameras is that one can take numerous pics, then select a few that show the best detail.
--
WB
.........


"Searcher7" < snipped-for-privacy@mail.con.com> wrote in message
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    [ ... ]

    From the most CCW starting position in both cases?

    *I* can -- from the photos alone.

    No! -- No! -- No! -- No! -- No! -- No! -- No!
    The sides should be parallel to the chuck face and the bed, *never* at an angle. You can't do parting with it at an angle, even if you can sort of make other things work.

    Which means that it is likely to be hit by a swinging chuck jaw and the knob be shattered. (*Always* wear safety glasses when using the lathe or mill.)
    [ ... ]

    I'm talking about measurements with something which reads out in 0.001" increments or better.

    What kind of ruler do you have which reads in thirds of an inch? And if that is correct, they are just a bit out. 1.6563" vs 1.6667" (giving fractional sizes with different denomenators leads to confusion. Convert to decimal fractions *first*.
    And measuring with a ruler, without the rods is no way to measure it, because the edge of the wedges has been "broken" to avoid sharp edges, and there is no certainty that the same amount has been ground off of each.

    This is with no holder in place, I presume? And which are you calling left and which right? One should be the front (the side towards a long workpiece) and one should be the side (on the left, towards the chuck).

    Again -- without the rods, you are measuring were the edges of the dovetail were rounded off, not where the actual clamping forces occur.

    O.K. A trick is to put a white card in front of the flash to bounce it up to the ceiling -- or if the flash is in the wrong place of this -- bounce it to a side.

    *I* can see it easily in the photo. And that position may be forced by the screw.
    Take it apart as I described before and see whether you can re-align the wedges. And see whether the screw can be removed while you are about it.

    O.K. So fixing it is the only reasonable choice.
    I seem to have already deleted the model number from the toolpost, but do I remember it starting with something like "250-"? If so, that is not an AXA size. The AXA should start with "100-" based on the Phase-II system of marking. Are the holders starting with "200-" as well? If so, you have a BXA toolpost, and it will never properly fit the Aloris AXA holders. And -- it will be too large for your lathe, as well.

    That should not happen Take the post apart and remove the screw. Or perhaps adjust it to limit the over-travel?

    I can see enough to see that you should *try* to take it apart and re-set the wedges.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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???
I was just going by how it would have to be positioned in order for the locking bar to, as you said, point toward the tailstock in the unlocked position and toward the operator in the locked position. (Don't worry. That is not the way it would really be mounted). :-)
The first two pics show the toolholder in it's proper relative position opened and closed. Open would be more like 1:30 and closed at 7:30. (At about 5:00 I can still slide the supplied holders on). http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Tools /
In the correct position

Ok. The ruler was actually normal one that shows 16ths.(Though it is still easy to judge 1/32).
Anyway, it should have been written as 1-21/32 on the left and 1-20/32 on the right. Nevertheless I don't yet have any drill rod. Just drills and taps.(And I still have to clean off the cosmolene).

Correct.
And which are you

From the perspective of viewing the tool post from the corner as show in the third pic.
One should be the front (the side towards

Yes. When on the compound rest..

That is what I did. With the two newest pics I just covered the flash with a double sheet of paper.(That worked out pretty well).

I'll be doing that today.

This guy on eBay is auctioning the exact set I have. 260608805552
(But he says 9 to 12" swing). ???
Here's an Aloris AXA that only says 12". 230481378998
And I assume this is the import knock-off of that also. 360260794079 (Which is what I have).
This is starting to become confusing. I e-mailed the original eBayer to ask what the number is on the box for the AXA toolpost set.(Mine has 250-100).
Here is one more. 310216774478
The dimensions of the square body of the toolpost are 2-23/32" tall, and measured across the top is 2-15/32" by 2-2/32"(which is also the diameter of the circular cap).

I think the problem is that the travel is too limited. At least on the unlocked end.

The worst case scenario is that it really is a BXA and I'd have to sell it and get another toolpost set.(I'll post later on what I find).
Thanks a lot.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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    Most Counter-ClockWise -- the fully unlocked position.
    [ ... ]

    O.K.
    Better shots.
    [ ... ]

    O.K. You don't have a caliper? Dial, digital, or even vernier? Any of those would give you *much* more accurate measurements.

    Not much difference -- but we can't tell the amount of error introduced by the chamfering of the edges of the dovetails.

    Go to a hardware store and buy some steel rod about the same diameter as the depth of the dovetails. Saw it in two -- or at least saw off two pieces a little longer than the dovetails so the burred ends will be clear (since I believe that your lathe is not yet set up to use).

    With the lever in the fully locked position the screw is probably hitting the T-nut blank (unless you have either removed it or turned it to clear) so that would limit the motion of the left-side wedge (sides as normally mounted, not from your corner view). The front side wedge may be hitting the top of travel in the unlocked position.

    I'm using "left" and "front" as normally mounted in the lathe.
    [ ... ]

    Get steel hardware store rod. It may not be very precise, but it should be better than what you can do with a ruler. And a caliper has a pair of ears for measuring the inside distance between two surfaces (the inside of the rods in this case).
    [ ... flash problems ... ]

    O.K. Certainly better images. I didn't even have to lighten them with the computer.

    O.K. Good Luck.
    [ ... ]

    His photo says 250-whatever.

    Yes -- that one was genuine Aloris. Since it is a private listing, I can't tell what the price is.

    Yes -- Typical weasel words -- "Aloris Type".

    More weasel words -- "for Aloris".

    I don't have an Aloris (or any other type) in the AXA size, so I can't compare measurements. The really important measurements are the width of the inside of the dovetail on the holders -- which determines what will fit where. And on the toolpost -- the range of widths of the dovetails from loosest to tightest.

    Setting the wedges to start on different threads can make a difference. You might try pulling both wedges, then starting with the front station find what starting thread gives it the best lever range for both the genuine Aloris and the import holders, then move the lever back until the wedge just barely can be pulled out, and put both wedges back in place, move the lever a little more back (proably about 1/4 turn to be sure) and forward pushing both wedges in until they are traveling in with the lever power only. That should do it -- if it is possible.
    A pity that you can't measure the inside dimensions of the tool holder dovetails, so we can see how likely it is that both the genuine and the import holders will truly fit.
    [ ... ]

    And it should not be either an AXA or a BXA using the numbering shown on one of the auctions you pointed to -- but apparently some makers use strange numbering. Your auction # 360260794079 showed the numbering series for the common clones with the Aloris size in parentheses.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
P.S.    I'm likely to skip answering your postings tomorrow, simply     because by the time I'm through typing to you, there is not     sufficient time to read the rest of the newsgroup. It is     already 1:21 -- though the date information in the headers is     likely to tell when I started typing on this one. Hmm ... maybe     not. I don't see the date in the header yet.
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*** Yes. i have a vernier, some place. :-) And I do have a Shars micrometer set (.0001).

*** Ok.

*** I'll be going away in a couple days and may have to do that next week.

Ok. I'll have to read that a few more times. :-)

No problem. I'll have to slow up myself because I'm getting ready to leave for New Hampshire. on Thursday and won't return until Sunday or Monday.
Ok. I took apart the toolpost, but not completely because I didn't have whatever tool is required to unscrew the ring situated under the hex nut.
First I want to say that three starts in the thread don't represent much in the way of resolution, for lack of a better way of putting it. In all I took it apart several times and it is basically a crap shoot as to where the wedges will catch when they are re-inserted. There are three thread starts as you said. But the wedges can only catch the same threads that are the same relative distance from each other. Anything else would result in a great big difference in wedge high between the two. So basically there are only three option for change. Very small change. (I hope I explained that clearly).
It's easy to tell when the wedges pass a thread entry point when I'm pushing them up at the same time I'm rotating the locking bar clockwise(toward the locking position).
In the end I kept the locked and unlocked position of the locking bar the same(for now), since it is only a problem with the Aloris toolholder, which cannot be put on or taken off that side because of the bar positon.(Not that I could put it on anyway).
So here we go. I attempted to swap the wedges, but of course that didn't work. The surpise was when I took them all the way out. There was another screw on the other wedge. But on top!
http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Tools /
When I put the toolpost back together I left the screws out. My assumption is that the wedges were over-ground at the top and/or bottom, and someone came up with the bright idea to tap and thread the top of one and the bottom of the other to act as stoppers.
But the only change that I can tell now with the screws out is that the Aloris will still only slide down on one side, with effort. But this time the left side. ??? (And I'm not sure that this has anything to do with the screws anyway).
So it seems that I couldn't even sell this toolpost(as an AXA) since it seems to be slightly off original Aloris manufacturing specs. (Now I wonder if this is common with these knock-offs).
The bottom line is that I'll have to find someone more experienced than I to take a look at this and there may be some needed machining involved in bringing it to spec. (ie: Slight milling of the wedges). And there is still the issue of play. It's like the threads between the wedges and the threaded cylinder inside have a loose tolerance.
Thanks a lot.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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    [ ... ]

    O.K. For this the caliper is both easier to use (especially for measuring inside spacings) and certainly accurate enough for the task.
BTW    Do you *really* have a vernier? (One with two scales, one     the full length and one shorter which is used to interpolate     between the markings on the full-length scale), or a dial     caliper, or perhaps a digital one? Vernier properly applies     only to the first type -- but some mis-use the old term for     all calipers of the same basic shape.
    [ ... ]

    O.K.
    [ ... ]

    It will probably make more sense once you have taken the toolpost apart.
    [ ... ]

    As it turns out, there was not much real traffic in the newsgroup, so I was able to finish it and go back to your message threads.

    That's O.K. You don't *need* to remove that for what we are doing. (The tool, BTW, is called a "pin spanner".

    The three starts are equally distributed around the screw, each 120 degrees from the other two.

    I figured that one of yours was on the wrong start. That is how it was behaving.

    Not if you get one on the wrong start, which is what I believe was the case. Shifting the start on one relative to the other would move one wedge up the distance of one tooth (visible on the back of the wedge) relative to the other. Shifting the start on both will move the lever 120 degrees from the current lock positions.

    Yes -- that is how you tell that both are on the start at the same time -- make sure that both snap up a bit before you start screwing them back up.

    Intersting. Those are apparently setting the limits of the swing of the lever.

    Note from the photos that the actual threads on the wedges which engage the multi-start cylinder thread are actually about 120 degrees apart. (Your photo IMG_0144.jpg). It looks as though they are a bit beyond that 120 degrees, but close enough if they designed the threads to start at the right places.

    What I *think* happened is that they did not drill and tap the hole for the lever in the right place (maybe each one is off a bit differently) , and the screws allow them to move the max open and closed positions somewhat -- but perhaps to have the wedges too tight.

    That suggests that you got the front dovetail one started one thread before the left side one, so it is lower (and thus tighter) than the other. Or that this design should have the left one started one thread before the front one.
    I think that the screws do belong in this one -- if only to tune things so the lever can't hit the chuck jaws.
    The screw in the top of the front one adjusts the position of the maximum open lever, and the one at the bottom of the left side one adjusts the position of the lever in the maximum locked position -- the one where you are worried about hitting the lever with the rotating chuck jaws -- especially if there is no tool holder on either station.

    I've not heard other reports about this, so maybe just this brand -- and maybe they have gotten better over time, since the other person who had recently bought one of these (in BXA size IIRC) did not find the screws in his.

    Hmm ... not sure about that being a good idea. Perhaps the best thing is to re-make the wedges so the threads all start in the right place.
    But *perhaps* simply filing off the side of the wedge which locks up first -- or perhaps using a milling machine and a dovetail mill of the right angle (60 degree I think) to cut a little off the non-wedge side of the dovetail (very little -- only a few thousandths -- should make it possible for the genuine Aloris holder to fit on both.
    But you might want to first play with them with only one wedge in place at a time to see whether you can find good positions for each.

    That is so they don't get jammed by chips working into the threads and the travel slides of the wedges. Too much precision makes things sensitive to dirt.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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*** A dial caliper is on my shopping list, but I have to find my vernier. It's been a while and I can't remember details in regard to the scales.

*** Ok. This is already on my shopping list. http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1416

*** Yes. Every 1/3 turn of the locking bar cause the wedges to snap back up to the next thread if I'm pushing up.

*** The wrong start would manifest itself as an *obvious* difference in height between the two wedges.

*** Yes. The distance of one tooth would actually be more than twice the tooth width due to the loose tolerance.

*** I'll have to play with it some more when I come back.

*** The swing increased to about 225 degrees without the screws or a toolholder mounted.

*** Yes. The non-wedge side is the corner between both wedges that form 60 degrees for both sides.

*** Yes. I was wondering how loose the tolerance should be.
I've been playing around with it and there are only three possible swing ranges for the locking bar. And even if I can get the Aloris on one of the wedges it would be with difficulty.
I agree that the screws were to limit the swing, but I don't think it is a big deal. Especially with a tool post on. (But I'll put them back anyway).
So It seems that milling the center of the post between the wedges is the best option.
But first I still need to find out what the respective measurements of AXA and BXA toolholders are supposed to be, so I can determine not only which one I have, but also if they use the same size post body with different wedges, or different sized posts. (which may complicate things as for as mounting on the mini lathe compound slide).
My tool post is 2-1/8" x 2-1/8" x 2-3/16", without the base, which is 15/32" thick.
I'll also have to re-grease everything when I finish playing around with it.
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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    [ ... ]

    O.K. I find myself remembering that there are very cheap vernier calipers (made by General, IIRC) which only measure to 1/128" (fractional size instead of decimal) even with the vernier. The proper ones are graduated in 0.025" steps, and have 26 lines on the vernier. These were made of stamped metal, bent to form the carriage, and with the numbers and lines stamped in them, while a proper machinist's vernier caliper is machined from flat stock with the lines and numbers engraved in them, and the carriage machined from thicker metal. Also, the surface is typically a ground finish.
    --------------------
    But you might want to consider getting a digital instead of a dial. I've gotten a nice enough one at a hamfest for $18.00, with resolution to 0.0005" (half a thousandth). There are quite a few benefits to a digital caliper over a dial one, and only one benefit to the dial -- the dial does not have to worry about the batteries dying. :-)
    Batteries (cells really) are typically either the 357 or 44 size, (interchangeable) and the ones which typically come with the cheap indicators are typically alkaline ones, while the silver oxide ones ("SR" prefix) last a lot longer. But *always* keep a spare in the box with the caliper.
    Among the advantages of the digital over the dial are:
1)    Instant conversion between inch and metric.
2)    Ability to zero across a workpiece so you can tell how much     metal you still need to remove.
3)    Ability to zero in a single hole, and then use it to directly     measure the distance between that hole and another of the same     size.
4)    Less sensitivity to shock. Drop or bump a dial caliper and     your zero shifts, requiring you to either restore the proper     engagement of the dial gear in the rack in the groove in the     body of the caliper, or to rotate the dial to a different     position which makes reading more awkward.
    Also -- tiny chips can get in the rack gear causing the pointer     to lose zero every time you roll over that area.
    I have a couple of dial calipers, one inch (Phase-II) and one     Starrett metric one which I've had a lot longer, before digital     became affordable). But I normally use the two digital calipers     which I keep in the shop (one Starrett and one Mitutoyo), and     keep the cheap one upstairs where I can measure things while I'm     typing (assuming that I have the things within reach, of     course. :-)
    I believe that dial calipers (other than perhaps the glass-filled plastic ones) now cost more than the digital ones.
    [ ... ]

    First off -- you are unlikely to need to unscrew this part of the toolpost. It won't get you access to anything which will fix your problems.
    That one is *useless* for this. Unless it fits something else you have, don't get it!
    It is a hook spanner not a pin spanner, and aside from that, it does not have the projection in the right direction. There are pin spanners with radial projection of the pins, but they also are not right for your toolpost.
    You have a milled slot in the top of the center screw, sort of like an interrupted screwdriver slot on a large scale. What you need are either a fixed spacing pin spanner (pin diameter selected so it just fits into the slot, and the spacing such that it engages the middle of each slot at the same time -- with a cutaway to clear the stud which holds the toolpost to the compound -- or a hinged variable spacing pin spanner. Again the same size pins.
    In either case, the pins must come out the side, not point into the center of an incomplete circle.
    To see the hinged style (called an "adjustable spanner wrench", look at MSC part # 51032860 (But check the pin diameter vs the width of the slot -- this may be too big -- it was simply the first that I found.)
    And here is the fixed spacing style -- and certainly too large, with pins of 5/16" diameter. It is called a "face spanner wrench".
        MSC part # 87002754

    O.K. So it is the same as mine.

    O.K. So your difference is not that great.

    Of course.

    O.K. The fact that you wound up with the other dovetail not accepting the Aloris holder suggested that you had changed something like the wrong thread start.
    [ ... ]

    That is dangerously too much. It allows the handle of the lever to get into the path of the chuck jaws, and if it hits, you are likely to have sharp bits of plastic flying in all directions from the screw-on cap. (A screw-on ball handle would be better if you can find one with the right thread -- or make a new lever with an inch thread on one end for the ball, and a metric thread on the other end for the locking collar of the toolpost.

    Yes -- but you mill the side of the dovetail, not the back surface and certainly not the corner. Dovetail milling cutters come in 60 degree and 45 degree angles. And you don't want to remove much at all or your original holders won't lock. Try to find starting threads for each so both accept the Aloris at the same lever setting.
    And besides, with a heavy cut you are likely to exceed the rigidity of the mill and vise and break the milling cutter (which is fairly expensive).

    It does not need to be too precise. The parts which matter are the side of the dovetail opposite the wedge, and the back on both sides.

    Even with the screws out? I thought that it slid onto one of the two dovetails smoothly.

    And adjust the one at the locking side (left-hand instead of front) so the lever is kept clear of the chuck jaws.

    *Not* the center -- the side of the dovetail (view the following with a fixed pitch font like Courier to avoid distortion):
+-----------Wedge v __ __________ \ | / <---- mill here ____\ | /___ | -+ +---- or here | | v | | /| | ( ( ) ) |/ |

    BXA and AXA holders are *not* interchangeable. The BXA is significantly larger than the AXA -- and the CXA is again larger than the BXA.

    O.K. I will measure my Phase-II BXA -- but first, note that what you call "the base" is not a base. It is a blank which needs to be machined with a milling machine to fit the T-slot of the compound -- unless your compound does not have a T-slot -- and only has a threaded hole.
    The "base" should look like this when you have finished (again use a Courier font to avoid distortion of the image): +----------------+ / /| +---/ / +----+ / / / / /| / / / / / / / / ( ) / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / +----------------+ / / / / | |/ / / +-----+ +----+ / | |/ +---------------------------+
the "( )" represents the threaded hole in the center. The reason that it is supplied as a blank block (with just the center hole) is that different lathes have different sized T-slots, so you make it to fit what your machine has. The width of the center section is just a little narrower than the slot in the top of the compound. The height of that section is a little shorter than the height of the corresponding part of the compound, so when the T-nut is drawn up by the bolt, it will contact the tops of the compound's T-wings but not touch the bottom of the toolpost -- so the toolpost will be clamped firmly down onto the compound and won't slip under cutting loads.
    *You* will have to make it fit *your* compound. (Again, assuming that your compound has a T-slot for the nut to fit into. Otherwise, you simply put it aside and get a center rod to fit the threads on the compound at the bottom and the big nut at the top.
    Now for dimensions from a BXA. (I will be giving decimal fractions, not the fractions which you have been using, and which you would not be using with a proper caliper. Fractional sizes do not belong in machining -- other than as a rough size for stock. :-)
Dimension        BXA    AXA-clone -------------------------------------- Height:            2.775    2.1875" (ignoring locking collar and                     lock-down nut Width both ways:    2.999    2.125" (over top of dovetail in each case) Dovetail W min:        1.642    ????    (unlocked) Dovetail W max:        1.667    ????    (locked)
    I've ignored what you call the "base" for reasons explained above. It is not really a part of the toolpost -- it is an accessory used for mounting it to the compound.
    Beware that the dovetail min and max values are ignoring the inaccuracy caused by the chamfering of the edges -- but should be close enough to show you that yours are a *lot* smaller, just like the other dimensions.
    The height is:    26.8% larger.     The width is:    41.13% larger
    About 2.5 times as much volume (and mass).
    Also -- note that the difference between min and max width of the dovetail is only 0.025" -- one turn of a micrometer thimble. This shows you how careful you should be if you attempt to shave metal off your dovetail. I would consider 0.005" to be the *most* you should consider removing. Start with only about 0.002". (Be careful to set up the milling vise so the travel is precisely parallel to the dovetail, and the back of the dovetail does not slope up or down.
    But I think that the real figures you need are the measurements of a genuine AXA to compare to what you have. I'm worried about the series number (250, instead of the 100 for the Phase-II AXA clone and the 200 for the Phase-II BXA clone.
    Hmm ... the "stock number" on my Phase-II BXA is 250-222, but your toolpost which also starts with 250 is nowhere near the same size, so the question is how close is it to a genuine Aloris (which I don't have to measure).

    A light rubdown with Vactra No. 2 should do it.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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