Quick Change Toolposts

From past posts I see that most people feel the wedge type quick change toolpost s better that the piston & that Aloris is the best
brand. I'm trying to keep costs down. I will not be using it much. I mostly cut aluminum. The following are piston type. Are they worth buying or am I wasting my money & will end up buying a nice US made one later?
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G5690 http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber4816
Are there any others that I should consider?
Thanks
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I do not like the piston type. I feel they are not as rigid.
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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The Phase II brand toolposts and holders are acceptable quality, not as good as Aloris but useable. You can get pretty good deals on complete sets at www.use-enco.com, and sometimes they put them on sale. I would go for the wedge over the piston type. I wouldn't go any cheaper than the Phase II brand. Somebody on the forum can probably also give you a free shipping code for Enco.
Good luck-
Paul T.
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The original Aloris post was invented as a piston type by Tony Sirola. Guess what Sirola spells backwards? He went to the wedge type because there was less distortion of the tool holder when it was locked up with different pressures. The piston pushes away from the main block and distorts the toolholder a small but measurable amount. The claim of repeating to .0002 was made with wedge type tool holders. As far as rigid unless you are making huge interrupted cuts no difference. For home use I would get the cheapest brand available and figure on replacing the screws that hold the tool bits. The rest is just a big dovetail cut in steel. IMHO
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

This is a much more plausible argument in favor of the wedge type toolpost than nonsense about rigidity, which has been repeated so many times it's become RCM dogma. When this came up a few years ago, I ran the numbers on the difference in stiffness and the tiny advantage the wedge has in this regard is completely overwhelmed by the elasticity of a toolbit with normal stickout, and even further by that of the lathe itself.
A real advantage the wedge may have is that the action of the wedge tends to pull the holder down and back and probably is more likely to seat the holder the same way each time it's mounted. The wedge type also has more mechanical advantage and clamps the toolholder in a more stable orientation, so it's less likely to slip. But these are issues of repeatability, not rigidity.
I have both a wedge type Aloris BXA and piston type Armstrong and have tried both on my Monarch 10EE. I've never been able to tell the difference between them.
Ned Simmons
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Paul T. wrote:

I agree. I have a Phase-II 'wedge' type on my 10" Logan and find it completely satisfactory. Aside from rigidity, the 'wedge' should give better tool location repeatability. The cost difference on the wedge type is NOT great if you watch for sales.
Yet, many seem to find the piston type acceptable for lighter duty purposes, and certainly superior to 'lantern' style posts. Any differences with the 'wedge' type seem to appear mainly in high precisison and heavy duty applications.
Either one should serve the average hobby purposes.
Dan Mitchell ==========
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The wedge type IS better but it's up to you whether it's worth the extra money. A few months ago the differences were discussed and I drew an image to show the difference. At first I didn't quite have it right so someone more familiar with the wedge type explained my error and I corrected the image. Here's a link:
http://www.progressivelogic.com/other/wedgevpiston.html
As someone else mentioned Phase II is a decent "cheaper" brand and Enco nearly always has them on sale. They have the piston type in the size you want for $119.95 while the wedge type is $199.95. Here's a link to the page in the sale catalog.
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMKANO(&PMPAGE!&PARTPG=INLMPA
As someone else mentioned they often offer free shipping on orders over $50 and as usual someone has posted the code here in the newsgroup. To save you the trouble of searching for it I found it:
"Check out great new tools at the lowest prices from Enco this September. Plus, when you order $50 or more in merchandise through September 30, you'll qualify for Free UPS Shipping*. Just apply promo code 94FSNR at check out when you order online. When ordering by phone at 1-800-USE-ENCO, give promo code 94FSNR to your friendly sales associate as you complete your order.
Happy turning! :-)
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers (1879-1935).

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Thanks Keith for the excellent illustration.
This is the sort of thing that makes this group interesting. To say nothing of the personalities of the "usual suspects".
Errol Groff
Instructor, Machine Tool Department H.H. Ellis Regional Technical School Danielson, CT 06239
860 774 8511 x1811
On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 00:43:38 GMT, "Keith Marshall"

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    I agree that the Phase-II brand is a quite useful one. I have a BXA size (Series 200 in Phase-II's nomenclature) on my 12" Clausing, and find it to be quite rigid enough. However -- I would suggest that you order some US-made setscrews and replace the tool-holding setscrews in the Phase-II holders. I really don't want to find out how difficult it is to drill out one of those setscrews after the hex socket splits out with a tool in there.
    And the Phase-II wedge style toolpost quite happily uses some Aloris toolholders (including some of the more esoteric types which Phase-II does not yet make).
    Aside from the rigidity consideration with the piston style, there is another to keep in mind. The Wedge style has a limited travel for the locking lever -- from near parallel to the tailstock to pointing a bit past straight out towards the headstock end. The piston style, with no toolholder in place, will swing a full 360 degrees, and I have read of at least one occasion in which the handle of the toolpost swung far enough towards the headstock so the black plastic handle on the end of the lever got hit by the jaws of the chuck -- and shattered.
    I didn't see a mention of what size lathe you are using this on, but with aluminum, the main problem with give would be when using a boring bar. More rigidity will reduce the tendancy to chatter and to make an undesirable finish. The same (even worse) could occur on internal threading.
    For external turning and threading, the piston style is probably adequate -- I just don't *like* them. :-)
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Are there any others that I should consider?

Not in that price range.
With an Aloris or Dorian you get a heat treated and ground post (and holders) which will likely last forever.
At three times the cost.
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Phil Stein wrote:

    It's a good idea to temper any bias towards wedge type with a little thought about the type of turning you do and what the capacities of your lathe are. I have a piston type on my SB-9", and it seems more rigid than the compound it's mounted on. Can't see how a wedge type would be a big advantage in my case. Of course, others will disagree with my POV. The BIG difference is the upgrade from the old style toolholder to the side loader dovetail type. Setups are waayyyy easier and more repeatable whether it's a wedge type or piston type.
--
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Pete Snell
Royal Military College
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<snip>

One type you should check out is the Omnipost, made by the KRF Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. Their website is http://www.krfcompany.com /
They sell plans for their holders as well as complete sets and components such as the indexing base for people that lack the equipment to make their own. (While handy, the indexing base is not really required.)
The neat thing about these holders is the very minimal tooling required to make, avoiding expensive items such as dovetail form cutters. The only machine tool required is a lathe (w/ 4 jaw chuck or face-plate), although a drillpress is helpful. The holders are so simple to make that 0 degree rake holders are a required project in our beginning machining class. You can customize the holders to include features not available (or only at great expense) on other QC holders such as built in lathe tool back rake, odd size boring bars, drill chucks, M/T tool holders, and the capability to directly clamp a large carbide insert into the holder w/o a carbide holder at what ever rake you want. [some of our custom holders worked better than others ...]
We are using [or have used] these on Clausing 5200 and EMCO V-10 [10 inch swing -- 24 inched b/c]lathes with outstanding results. The KRF Omnipost QCTH system is very rigid and chatter free, easy/cheap to construct, repeats good enough for all of our projects, and is almost as fast to use as the Aloris type, which is of little concern in a non-production environment.
If you have an Asian [metric] machine, it is trivial to use metric spec fastenters so you need only one set of wrenches around your machine.
We use 1-1/8 drill rod for the center post, and both hot and cold rolled steel for the holders with complete success. Aluminum should also work for most of the holders but may not be as durable. Let me know if you would like some hints on how we make these.
George McD
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    [ ... ]

    O.K. -- After viewing the web page (again), I find myself wondering about how you get the repeatablility, as the tool holder can go onto the post at *any* angle.
    I see the index plate at the bottom, but if the height of the holder is adjustable, that has to lift it clear of the index plate, *unless* the height adjustment screw is pointed, and is used as the index pin as well as the height adjustment.
    Is this how it works? If so -- I see it at least needing a bit of extra care when installing a toolholder to make sure that you get the right index notch -- or everything is wrong.
    And since I use my machine (at least sometimes) as a semi-production machine (with a bed turret, and the quick-change toolpost working with a turret bed stop), so I find the repeatability to be important.
    Rigidity should be pretty good, as long as the clamp bolt tightens enough.
    Thanks,         DoN.
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snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

Don, you are correct in that the height adjustment screw is a cone point set screw and is fits into one of the base slots. So the holder does not go in at "any" angle, but rather into one of the discreet slots (48 I think).
I use this tool post on my Atlas 618 and with a number of different operations. I find it not hard at all to see that the tool holder gets into the right slot. 7.5 degrees is very noticable. On the other hand, I also find myself having to change the compound angle a lot as well, so that also comes into play. But I very seldom have found myself having to adjust the tool post itself on the compound. The only time is when I've had a threading tool and have to align it perfectly to the work when the tool holder can't be adjusted to that position on the base.
As for rigidity, the the clamping bolt is plenty tight. On my machine, it's probably the most rigid component.
I have a friend who's used the same thing on a 10" SB and 10" Atlas with no problems at all. Can't speak for larger machines.
-Bruno
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OK, the cone screw fits into a slot. How repeatable is this considering the lever distance to the cutting point? If I am turning an OD anr remove & replace the tool holder how much does the OD change?
--
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I'm not clear about what you mean by "lever distance to the cutting point". I would think it would be very repeatable, though. The base and post do not move, and the set screw is very tight (using nylon friction rod). I've never experimented with this; when I remove a tool and replace it, I'm usually doing something like sharpening the tool so I always remeasure.
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    [ ... ]

    O.K.
    The tool holder rotates around the post until clamped. The center of the post is the center of rotation.
    The height adjustment screw is fairly close to the OD of the post itself based on the illustrations. Let's say that the OD is 1" (1/2" radius from the center and the center of height adjustment screw is perhaps 5/16" farther out -- say 9/16" total radius. The tip of the cutting tool is significantly farther from the center of rotation, perhaps 1-1/2". This means that an error of position of the height adjustment point of 0.005" would result in an error of 0.0133" at the cutting tip of the tool. (Obviously, a smaller error at the height adjustment screw point would result in a smaller error in the tool's cutting tip position.

    But careless holding of the tool holder while tightening the clamp bolt could result in several thousandths of an inch in error in the position of the height-adjustment-screw/index. And wear or deformation of the point of that screw (perhaps from setting it down too hard on a hard surface, or dropping it on a concrete floor) could introduce similar offsets.

    O.K. *There* is a major difference. I use the wedge style Phase-II (with some genuine Aloris tool holders), and I also (usually) use replaceable insert carbide tooling. The combination means that the point of the tool is replaced within 0.001" or better when the tool holder is removed and replaced -- *even* if I have to rotate or replace the insert to bring a fresh cutting edge into play. And since I am sometimes making multiple parts, retaining the position through cycles of tool changes means that I can trust the dials on the cross-slide.
    As an example, I will describe one thing which I have made four of in a session in my shop.
    Start with four lengths of 3.5" ID aluminum schedule 40 pipe. Two of one length, and two of a slightly longer length, The tailstock end is supported by a small 3-jaw chuck with soft jaws gripping the ID. I face one end of each, and then remove all four to the surface plate, where I use a height gauge to scribe the desired height on each, by rotating each past the scribe.
    Then back to the lathe, where I face the second end to the scribe line, change tools to bevel the edge (similar insert, but mounted at a different angle), then change tools again, to thread the OD for about an inch. I touch off the threading tool on the first workpiece, and zero the dial at this point. I measure carefully (using a thread micrometer) as I thread the first one, until I get the proper depth of thread, and note the dial setting on the compound for that. (I actually have a dial indicator measuring the cross-feed in addition to the dial itself. Both were zeroed at the OD at the start of the first part.)
    I then exchange ends on the workpiece (the main chuck is also gripping by the inside), and repeat the operations (the beveling with one tool and the threading with another tool). This means that for each of four workpieces, I used the beveling tool twice and the threading tool twice. Because of the repeatability of the indexable tooling and the wedge style post, I don't have to re-zero the dials for each successive workpiece. (And if the tools became dull during the operation, I could simply rotate or replace the insert and continue with the same settings.)
    Having HSS tooling, which you remove only to sharpen means that the repeatability is less important to you. For me, the carbide insert tooling and the wedge style toolpost save a lot of time in repeat operations. (I also have a bed turret (six station) full of tooling and a turret carriage stop (with four stops) when doing work while feeding through the spindle and collets and making a lot more pieces.
    Obviously, for one-off projects, you don't really care -- most of the time. However, picture that you are almost at the final dimension, and the finish degrades because the tool is getting dull. With your system, you have to remove the tool, sharpen it, re-install and try to pick up your previous dimension. I pull the tool holder off, pull out an appropriate sized Torx wrench, loosen the clamp, rotate the insert (if there is yet a good corner left on it), or replace it, return the tool holder to the toolpost, and proceed without having to pick up my dimensions again.
    BTW -- the method of clamping carbide inserts in the tool holder which is shown on their web page strikes me as:
1)    Not sufficiently rigid. (Note the suggestion that a piece of     steel be involved in the clamping -- presumably to avoid the     screw applying too much force and breaking the insert.)
2)    Not repeatable, as I see no stops other than for the back edge.
    Proper insert tool holders have the insert guided on two edges, and (often) on a pin or screw through a center hole, so the next insert is in *precisely* the same position as the previous one.
    And -- the insert sits on an anvil of carbide, so it is firmly backed up -- and *that* anvil is backed up with more steel. The benefit of the carbide anvil is that chips won't embed in it, holding the insert at an angle, and providing a fulcrum around which to break the insert. They *are* quite brittle.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
    
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One type you should check out is the Omnipost, made by the KRF Company of St. Joseph, Missouri ...

The ultimate in indexable posts is probably the Aloris BXA-I.
Indexable in 15 degree increments, like the KRF, but it is a wedge type post with four usable sides (two opposing sides if using BXA holders, all four sides if using BXA-I holders), whereas the KRF as only one usable side.
About $1,100 for a starter set.
I agree that a platform which isn't very stiff, such as most 9" and some 10" machines, can effectively use a piston type, as the post is stiffer then the machine.
However, a very stiff platform, such as a Monarch 10EE, can very well use the greater stiffness (not to mention the reset to millionths feature) of the wedge type post.
My 10" Logan 820 has a Phase II piston type. Works well and is priced right.
My 10EEs have Aloris BXA-Is. I would have purchased BXAs, but I got a deal on a pair of BXA-Is that I couldn't refuse.
My 9" Hardinge TL has a KDK, a long gone brand which once had a complete range of proprietary posts.
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snip-----.

range
Nope! Still available, and apparently thriving.
http://www.kdktools.com /
Harold
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The main difference between the piston and wedge types are that the wedge type offer more repeatability and some added rigidity. If your work is very high precision, then you would lean to (and pay for) a wedge type. If you're a hobbyist with occasional usage, then piston should be okay. I've got a piston type on my 12" clausing and it has never given me trouble. Aloris is the top brand and one of the most expensive. If you were in heavy production, especially on hard steels, Aloris would be the one. I've been told by experts that the cheaper ones from grizzly and others just don't last very long in a production /commercial environment. You're cutting mostly aluminum, so the wear issue shouldn't be that big a deal. You must consider Phase II -- as a very good option. Slightly better than Grizzly, but also slightly more expensive. Forget the harbor fright .. The only that's worth while about that is a source of very cheap tool holders -- throw the post away. But you'll have to replace all the set screws -- they are usually made out of old coat-hanger wire or some equivalently high quality steel. Don't make my mistake. Buy the B or 200 size tool post. The A/100 (which I bought) is about as small as you want on a 12" .. The B size tool post costs a little more, but then you will be pleasantly surprized that tool holders (aloris, even) are much more available and much cheaper for B size than for A size. The B looks huge on a 12" lathe -- but it isn't . I keep swearing to shift over to one. Buy the cheaper (Grizzly or Phase II) to start. You can add to it with Aloris holders as you go .. I find them at flea markets and used tool places. If you later find that you have repeatability or rigidity problems, you can buy the Aloris. All your holders will fit.
Boris
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