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?
?itemnumber=34816 Are there any others that I should consider?
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
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.
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers (1879-1935).
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. :-)
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
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.
One type you should check out is the Omnipost, made by the KRF Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. Their website is
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.
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.
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.
"Phil Stein" wrote in message news: email@example.com...
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.
Saving money on a toolpost can haunt you. I bought the HF piston 100 series-size a couple of years ago, and it's one of those "it looks like".. say the item.
This piece was problematic from the beginning, and nearly every time I've used it.. I can't believe that some users on lathe groups actually praise these, I guess it goes to show ya how much cheap prices are appreciated by some people. This set is so crappy that I can't imagine a cheaper quality version. The best feature is that it doesn't (hasn't) come loose during operation, if that's any kind of an endorsement.
Made in India, blue box.. with 3/4" boring adapter, drill chuck & shank/arbor, cut-off adapter and several tool holders.
I've heard all good compliments about the Phase II units. Enco puts 'em on sale for about $90 for the 100 series as 5 piece set, I think. I've heard that Enco may substitute generic parts in the set, from one guy.
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.
Those look interesting -- in particular, the threading one, which appears to have a lever for withdrawing the tool form engagement with the thread being cut in the workpiece without having to disturb the calibrated feed settings. *That* feature I would love to have. :-)
In article , Boris Beizer wrote: : 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.
If your lathe is smaller than 12", check the dimensions of the toolholders carefully. With the B (200) size you may find that the bottom of the toolholder hits the compound while the cutting edge of the tool is still above center.
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.
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.