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No-name brand wedge tool posts - how bad are they?

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  • No-name brand wedge tool posts - how bad are they?

    While I have played a bit on lathes at work over the years doing personal projects and have used name brand tool posts, for personal use I've had import tool posts. I had a piston style Phase II AXA tool post on my 12 inch swing Clausing. I currently have a no-name piston BXA on my Summit. The tool post is a bit too small and I only have 5 toolholders (not counting a couple of boring bar holders). Rather than buy more tool holders, I figured I would find a good used brand name CXA at auction this year. Did not happen (I was gone for 4 months this summer - that did not help in getting to all the available auctions). So now I am shopping eBay for a new wedge CXA post and holders. Here are a couple of listings I am looking at: https://www.ebay.com/itm/281791812835 https://www.ebay.com/itm/111835069488

    Has anyone had a bad experience with a no-name wedge tool holder? I'd like an Aloris or similar but can't justify it unless buying used.
    Metro Detroit

  • #2
    Can't directly answer your question about CXA tool posts, but I do have a Phase II AXA wedge QC and am very happy with it. Also I have purchased a number of AXA tool holders from All Industrial and they were all nicely finished and fit the tool post well.

    While the fit and finish of an Aloris is bound to be nicer I can't justify the price for my home shop playground. Man, I miss ENCO, if I remember correctly the Phase II AXA set cost about $180.

    Glenn
    So many projects . . . so little ambition! Arroyo Grande, CA

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    • #3
      I have two Phase II AXA wedge posts that are so good, and have held up so well over the years, I have a hard time seeing how a name-brand one could be notably better.

      That said, when I started tooling up the big lathe, I sprung for a real Aloris CXA, figuring a good wartime American lathe needed a good American toolpost. I trolled eBay for a while 'til I found one that was both in pretty decent condition and going for a decent price. Over the next year or two (I was still rebuilding said lathe) I'd periodically re-check the 'Bay and if I spotted a good deal on an Aloris tool block (usually $60 or less) I'd snatch it.

      Right now, I have a good post and over a dozen blocks, though it probably took over two years to collect, and even at decent prices, still added up to over a grand.

      That said, I would personally probably have no qualms about picking up a Shars or Phase II in CXA. I would not buy solely on the absolute cheapest price I could find, though, as the cut-rate Chinese units, I'm given to understand, are bordering on real crap.

      Doc.
      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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      • #4
        I bought one from CDCO tools about 5 or 6 years ago. $200ish for the whole kit, so far it's fine. Figure on doing two things right out of the box. Replace the setscrews in the toolholders with quality ones, the Chinese have no clue about how to make a good setscrew. The other thing are the height adjusting screws. They aren't even tight from the factory, take them out, wash the threaded hole and the screw in solvent, and reinstall with a couple drops of red loctite.

        http://www.cdcotools.com/
        I just need one more tool,just one!

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        • #5
          No experience with no name offshore ones. I have a bxa phase2 on my Clausing with no real complaints.

          Im sure the ones you have linked are like anything else from China, there are some good ones, some bad ones and some in between, luck of the draw on what you get and really dependent on what your expectations are. A little time and effort spent on it would most likely make it better.

          Edit, I do have tool holders from CDCO, the holders themselves seem fine but like mentioned, the setscrew are horrible and need to be replaced (which I haven’t done yet). I also have at least one where the “nut” on the adjuster is tapped crooked so the adjustment could actually go down while adjusting up or vise versa.
          Last edited by oxford; 12-02-2021, 02:00 AM.

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          • #6
            I have a Bostar BXA and the only problem I had with it was the same thing that Wierdscience said about the height adjusting screws being loose. Other than that it's been a pleasure to use.
            “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

            Lewis Grizzard

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            • #7
              Hi Aribert,

              I too can comment on the CDCO tool holders and the AXA kit that they sell. As a home shop machinist that is self taught they have served me well, and Like the other guys said, I too replaced all the screws for tool holding and height adjustment for the some of the same reasons. In-fact the tool holding screws cracked when tightening for my HSS bits, that's how I found the problem. After replacing the screws all is good for a few years now.. I've since purchased 8 more tool holders and they fit as the originals do, they are repeatable with tool changes too.

              I say go for it..

              TX
              Mr fixit for the family
              Chris

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              • #8
                It was about a year ago that I finally broke down and bought my wedge style import AXA clone. I've been 110% happy with it. I kick myself that I resisted for so long.

                Even the issue of the setscrews... A while back I compared the fit of the 8mm set screws from the holders with some 8mm grade 8 screws I'd bought for a project some years back. You know what? The thread fit was so close between the "lousy" setscrews that came with the holders and the "nice but not premium" cap screws that one would have needed a thread mic to tell the difference.

                Where there is a difference is the hex socket. But while a touch loo compared to some other options let's remember that one wants to find the socket and have the hex key drop in easily.. If it were a fussy perfect fit like I've seen in some setscrews we'd likely be complaining that we can't get the darn key into the socket easily enough. Plus there's going to be the odd time that a chip would wedge a really good fit. So perhaps this is a feature rather than a problem? If the 4mm key starts stripping the hexes out then I'll be up in arms. But so far so good.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                  If the 4mm key starts stripping the hexes out then I'll be up in arms.
                  Make a dedicated key from the next size up hex wrench by filing a slight taper on the end. It is easy to make a tight fit that inspires confidence. I have custom keys for all my high torque hexes made from an inexpensive set of T-handled wrenches. They work really great, with no chance of stripping.
                  Location: North Central Texas

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                    I bought one from CDCO tools about 5 or 6 years ago. $200ish for the whole kit, so far it's fine. Figure on doing two things right out of the box. Replace the setscrews in the toolholders with quality ones, the Chinese have no clue about how to make a good setscrew. The other thing are the height adjusting screws. They aren't even tight from the factory, take them out, wash the threaded hole and the screw in solvent, and reinstall with a couple drops of red loctite.

                    http://www.cdcotools.com/
                    Joel said exactly what I would say, got a bxa for me and cxa for my boy from CDCO about 6 years ago and all is fine follow his proceedure for upgrading the screws and I am pleased.
                    Ed
                    Agua Dulce, So.California
                    1950 F1 street rod
                    1949 F1 stock V8 flathead
                    1948 F6 350 chevy/rest stock, no dump bed
                    1953 chevy 3100 AD for 85 S10 frame have a 4BT cummins motor, NV4500
                    1968 Baha Bug with 2.2 ecotec motor, king coil-overs,P/S

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                    • #11
                      Some people, no names, claim that the wedge type are more repeatable but for a home shop the difference is probably negligible. If you are using it on CNC production work then maybe the difference would matter. Or not.
                      Last edited by loose nut; 12-04-2021, 04:59 PM.
                      The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                      Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                      Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                      • #12
                        Quite happy with my Bostar AXA. It's not perfect and silky smooth like an Aloris, but it is definitely solid and repeatable, even with an assortment of Chinese tool holders from various sources. Also didn't cost even half of an Aloris.

                        edit: the first one you linked is a Bostar (at least that's what it says in the photo).
                        Last edited by MrWhoopee; 12-02-2021, 06:27 PM.
                        It's all mind over matter.
                        If you don't mind, it don't matter.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Joel View Post
                          Make a dedicated key from the next size up hex wrench by filing a slight taper on the end. It is easy to make a tight fit that inspires confidence. I have custom keys for all my high torque hexes made from an inexpensive set of T-handled wrenches. They work really great, with no chance of stripping.
                          That's a pretty nice idea! I honestly don't think the fit is that bad. But if it goes pear shaped I'll certainly be keeping your idea in mind. THANKS!
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by loose nut View Post
                            Some people, no names, claim that the piston type are more repeatable but for a home shop the difference is probably negligible. If you are using it on CNC production work then maybe the difference would matter. Or not.
                            Thats exact opposite of what I’ve always read?

                            Wedge are more expensive thus MUST be better than piston…..

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                            • #15
                              Wedge vs piston. I prefer wedge and here's why.

                              I always try to reduce the overhang of my tools. With the wedge style on the classic Aloris style posts the wedge draws the holder in towards the main post with the two outer flats and the one side of the dovetail surfaces in solid contact. This format of three solid and one "floating" wedged contact areas produce the most contact area over the biggest possible footprint and gives the shorted possible overhung path to the tip of the tool.

                              On the other hand the piston style pushes the holder away from the main post with three points of contact. The two rigid areas along the dovetail faces and the "floating" piston circle. And the overhung path length from tool to closest contact patch is increased.

                              Balanced against this is the degree of cutaway areas between the two styles of main post. There's no doubt that the wedge style is left rather "skeletal" due to the slots needed for the wedges compared to the more closed hollow shape with just two holes for the piston style.

                              But this is all just academic since having used both piston and wedge styles I can't see much difference between the two. Perhaps if one had both style posts on hand there may be a boring bar or a parting tool that wants to chatter more with one post than the other? Anyone experienced that?
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada

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