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MLA toolpost?

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  • MLA toolpost?

    Anyone look at the "MLA toolpost" article?

    Got to wondering about that, and it seems like every part that is good about an Aloris post is removed from that one, except the way it holds the holder.

    It does not reproduce tool location when you put back the tool. When you loosen the toolholder, the whole thing slides around.

    It does not reproduce not easily adjust tool height (that could be fixed).

    It won't even stay at the same angle.

    It's a good idea, probably..... but I think I would peg the front of the post to the baseplate, leaving the back movable with the lever tightener. Then I would bolt the base down to the compound separate from the tightening lever.

    The basic principle could still be used, but the good features of that style post would be brought back.

    It just seemed puzzlesome......... why make a completely inferior post, when a minor amount of effort added would make it work so much better?

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    I had the pleasure of spending the weekend of the NAMES show set up next to Andy Loftquist. He is a nice guy and I enjoyed getting to know him.

    When people asked him that, his reply was that he wanted the flexibility of moving the toolpost to suit the job.

    There is a through tapped hole for a setscrew to set the tool height, but a "hanger" similar to the Aloris could be provided.

    The toolpost as presented is a very simple design that is easily made, and embellishments can be added to suit the builder. For several years, I used a home brew version of the KRF Omni Post advertised in HSM. Mine did not have the repeatable indexing feature, but did have height adjustment. It was far and away better than the rocker style or four way style, and I would think Andy's toolpost would offer similar benefits.
    Jim H.


    • #3
      Nothing wrong with using what you like.....

      But if you go to the trouble of doing an article, I would suppose that one might want to mention the improvements that might be good, maybe even do some sketches.

      For something like an aloris post, the improvements are already completely known by anyone who has seen or used such a post. And, they were "subtracted" to get to the post in the article.

      I can easily see how to improve that one, but not everyone can "build stuff in their head".

      Well, its out there now, along with #173 of the never ending engine article, and "how to spend a lot of money and time building a surface grinder that is almost like a real one, using large equipment that your shop probably does not have or you'd already have a surface grinder, and end up with something not quite as good as what you could have bought for $200 used".

      In case you think I am an incurable grump.... I didn't mind the lawn edger article that got so many folks uptight..... and I liked the bench rest article, etc, etc, etc......
      Last edited by J Tiers; 05-17-2006, 12:24 AM.

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan


      • #4
        It makes you wonder if anyone looks at the overall design of these things before they print them or just accept it and let it go ?

        Recently in MEW there was a design for a attachment [ no names mentioned ] in this attachment was a shaft that carries a spacer, a gear and a nut.
        Total length of this shaft was 25mm, the nut was 5mm, don't know what the gear was as it was omitted from the drawings and the spacer was 22mm long.

        Now I don't know about others but drawings should tell you all you need to know, words are extra. So there is no way this is going to go together, UNTIL you read the text.

        Believe it or not in the text it said. "Take the spacer and cut 12mm off " I searched for what you did with the 10mm bit but it wasn't used. So why not draw the spacer at 12mm long instead of 22mm long ?

        It makes you question how many actually build these attachments from the magazines, looking closely at the design of this one it wouldn't have worked correctly due to a cutter shaft only having one output bearing at one end, the other end being unsupported.


        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


        • #5
          I read the article , as a novice i can easily miss what is wrong with a project i did wonder what if you wanted to keep the same tool angle , i think i am becoming a bit more skeptical of the hsm articles .

          The bench surface grinder article also seemed a bit beyond my abilty and my equipments abilty , i have bench sized equipment a sb9 and benchmaster mill
          6 by 12 travel . and yes no# 173 of the never ending engine projects that never intrest me .

          I dont know if it would be good series of articles but i think it might . Start with something like "i just got a lathe now what?" perhaps something along the lines of the british model engineers , Where they start assembling thier shop from the tooling they make. Start with something easy to more complex as skillbuilding series . I have found Forrests new hand series helpfull, as a novice i struggle at times to understand the articles .

          that was my rant and my 2 cents
          scariest thing to hear " I am from the government and i am here to help"


          • #6
            It's all a matter of personal preference. I have used Aloris toolposts for a long time, and I have a Kirkelie QC toolpost on my lathe at home. I like both the Aloris and Kirkelie; but I don't do production work, mostly one-offs, and the toolpost does get moved around a lot.

            I have the toolpost put on my to-do list, as I intend to make one to fit the P&W lathe I am working on. Three reasons come immediately to mind, 1) The price is right, 2) It will work well for the type of work I do, 3) A major improvement over a lantern toolpost.

            At the very least, I'm glad Andy contributed to the magazine. The pile of articles to be published surely can't be all that deep, and I have to agree, some should have been left in the pile.

            Just my opinions.



            • #7
              No single design of toolpost will answer all the needs of machining. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Andy's design is different, but certainly not inferior.

              Andy set out to build a toolpost that met several criteria; Convenient and rapid changing between tools. Flexibility in presenting the tool to the work. Easy fabrication with a minimum of parts.

              He met these criteria, and passed the design and build along to HSM readers. The article is well written, has clear and accurate drawings and photos and explains techniques and choices of various materials used to build one. The article is a very good article, and anyone who wishes can build a useful tool from the instructions presented.

              Andy is a pretty capable guy, and I am sure if he wanted to duplicate an Aloris tool post, he could. He instead designed a simplified version that is easily made in the home shop.
              Jim H.


              • #8
                MLA Toolpost

                I built the one designed by John Stevenson and I really like it. A big advantage is I don't have to worry about needing extra holders as I can make them when required, I make a batch of 6 at a time and it's a lot less expensive than buying them. Another thing some manufacturers change stuff so your stuck.

                Regards Graeme
                Last edited by GRH; 05-17-2006, 02:35 PM.


                • #9
                  I think too, the MLA toolpost is a good design and good writeup. He clearly explains that he doesn't do production work so repetitive setup wasn't a design criteria. He wanted some of what he considered advantages of the lantern toolpost (quick flexible tool presentation to the work) with the advantages of quick easy tool replacement and constant set height. Lots of design features are mutually exclusive so you choose the best set for your purpose and find a product that most nearly meets that.

                  Jan M.
                  "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


                  • #10
                    I probably won't build either the toolpost or the surface grinder BUT I read the both articles. I'm allways interested in how things are done. He points out some procedures that I wish I had had when I was making extra holders for my aloris and kdk holders. The surface grinder has a lot of parts that have to be precise to function correctly, for me not an easy task. I admire people who can make things and can write a clear description.
                    my two cents worth.
                    Herm Williams


                    • #11
                      I found both articles interesting, but like everything in every other "how to" magazine or book, I will likely never make it exactly like the "original" in the article.

                      That does not mean that I found the design inferior, but more than likely because I have different requirements, machines, materials, and skills. I think to ask a writer to include all that would be "too much to ask" for a "how to" article. Same with the "prints", sometimes only the "relationship" and fit of the parts are important, not everything needs to be dimensioned " xxx+-0.0005".

                      I do like the UK magazines, both woodworking and metal working, they have a different "spirit" from what is published for the USA market.

                      I actually think that the articles are "climbing out of a slump" in the last few months, but I am usually a "contary indicator" in just about everything.
                      Last edited by TECHSHOP; 05-17-2006, 07:03 PM. Reason: Cool! just found this advanced editor, an fixed my hack post editing.
                      Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."


                      • #12
                        I think the MLA design is pretty good.
                        I have an Aloris BXA on my lathe (13" swing), and I find that is a bit big and clunky. Since then I have bought a 40 position "multifix" type post. I like this better because it given me more available angles, but it is not as easy to drop tools on and off.
                        Looking at the MLA post, I think it might be a really good post (at least for me). It provides rigidity and repeatability in height, and can be quickly set to any desired angle, which I think is a nice feature. As others have mentioned, repeating to a particular angle often isn't necessary in the home shop.
                        About the only thing I would want to add would be a single index or detent so that I could quickly and accurately set the post square to the axis for boring or mounting a threading tool.


                        • #13
                          The neet thing abour the articals in HSM is they may give you ideas for something you yourself are building. The surface grinder in neet but I dont need one .I wont a tool an cutter grinder an the artical gave me some ideas to work from , the same with the tool post . I built one 30 years ago I borried an Aloris an copyed it. But if you are not around this stuff all day in a shop you dont know about a lot of it.I am trying to learn how to use a computer and a drawing program with out any one to ask question of or see it done and man it Is hard. I can just imagine buying a lathe an mill and trying to learn what to do with it with no previous knowledge. expecialeyafter 38 years of cutting iron.
                          Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


                          • #14
                            I see Andy Lofquist frequently as we live just a few miles apart. I was sort of "in on" the design of the toolpost described in the article. Andy did not set out to duplicate or improve upon the Aloris design, he set out to design an inexpensive replacement for a lantern post.

                            I use an Aloris AXA, and I was skeptical from the beginning about the usefulness of his design. However, now that it is done, I say DO NOT DISCOUNT the handiness of this toolpost. The repeatability of the Aloris is gained at the expense of ready flexibility in rotating the post in the X-Y plane. I have my Alorix locked in at 30 degrees to the compound axis and am loathe to change it even when I should. Andy’s toolpost has instantaneous versatility because both the holder and the post are locked by a single motion of the handle. I like it a lot, and Andy does also. He has made a dozen or so holders for it and uses it all the time. No, I will not make one to replace my Aloris. But, knowing what I know, I would not feel at all disadvantaged by having one in place of the Aloris. It’s a right handy piece of tooling.

                            I might add that there are a lot of articles in HSM that are about as readable as assembly instructions for a Chinese-made gadget. Some describe projects that almost no one will make, and they are not worth reading by anyone else. Andy writes with skill and wit (he has a master’s degree in creative writing). Even those who don’t need a new toolpost can read his article without falling asleep, and they may even profit from it. In my opinion, his is exactly the kind of article that we need more of in HSM.

                            K. Steiner


                            • #15
                              I have bought several of Andy's items

                              over the years and have found them to be well thought out, fairly priced and good qaulity material. He isn't trying to get rich. If you don't like his products
                              design and build your own. He is designing things for the HSM who has only a lathe to work with, it's quite easy to build things when you have a fully equipped shop but when you are limited to just a lathe and maybe a drill press it brings out the talent. This is one of the reasons I am not impressed with these CNC projects, I am not belittling anyone's interests or capabilites but I think it takes a bit more talent and skill when you do it manually.
                              Non, je ne regrette rien.