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Tangential Toolholder: Practical Self v.s. Emotional Self. A Play in 2 Acts

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  • Tangential Toolholder: Practical Self v.s. Emotional Self. A Play in 2 Acts

    This is a play in two acts. I have written ACT I. You write ACT II. I’ll post the real ACT II after it happens.

    Narrow your browser window down to about 8 inches wide to see the formatting in a more realistic width.


    ACT I

    THE SHOP is a typical home machinist shop. It contains the usual light duty lathe, small milling machine and drill press, and the other bits and pieces commonly found therein. The shop owner is a reasonably neat person who puts his tools away at the end of each phase of each project. Nevertheless, tent spiders keep draping the windows with their craft, and there are oil stains and tiny bits of swarf on the workbenches.

    As we enter THE SHOP, sun is shining through the side window. The garage-style doors front and back are open and a gentle breeze is blowing through. It’s a nice day. PRACTICAL SELF and EMOTIONAL SELF are having a spirited discussion about the acquisition of a new piece of lathe tooling.

    You know, I really want one of those tangential tool holders. They look like they would work well for me. I’m really tired of jerking around trying to get the right edge on toolbits, and this floppy old lathe chatters any time the moon is not full.

    (Projecting an air of frustration; sort of a “Here we go again,” response.)
    Aw 'cmon now. We've been through this before. Last time I checked, you just HAD to have that Atlas 7-inch shaper and as I recall, you've only used it three times in SIX YEARS! You were whining for a Bridgeport, and before that it was a Monarch lathe or some such toy. You've done just fine without either of those and you don't need this overpriced toolholder. You haven’t even finished making all bits you need for your quick change toolpost.

    (A little annoyed at the attitude of PRACTICAL SELF.)
    I bought the shaper because I didn't have one, and the stuff I did with it couldn't have been done any other way. And I'm happy with the lathe and mill I have now. Those were just springtime urges. But I'm not happy with this toolpost setup. Think of how much better I could do if I had something that would let me sharpen toolbits with one quick whiz on the grinder.

    Look, those tangential toolholders have the cost/price ratio of a hearing aid. You’re doing this for fun, so taking time to properly sharpen toolbits should not be an issue. And if you can’t do it right, learn.

    Yeah, but I looked at the video on the net, and those toolholders are really cool. I think one would solve my chatter problem.

    You want to fix your chatter? J.B.-Weld your lips shut. You need to learn how to use your tools.

    (Starting to get angry now.)
    Look, this is an ATLAS lathe. It’s going to chatter. That’s just the way they are. Every gib and bearing is tighter than an old maid’s grip on her virginity. I’ve honed my toolbits to scalpel sharpness and set them with a vernier height gauge, and that iron cow patty still chatters unless I light a stick of incense before every time I try to use it.

    (Speaking firmly and forcefully but not getting visibly upset.)
    Listen to what you tell your photography students. The quality of the work is no more related to equipment than the quality of a photo is related to the camera it's taken with. You just spent a hundred bucks putting a rectifier on that buzz box welder and your welds still look like turkey turds. Why don't you go take a machining class at City College and learn to use what you have?

    Yeah, but if the lens on the camera is cut from the bottom of a pickle jar -- I’ve been working metal for over 20 years, and I think I know at least a few of the basics. Besides, think how much I would save on toolbits. I could make one quarter-inch toolbit last almost forever.

    The basics? The only useful thing you’ve made so far is three pads of steel wool. Look at your sig line, buddy. Furthermore, that toolholder is a hundred and forty bucks. How many quarter-inch toolbits could you buy for that kind of dough? If you want one of those goof-ball things, make one. You’ve got all the plans and photos you can find on the Net. If you just want to get rid of some money, put it in your IRA.

    (Really mad now.)
    Life is for living. What am I supposed to do? Save all my money for a fancy plaque at the mausoleum? I made the extra cash on a side job, and putting it in my IRA isn't going to take one more day off my sentence at the asylum.

    (EMOTIONAL SELF refers below to She Who Must Be Obeyed. EMOTIONAL SELF places emphasis on the following lines. )
    Not only that, but my SWMBO wants me to have this. She likes my hobby and thinks its good for me. She goes with me when I travel to play with the toys I make and has just as much fun as I do.

    So you haven’t answered my question: why don’t you just make one?

    You know the answer to that. My hobby is building a live steam locomotive, not making tools to make more tools. If I took on that philosophy, I’d be out there mining ore to smelt down so I could pour my own iron to make my own castings to make hammers and anvils so I could forge my own....

    You did that. You made your own lathe, and it came out pretty good, remember?

    Yeah, but that’s why I bought this one. There’s only so much time in life and I’m already busy as a two-peckered possum.

    You made a lathe so you bought one? Being a man possessed of such superior logic, you should run for Congress! That toolholder is just a wallet magnet. If you’re going to spend that kind of money on a shop tool, why don’t you buy something that is worth that much? If the price was seventy-five or eighty bucks, it could probably be rationalized, but this thing is priced like it was part of a government contract. If you hadn’t seen the ads, you wouldn’t even know it was there and you’d be just as happy.

    But I WANT a tangential tool holder.

    Suck it up!

    By this time, PRACTICAL SELF and EMOTIONAL SELF are sitting on shop stools, back to back. EMOTIONAL SELF pouts as he looks out the front door, PRACTICAL SELF is obviously annoyed as he looks out the door opposite as we


    ACT II


    (The next day....)

    OK metalheads. You write ACT II.

  • #2
    Sorry Greg..I'm still laughin too hard to write anything! Good job!
    I have tools I don't even know I own...


    • #3
      I got lost about half way through BUT just make one it's easy and
      satisfying. :-)


      • #4
        ACT II, part one: Buy one

        ACT II, Part two: make one

        The larger one is a Diamond Tool Holder from Bay Com (1/4" square tool bit). The smaller one was made using a 3/16" tool bit and fits in an A2Z holder.

        The amount of hours taken to make one would firmly convince anyone that I am a bit partial to this type of tooling!!! Some would say nuts.



        • #5
          Emotional self,
          I could solve the chatter problem by getting a new bigger heavier duty lathe instead of a tool holder.
          Practical self,
          Yeah, Its will also make it easier to make those locomotive parts.
          Order it up, its only money.

          I'm sorry that was Marks Practical self talking and he's not very practical.
          Mark Hockett


          • #6
            I have one of those toolholders, which came with my Sheldon lathe. They're rather overrated, in my opinion, and at $140, way overpriced. I very rarely use it.

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


            • #7
              Yeah - I talk to myself a lot, too.

              So I talked myself into making one. I use an "Omni-Post" QCTP system - they have ads in our sponsoring publications. I happened to have a hunk of 2024 I bought for making some "regular" tool holders a while back.

              I found some information on the beast by way of a couple of earlier threads about this very subject. Looking at the pictures, I came up with a "plan." Which I followed, more or less, and it came out ok. There are some issues with it, mostly having to do with my "plan." It works for turning, but doesn't have the mechanical clearance to face larger diameter objects. One of these days, I'll get hold of a bigger hunk of 2024 and make one without the problems I built into my first attempt.

              I really like the way it works, and it is my most frequently used tool holder. Works good on Al and steel. I doesn't work too well on interrupted cuts, probably 'cause I'm too weak to get the screw tight enough. But overall, it works well enough to be worth the effort it took to make it, and I learned a few things in the process. Which, IMHO, it's as good as it gets. FWIW.

              Last edited by gearedloco; 12-04-2008, 07:56 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Doc Nickel
                I have one of those toolholders, which came with my Sheldon lathe. They're rather overrated, in my opinion, and at $140, way overpriced. I very rarely use it.
                Thanks for that Doc. With all the talk about the tangential toolholders lately, I was on the fence, but I think I'll wait...
                "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                • #9
                  I want...

                  For the first time, I have lusted after plans.

                  Specifically for the A2Z holder. I wish there was some way to make them not hit the center (i guess there is- small point lathe center)


                  • #10
                    Greg: I really enjoyed your post. Made me smile, it did. So, I have had 2 Atlas lathes. Both have now passed on to new owners. However, I kept my "diamond toolholder" got it at the PRIME show, when it was in Eugene, Oregon. My hometown. Now that I have a heavy lathe and lots of horsepower, I don't use it much. But, it's a good tool. Hopefully, you have discarded flimsy toolposts in favor of a dovetail type, or a square block of some kind. When I got the diamond type, I made a spacer to replace the ring and tapered wedge used with the miserable Armstrong type tool holders that I used for too damn long.

                    I have no way of knowing how much money you have to spend on your hobby. I'm not sorry I got mine, and I'm a working man. Remember that you can peddle tooling for hobby sized machines at a decent price. So, I don't think your risk is very high.

                    I would suspect that the geometry is close to the new style high positive carbide inserts I now prefer.

                    I like the homebuilt versions. Maybe someday I'll build my own version, for a BXA toolpost.

                    I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                    Oregon, USA


                    • #11
                      I had the same arguement with myself several years ago while trying to learn on a clapped out Logan lathe. I finally bit the bullet and shelled out the cash to buy one from BayCom. Best machining money I ever spent. Period. I wish I had done it sooner. I was amazed at how well that sloppy lathe worked with a well ground bit. If I screw up and take too much bite, the bit just slides down instead of tearing things up. If I get in too much of a hurry and dull the cutter, it takes about 2 minutes to resharpen. I've recently upgraded to a bigger, tighter lathe. The first thing that got installed was my diamond toolholder. I plan to make my own (someday) for my BXA toolpost, both left-hand and right-hand. The only thing I dislike about it is that I have to keep adjusting the toolpost angle. When I make my own, I'll set the angles so that it will turn and face with the toolpost square with the work.



                      • #12
                        Tangential tool-holder

                        Get a standard common lathe tool-holder to suit the tools bit size/s you want to use, cut the head off it, rotate the head 90 degree (so that the fastening screw is to the right), grind/shape the head and shank to suit the front clearance angle you require and weld it together.

                        One quick, cheap "tangential" cutter = done and ready to go.


                        • #13
                          You don't need plans just wing it. :-)
                          like I did, works good .


                          • #14
                            Nice job on "Aloris" tangential toolholder Lew

                            Do you use it, or do you prefer a conventional tool?
                            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                            • #15
                              I just bought one. I think they get a bad rap because they are designed as an all purpose one size fits all thing, and seem designed to replace skill by making it really easy to sharpen. But if you forget their targeting of the market, and look in something like a KBC catalog where there are a loads of toolholders for insane prices, and limited uses, it isn't so bad.

                              So far it really works well, and they really work well for the kind of work I do with the lathe I have. I have a slew of other bits and holders, that cut fine, but this one takes a lot less sharpening. I have 4 south bends, and they came with a bunch of original cutters, used by guys that had these lathes before me. The bits that alway seem pretty useful are the one with a very narrow point and a high back cut angle. The diamond tool holder naturally takes that shape on, and it is infinetly sharpenable without cutting away the useable portion of the tool. There is a ton less stone dust in the air after a fresh diamond bit is shaped than there would be shaping one of those ye' olde ones.

                              I haven't tried the threading yet. I just hope it is as good.

                              There is only one thing about it that isn't so good, and that is the price. I managed to get one direct from OZ when the Can. dollar was at a favourable rate, and that made it a lot cheaper for me to acquire. If one looks at it as a part of getting some improved tooling into a lathe that was a steal in the first place... It's not too bad a price overall.