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box tool questions

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  • box tool questions

    I've been looking at what I can find on the 'net about box tools. There seem to be two types; one kind uses a V block to support the shaft, the other uses two rollers. I guess rubbing blocks would work, but all I've come across are rollers so far. And oddly (at least to me) the rear rollers usually seem to be well above the centerline of the part.

    Is there an "all about box tools" webpage I'm missing, or book out there somewhere? I have a few lathe and general machinist books from the 1920s-1950s, but some of them generally admit box tools exist, and others don't mention them at all.

    It looks like all a box tool is, is a follower rest and cutter joined together. I'm sure there's some fiddliness in getting one set up properly, but it looks like such an amazingly useful device to be so generally ignored.

    Are they not as useful as they look? Or do they just not offer any great advantage over a follower rest?

  • #2
    Box tools were a staple tool of the turret lathe for much of the 20th century. They have fallen into disuse over the years with the advent of CNC lathes.


    • #3
      Extensive discussion of box tools and other screw machine and second op. tooling in the B&S "blue book". Also discussed in the Warner and Swasey Turret Lathe Tools book. Both are invaluable references for screw machines and turret lathes. In other words, "How stuff was made before CAD, CNC and the button pushers arrived."


      • #4
        Usually the Vee supports are for use with brass, because the fine chips tend to get trapped between rollers and workpiece.



        • #5
          There are lots of books on Box tools
          They generally associated with Automatic Screw Machines , so see if your local library can track down some books for you

          Automatic Screw Machines and Their Tools
          by C.L. Goodrich & F.A.Stanley
          MaGraw- Hill book Company 1909

          Brown and Sharpe Automatic Screw Machine Practice
          The Industrial Press 1912
          The above was a reference from The Machinery's Handbook series
          number 102 - Part IV had box tool information

          Many box tools were custom creations by the very talented tool makers who did that for a living.
          It is a fascinating aspect of machining history



          • #6
            The reason for the above centerline position of the rollers is two fold.
            The cutting pressure of the tool bit would lift the work, so downward restrictions were required.
            Don't forget, this production machining was high speed operations and no turtle speeds were allowed.
            Work deflection CONTROL is the ESSENCE of Box-Tools
            Second, the open bottom allowed for chip clearance/removal



            • #7
              "Automatic Screw Machines and Their Tools" by Goodrich is a free download from Google Books. Thanks!


              • #8
                When I was but a little kid one of my first jobs was grinding box tool bits, by hand.