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  • Tool Post -Tool Height Choices

    I have made some chips with my redone Boxford lathe and all is well except for one small problem.
    On my 8x import lathe 4 way post a ½” bit was just a hair under centerline, now with the Boxford the much nicer turret post is set up for 3/8” maybe 7/16”. I tried to cut the ½ carbide tool holders down yesterday. It didn’t go well. I had an idea they were hardened, and I was right.
    I have a Sieg X3 mill so first I tried a light fly cut with a Latrobe 5/16 bit… that would make it about ten cuts around before the edge would be gone. Then I tried a brand new MA2L 1/2 end mill. It actually did worse than the fly cutter and now I get to learn how to re-sharpen those too! Since I just did a partial hair line cut on the end of one tool, its usefulness hasn’t been hurt. My little x3 mill did not like the light cut on hardened steel either, even in the first few strokes with a sharp bit.
    So am I being foolish trying to make some of the ½ carbide tool holder’s work with the turret tool post? I know I could just buy a 3/8 carbide holder, but I have a large stash of Kennametal and Valenite tcmt tcgt 32.5x inserts that will not work with the store bought 3/8” holders.
    I could just buy an import AXA tool holder and be done with the whole problem, as that would get the height down where ½” would barley fit the center line. So far in my limited experience I haven’t seen a need for one though. I have a large amount of shims and it doesn’t take me that long to set a bit up. Being very inexperienced in machining, the whole “how in the … am I going to do this” on each project takes so much longer than any minor shimming will ever take. The Boxford turret post is a really nice and solid piece too, if it was just an import 4 way it would be an easy choice. I was thinking if I could somehow mill the carbide tool holders to set at center height without any shims that would be very nice. I have a bunch of 5/16 and 3/8 USA made HSS bits so I could use those eventually, but I’m still getting intermittent results with my hand sharpening skills.
    I started to list all my 1/2" stuff on eBay and buy all new 3/8" but I stopped as that might be foolish too?
    Any suggestions or words of advice?


  • #2
    4-way posts like that are used with shims under the tool to get on center. Yes, it's annoying, hence the popularity of quick change toolposts.

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    • #3
      First off, I'd hang on to the 1/2" tooling, you'll get nothing for it going through E-Bay. Then I'd use 3/8 with the current tool post. Both statements are predicated on the assumption you'll eventually find an AXA tool post a valuable addition to your tooling and will find a use for all your tooling, in addition of things to come.

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      • #4
        Do you have a benchtop sander of some kind? You could sand those oversize holders down. Doing it by hand, you won't get a perfect result, but a slight error can probably be ignored and if you go too far you can shim it back up.

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        • #5
          A couple thoughts come to mind. With a torch and a bucket of wood ash to slowly cool down in, the insert holders could be annealed for machining. In my shop, I wouldn't reharden because they wouldn't get so much wear.

          If it isn't hardened, the post itself could be milled out with a wider slot on one side for the holder.

          In either instance, I'd spend plenty of time making measurements first so the insert would end up exactly on centerline when you're done and you will not have to mess with shims.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon View Post
            4-way posts like that are used with shims under the tool to get on center. Yes, it's annoying, hence the popularity of quick change toolposts.
            Thank you for the reply. Yes I really don't mind shimming, it takes maybe 30 seconds at the most. Every thing else takes so much longer. So what you were saying is go with a import quick change and ditch the English made Boxford post? I see on eBay some of the better 4 way posts used sell for more than the cheapo AXA imports - so are people buying them for collections or do they have advantages that I might not want to loose. I don't have anything to compare it to other than the post on my imported lathe or even worse the post on my 6" atlas. So far its a tank build wise, and If I can get the right height it will work ok for me.

            Thank you all for the replies I will read though and follow the tips.
            Last edited by donf; 01-01-2013, 03:45 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by donf View Post
              So what you were saying is go with a import quick change and ditch the English made Boxford post? ... or do they have advantages that I might not want to loose.
              If you don't mind shimming, and don't mind losing zero on your cross-slide (or compound) when changing tools, a 4-way is just as good as a quick-change -- if you only need to change between 4 tools.

              However, as soon as you throw a 5th tool into the mix you're going to want another 4-way turret to swap in and out. Even so, when you look at per-tool costs, as long as a turret is 1/4th the price of a quick-change holder, turrets end up cheaper.

              Disclaimer: I use and like my 4-way just fine, so I may be biased...

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              • #8
                This is the wedge type. Find a discount code and get one. You'll thank me later.
                http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=890-9636

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                • #9
                  It might be worth the $15 to try a stub length 3/8" carbide end mill?

                  .020" depth of cut with fine feed would let you know real quick if you have any chance.

                  Dave

                  I couldn't tell from the OP whether the end mill already tried was carbide?

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                  • #10
                    I'd ne happy to help you out with the toolholder issue. I've got a lot of experience milling or surface grinding toolholders down to a usable size.

                    Where are you located? Your location showing "USA" doesn't tell much.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you for all the tips!
                      No, the end mill I tried was a M2AL. Its some type of import end mill that was only a few dollars more than the HSS end mill from Shars or Enco. I think I will buy a few nicer end mills just in case I run into something hard again even if I don't use it to cut the insert holders down.

                      Enco does have a good deal on the Phase II post. I did some more reading and the imported axa tool posts seem to be finding homes on a lot of nice machines here with no bad feed back.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PixMan View Post
                        I'd ne happy to help you out with the toolholder issue. I've got a lot of experience milling or surface grinding toolholders down to a usable size.

                        Where are you located? Your location showing "USA" doesn't tell much.
                        Medford Oregon is where home is.
                        Last edited by donf; 01-01-2013, 06:45 PM.

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                        • #13
                          To cut hardened steel with a carbide you need to take a cut big enough to pull the heat out with the chip. You need HP and rigidity to cut hard stuff, a skim cut will just dull your endmill due to the friction.

                          Your location is a bit hard to tell if your a neighbor or not to say the least...

                          John
                          My Web Site

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BigJohnT View Post
                            To cut hardened steel with a carbide you need to take a cut big enough to pull the heat out with the chip. You need HP and rigidity to cut hard stuff, a skim cut will just dull your endmill due to the friction.

                            Your location is a bit hard to tell if your a neighbor or not to say the least...

                            John
                            Ok I changed my location. With the little X3 Seig mill I think I might be out matched then even with a carbide endmill. I thought is was a pretty sturdy mill until yesterday. It was moving all around even with a light cut attempt and I have it bolted to a steel bench. I may try to anneal the insert holders one at a time and see how they cut with a new endmill. I really don't care too much about them if something goes wrong. They were under $30 from Shars and did a great job for the money over the past few years.

                            Thank you for the replies!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by donf View Post
                              Ok I changed my location. With the little X3 Seig mill I think I might be out matched then even with a carbide endmill. I thought is was a pretty sturdy mill until yesterday. It was moving all around even with a light cut attempt and I have it bolted to a steel bench. I may try to anneal the insert holders one at a time and see how they cut with a new endmill. I really don't care too much about them if something goes wrong. They were under $30 from Shars and did a great job for the money over the past few years.

                              Thank you for the replies!
                              Yea, your a bit far to drop by and cut them down here. If you can't throw a "rooster tail" of chips I'd say your out matched. The key after a cut is the material your cutting is room temperature, if that is the case then your pulling the heat of cutting out with the chip. Instead of a fly cutter try a smaller endmill.

                              John
                              My Web Site

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