The Quick Change Tool Post

About a year ago I was still unsure how to really use my lathe, so I did some digging and found a youtuber named Curt Filipowski who was doing some really cool Taig mods. At the time I was really curious on knurling. I’d seen a bunch of tutorials on knurling, and I had read a bunch of articles talking about how you can’t do it with the Taig. So I find this guy and he’s made a knurling tool, clamping style, for the Taig specifically. So I subscribed to his channel and he’s had some cool stuff out there  since then.

Check him out here: YoutubeHis Website

Anyway. He just a couple of months ago posted that he was working on a set of quick change tool posts for his Taig. I’ve had my eyes on them for a while started with the one from A2Z tools and then the generic OXA version that littlemachineshop has available. But I’m weird when it comes to tools…

It really has to do with the way I learn. I don’t truely understand how things work until I’ve taken them apart and fiddled with them. While a tool post’s concept is easy enough, I still felt like it was something I could make rather than throw the $120 plus shipping at the internet.

So I watched Curt’s tool post video and he mentioned that he might make the plans available. Upvote time. Like a week later he posted a new video with a link to his store for the plans. (buy them here)

The plans themselves are very nice. All done in great detail and 3d modeling. And for me, someone with no experience reading technical plans, or milling, they were easy enough to get through. Well worth the $3.00 I paid.

But lets back up. I had just like 2 weeks earlier gotten an ER32 collet chuck. I had also then the week before found an old Kennedy box full of tooling on Craigslist for a steal. So, I actually had the tools to do the job. time to dust off the milling attachment that I bought with the lathe 3 years ago!

Problem one for me was sourcing the material. Which nicely enough was just 1×1 6061 extruded aluminum. I hate ordering online for metals because its always a huge expense and shipping cost. So I consulted with some local friends of mine in construction trades and tracked down a metals supermarket location. I picked up a 6ft bar for about $20. good to go!

So I cut off a rough block and set off.

I faced down the block to dimension probably over dykemed it and started the layout.

I was actually really surprised at how well it was all going. I also was learning a ton from my regular instagram postings and people graciously helping out. (like the terribly inaccurate alignment and placement of the indicator…)

It was all so good and then I grossly overshot a hole… Rather than tossing the part in my scrap bin, I milled out a channel on the side for a 1/2″ bump knurler that I had gotten in the Kennedy box. Worked out all right since I didn’t have a fine wheel set for my cheap Grizzly clamp knurler.

I pressed on and made the part again.

It took a considerable amount of mind power from me to get the parts clamped up for the 45 degree cuts on the dovetail. But I got it working.

It was at the point where I was starting to make the mating 45s for the dovetail that I realized everything was out of square. great. So forge on and end up with an added angle to the tool from the post or try again?

Try again. Turns out I was using the milling “vise” wrong. I wasn’t actually locking it in place, I was just tightening the hand screw. Number 3 at this point is coming out really nice. I decided to cut the main dovetail and the mating parts out of the piece in the same move so I just had to flip the work and not reset the vise.

(its not in the vise here, I didn’t mill it this way, it was just for the picture.)

This approach worked really well. I wish I had done more parts at this point. My angles are sort of close to 45. Not by any means perfect.

This is the point that I missed photographing some steps. But I did some hand finishing and was able to get the part fit really well. Well enough that I could turn the round parts that I needed with the 3/4 built post.

I’m really pleased at the fit that I was able to get on the dovetail. Its rock solid.

So I went ahead and finished up the main screw and the brass height stops.

I only made one real change to the design from the plans. I made the actual tool holder over sized. to accomidate a 3/8ths tool instead of the 1/4″ that it called for.

I’ve slowly been working on making additional tool holders sort of running them through in multiples as I get time.

I’ve learned so much from this first milling project that its crazy. Its all about going in the right sequence of steps and checking everything all the time.  Its been a great project!

So at this point, I’ve got the post and I’ve got 2 holders. but thats 1 more than I started out with! It also handles the 3/8ths bits that I have now. Which means I can use the tooling I own!

So in summary, if you need a QCTP, make one and follow Curt’s plans. Especially if you have a mill. I can see how this would have been like 10x easier with a proper mill…

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