Author Topic: Easy to make tool holder holder  (Read 9917 times)


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Easy to make tool holder holder
« on: October 22, 2012, 08:13:02 PM »
I don't know if you are all like me, once you get a QCTP, then very soon, there are holders all over the place.

Well a while back, I put a bit of thought into the problem, and came up with a very cheap and nasty, but also efficient method of getting them tidied up.

So here is another of my transfer posts.


On my lathe, I use a size T2 piston quick change toolpost (I think known as an 'Aloris' type in the US).

During the rebuild of my shop, I have been setting up all my tool holders to perfect centre height as they have been required, but they have been left strewn about the workshop on the nearest flat and level surface. So armed with a couple of lengths of 6mm bar given to me by the neighbour who stripped down a baby's cot, I am finally going to get the problem sorted.

My die filer was set up with a hacksaw blade and 60 pieces of bar were cut to length in no time. 30 @ 50mm and 30 @ 40mm.

Half way thru the turning of end tapers onto the bars. All the short ones have been done.

I put a full point on one end and a feed in taper on the other. The pointy bit won't stay that way for long, I will be banging that end with a hammer, and a small flat should be formed on the end. The long ones were soon brought to the same state of machining.

This bit is the experimental bit, getting all the bells and whistles sorted.
After rooting about in the back room, I found a bit of that light brown stuff, I think it is called wood. It hate the stuff with a passion, but if needs must........

Two of the bars were pushed tight up into the dovetail faces of the tool holder, and after a slick bit of measuring and calculation, I found the centre between the two bars.

A line was drawn, and two 5.9 holes were drilled 33.5mm apart, this is to ensure that the holders slip nicely onto the bars without forcing them.
The long bar was tapped down into the hole until 40mm remained protruding, the same was done in the bottom hole with the short rod, but leaving 30mm sticking out. By having different lengths of bar, it allows the holder to be located on the top one, and that then helps guide it onto the bottom one.
This is how the holder fits on.

A view from the front.

So now I knew the system would work. Now to the problems that occur in use.
Depending on which side the holder is mounted onto the toolpost, sets up how the tools fit into the holder.
So what I did, was got the two stickyoutest holders with mounted tools I have, and set them side by side, give them a little clearance between each other, and found the position the next set of bars should go in.

Two more pins located, nice gap, that will do me.

On the last set of racks I made for my old machine holders, I did it the normal way. That is, have a single bar and hang the holders on the bar, like using a coat hook.
I have set up a pic to show the problem with that system. Under certain conditions, the holders end up in the position shown, screw to screw.
As you can easily see, this new setup will allow double the number of tool holders to be hung in the same space.

These are the dimensions I used with 6mm bar and T2 sized holders. If you want to try this system, you will need to work out the dimensions for your particular holders and bar.

So now the system has been proven, I will be up at dawn tomorrow, funny hat on, check shirt, axe over shoulder and Monty Python's 'Lumberjack Song' pumping out of the MP3 player.

On my foraging trip this morning, turned the corner and found a load of pre cut trees cowering in one of my storage areas, so I gave the longest 10mm thick one a wack with an hammer, and dragged it back to the shop.

Once inside, it was dispatched humanely and was butchered to get the three limbs I required.
They were held together with a couple of coach bolts while I drilled holes all over the place.
Twenty in the top one, but I actually ended up with sixty very accurately drilled holes.

Just to make sure they were dead, I wacked in 60 metal pins to the correct depth.
A couple of mounting holes in each length will allow my trophies to hang on the wall.

Up on the wall, and I found they were a perfect place to hang my tool holders on. All sorted into type and how often they are used.
So a little plastic rack underneath finished the job off, I can put all my tips and ground up tooling in that.

As I said, if you too have holders that use dovetails for locking onto your QCTP, you may be able to use this holder compacting method in your shop.


Offline black85vette

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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 08:31:20 PM »
Nice. Very useful.  Best of all; SIMPLE   :ThumbsUp:

Offline Don1966

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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 11:22:46 PM »
John I just got through building one like that last week works great. Of coarse mind is not as good as yours I just put nails in mind a cut the heads. What I like is your Collet holders. Wow! you seem to have the hold set. I need to make holders like that. Is The holders wood or plastic?


Offline steamer

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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 12:15:36 AM »
Awesome tip and build John!   I will do that on my Logan.  My Southbend must be moveable from it position to an out of the way position when moving stuff into my shop.   Based on that,  I think some of my holder will got into the box.

"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!


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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 07:15:41 AM »
Thanks for the good comments gents, and Don, don't catch tool envy.

There is a reason I have so much tooling.

In another life, before I ended up as I am now, I was running a small commercial high precision workshop, and most of the precision tooling I have is what I used for that enterprise.

BTW, the collet racks are fairly cheap commercial items made from pressed and punched steel. I have them for both my 5C and R8 collets.


Offline Jo

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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 08:23:09 AM »
..... don't catch tool envy.

 :o Wow nice. Some of the ex-machinists I knew had an amazing set of quality kit from their pasts. I was lucky enough to inherit from the local technical college  when it shut the machine shop 8)

I was trying to work out why you had two DRO's on you lathe. Then I spotted the scale on the tailstock. I am surprised they don't do a four readout DRO for a lathe.

Enjoyment is more important than achievement.


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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 11:01:22 AM »

When I changed the display on my mill from a 2 axis to a 3 axis one, I had a spare 2 axis display head left over, so it was an easy exercise to mount it up with the matching 2 axis one that was already on the lathe.

The tailstock one really comes into it's own at times, customers used to require holes drilling or reaming to exact depths, and by fitting one on there, it is dead easy to drill or ream depths at 0.0001" or even 0.001mm accuracy.

I do have a post somewhere on the web about how I went about mounting the DRO onto the tailstock, and there is a lot more to it that just wacking it on there and hoping for the best. A few things need to be taken into account, otherwise it would soon become inaccurate and non functioning.

Maybe I should do another transfer post, so you can see the pictures.


Offline AussieJimG

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Re: Easy to make tool holder holder
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2012, 06:26:46 AM »
Good one John, well thought out and well executed as always. And with your customary good humour and superb photography.

Your renovations have done wonders for you.