Modifying the Stock Taig Toolpost

Tooling for my Taig lathe

Part of the Making Stuff collection
by Douglas W. Jones
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Department of Computer Science

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Modified toolpost and bolts
Modified stock Taig toolpost and mounting bolts
The stock Taig toolpost is mounted using an Allan-head cap screw through the toolpost into a square nut that fits the T-slot in the cross slide. This poses two problems.

I hunted for a better way, and found these two blog posts:

I found Irv Bakeland's solution first; that inspired what I did. Only later did I discover that Lew Bishop had done almost the same thing.

As with Lew Bishop, I modified the hex head bolts used to clamp things to the cross slide. He did some of his work on a mill, where I used hand tools, but the results are essentially the same:

Unlike Lew Bishop, who made lever-operated nuts to fit the top of his toolpost, I opted to use a simple wingnut working against a brass washer. This works well enough that I don't see any reason to make anything more complex.

I've made a number of mounting bolts, in different lengths, and I've drilled several pieces of 1/2" aluminum bar stock to fit the bolts. These bolts and bars have served me very well as furniture for mounting various workpieces and tools on the lathe carriage. My first use for this furniture was in drilling the toolpost to clear the new bolts.

Setup for on-axis drilling
Taig toolpost clamped to cross-slide
The hole in the toolpost doesn't need to be perfectly centered, so my approach to drilling it out may be overkill, but here's what I did:

I used the Jacobs chuck that came with my lathe as a pusher. With the jaws opened all the way, they're retracted behind the front face of the chuck and open far enough that they'll clear a 1/4" drill. This is safe, but I'm tempted to turn, drill and tap a bit of aluminum rod to use as a drilling pusher before I use this setup again. A Taig die holder would also work as a pusher.

I described most of the material here in an May 31, 2017 posting on Nick Carter's Taig Lathe and Milling Machine Blog