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Thread: Multifix Toolholder Clone Review
03-25-2011, 12:05 PM #1
Multifix Toolholder Clone Review
This is a review of a Chinese clone toolholder compared to the original Swiss made product. The Swiss made product is probably as good as it gets in terms of quality and excellence of design. I will double post this as the topic is of concern to several groups who have like interests but seem to prefer pursuing them in different fora.
I suggest to keep the irrelevency down that those who favor other tool systems (the excellent Aloris system for excample) make their thoughts known on another thread leaving this discussion to the merits and defect of the clone under discussion.
There has been mention of "Create Tool Trade CO.,LTD" a Chinese outfit making copies of of the well regarded "MultiFix quick change tool post systems now marketed by Amestra (amestra.de) and distributors. This is the splined tool post system where the toolholder can be incremented around a vertical 40 tooth stube spline that is the tool post. For those not familiar with the Multifix tool post system. here is a link to a catalog:
Increment the digits "12" down to see other pages.
I have a Multifix size "B" tool post and I LIKE it; especially the 40 position feature. I (personally and without good reason) feel that pound for pound the Multifix tool post system is a little stouter and considerably more convenient than the Aloris "wedge type" and certainly stouter than the "piston type".(which I have damaged more than once taking heavy cuts well within the capability of the machine on which it was mounted.)
I was attracted by CreateTool's pricing. Knowing that you get what you pay for I took a gamble thinking that $56 isn't excessive for a poorly wrought tool holder that may be of some use in the future if only to butcher up for a special.
I set the chinese copy and an identical MultiFix toolholder on the bench in front of me. Fit and finish of the Multifix are excellent; the clone less so but these are esthetic not functional points. Dimesionally they are identical. The screws interchange as does the height adjuster. The knurls on the adjuster are even the same. The Create Tool version is a careful copy.
When the original is clamped in the tool post and the single tool registration feature (lower shelf of the tool slot) is scanned with a dial indicator it registers parallel with the tool post base to 0.0010; the clone within 0.0015. Both blue to the post spline about the same but it's very difficult to read the transfer.
My little Wilson hardness tester is out of commission. A file test comparing the hardness of the two tool holders seems fo confirm they are close to the same - about Rc 55 if my guess is worth anything. The unknown factor is the depth of the case. A centerpunch mark tells me - I don't know what; but the Multifix is either through hardened or has a thicker case. The Create Tool version will take a deeper mark suggesting a thinner case (or I punched a place where the diffusion carbon was in poor supply.)
I sheared three 0.001 feelers to about 1/16" wide. I gently clamped the tool holder with the feelers at three points equally distributed along the spline engagement all on the same side of the flank. Tweakng the clamp this way and that I found a setting where one or more of the feelers could be withdrawn to test the equality of flank fit. The Multifix was spot on. The clone seemed to fit sooner in the middle of the spline but as the clamp was drawn up the holder spline came into compliance with the post and gripped all three feelers. This is a very sensitve test and one that demonstrates perfection of fit.
However it must be kept in minds that small imperfections in spline fit does not equate to flawed repeatability or rigidity.
Tests with dial indicators show repeat interchange registration within 0.0003" easily - provided the clamp was modestly snugged say 15 in lb. A tighter setting did not change the registration reading but a minimum clamp torque seemed to be required for consistent tool holding. The vaunted original Multifix claim of 0.0001" could not be reliably determined with the equipment I was using at the time.
I took a couple of full HP (10 HP) cuts with each tool holder with a 1" shank carbide insert holder on 6 dia hot roll steel. Each performed well and no difference in stock removal. tool performance, or finish was apparent from one tool holder to the other.
The one snag with the Create Tool holder was the clamping feature was too close. With the original Multifix you released the clamp and there was ample clearance to snatch out the tool holder to replace it with another. With the Create Tool holder the fit is so snug the holder has to be juggled a bit then slid carefully up or down. If you hurry it will bind. This means tool changes may be thirty seconds in stead of five and a PITA.
The Create Tool line covers the full Multifix range from Aa (suited tto 4" to 7" swing to D (suited for 30" and larger) and they ovver the full range of holders except for the threading versions with the tool retraction lever.
Here is a link: http://createtool.com/list.asp?cid=33
Import clones of the Multifix are available from Shars who advertize here.
From the above I conclude the Create Tool is close in quality and utility to the Swiss made original Multifix toolholder. I would reccommend it for the home shop owner or a commercial shop where 8/5 heavy service was not a factor. If the service was heavy and reliability was a controlling fgactor I would suggest going with the more expensive Swiss made Multifix. Sometimes paying 4x the price of the cheap stuff to buy the really good stuff is a bargain.
Last edited by Forrest Addy; 03-25-2011 at 06:03 PM.
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03-25-2011, 12:21 PM #2
03-25-2011, 12:22 PM #3
me too i have a multifix b and i need half a dozend holders. he was attracted by the pricing. me too. imnot going to buy chinese until i hear about the experience of others. so what was his experience?
(last time i bought chinese, the sk40 tapper just fell out of the quill when loosening the draw bar.)
assuming your quoting somebody else.
03-25-2011, 02:08 PM #4
Chicom products. Shouldn't this thead be locked?
03-25-2011, 02:11 PM #5
In this case it might be nice to hear the verdict between the original and the copy to finally put it to rest.
03-25-2011, 07:01 PM #6
I used to own a multifix; it came with my 10EE. It was beautifully made, but the one drawback I found was that it was never aligned correctly. I was constantly adjusting the toolpost to get tooling correctly setup. I could not find any advantage to having 40 positions, since I either wanted a tool setup for turning or facing, so two positions is sufficient.
square block toolposts once aligned stay set in position unless the compound angle needs changing, which for me is a rare operation. So all the tool holders are setup with the right clearance and the system works.
What am I missing, what makes these 40 position toolposts so great?
03-25-2011, 08:05 PM #7
Personally, I can't imagine life on a manual lathe without one. All of ours at work have these. I've never adjusted the base of the tool post, there is almost always a position that works well for whatever I'm doing, and if there isn't I just swing the compound a bit (unless I'm threading, but they are set so that isn't required.).
03-25-2011, 08:07 PM #8
I used a real one years ago, I don't see what the big deal is. I have Aloris tool posts on all 4 of my lathes. They do everything I need them to.
03-25-2011, 08:33 PM #9
Please note. This thread is not about Multifix Vs Aloris. It's about the original Swiss Multifix toolholder Vs its identical Chinese made clone I bought for an experiment. I wished to objectively compare the merits/disadvantages of Chinese Vs Original in an easy to compare product.
There are many who are well satisfied with their dovetail based QCTP ssystems. If you want to compare merits of the Aloris Vs Multifix kindly start another thread.
03-25-2011, 08:46 PM #10
The really neat feature of my 40 position QC is this: the Swiss (not the Chinese copies) have internal and external retracting threading tool holders available that no other QC has. They work kind of like the retracting cross or compound slides on Hardinge and, I think, Hendey lathes. But the internal holder retracts the cutter away from the operator, which may be a feature not found elsewhere. Anyway, these threading holders make single point threading pretty quick on my Clausing 5914 lathe and I would not be without them.
I only use the real Swiss components, mostly bought new about 30 years ago. I can't say anything about the copies except that they look pretty good, but they don't make the threading holders.
03-25-2011, 10:14 PM #11
I have the Multifix "B" internal and external threading holders. They are beautifully made and work well but I'm so used to manual threading I find it hard to adapt to them.
The Multifix threading holders would form an excellent starting point for an automated threading cycle on an otherwise manual machine should one wish to do so. That's why I bought mine - another dammit round tuit job.
03-25-2011, 10:44 PM #12
You can always achieve the standard 0° or 90° position on the 40 position, and in manual lathework, there is often lots of advantage to cocking the tool one way or the other by one 9° increment to gain boring bar clearance while roughing a large bore (keeps chip clearance between the bar and the hole). Or you might need to get some special tool approach to undercut a facing cut, and one index increment will provide it.
And if you are making regular usage of a DRO, you do what you can to avoid disturbing the position of the toolpost, so those oddball tool positions can readily be achieved, while permitting you to return seamlessly to regular toolpositions for the rest of the job.
03-25-2011, 10:52 PM #13
I have the Swiss "multifix" tool posts set up on 3 out of 4 of my lathes and I have to say they are great! Ive grown soo used to them that I almost hate having to use the Aloris holders on other lathes. It is soo easy to reposition your tools to the angle you want such as after facing, adjusting the tool to chamfer inside and outside. My dad purchaded these for the lathes a long time ago when ENCO was selling them, and Im sure glad he did. They are very accurate, reliable and easy to use. I'm wondering who ENCO had build these for them. You wouldnt know that they are a copy if it wasnt for the name stamped in the top cover.
Heres a few pics of mine in use.
BTW, anyone interested in buying this style of toolpost can find them marketed by SPI. I just got a new SPI catalogue from one of my suppliers and I was suprised to see them listed in it.
03-26-2011, 04:36 AM #14
Forest, is your review a comparison of a genuine Swiss made Multifix or the French made Original Multi-Suisse. I have recently bought a type A Original Multi-Suisse system and the holders are "soft". In addition I have had a couple of other issues with the French manufacturers German organisation.
03-26-2011, 05:31 AM #15
03-27-2011, 05:40 PM #16
J.F. Minder Geneva
Made in Switzerland
FWIW, in this Youtube video
YouTube - DIY Optical tool setter for a Haas lathe
towards the end (3:45 minute mark) he zooms in on an insert in a toolholder on his B-size Multifix and takes it on/off a number of times to show how repeatable it is.
03-28-2011, 06:17 PM #17
06-03-2011, 04:46 PM #18
06-03-2011, 06:06 PM #19
11-13-2011, 04:04 AM #20