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Four Way Tool Post

bjorn toulouse

Dec 26, 2007
N.E. oHIo, USA
If you are looking for a simple but worthwhile project and repeatability is not an issue, think hand ground HSS, then have a look.
I like a tool post style resembling a simplified version of this one.

hercus page 6.

That looks to be a nice copy of an Omni Post, which I had a version of on my 10 X 30 Atlas.
The Omni Post is a cool unit for smaller machines, as well as an economical alternative to an Aloris or Dorian, more info here: Omni Post - The quick change tool post system for your lathe!

The bottom line, IMO, is versatility. With that in mind I recently scored an accessory mount for the cross slide of my Sheldon R15. Now I can leave the Aloris CXA mounted on the compound, and with adapters, still be able to mount other things on the cross slide, such as a 4 way turret, or a hell for stout Globe boring bar holder. ;)



This 4 way was made by OK Rubber, and the main reason I kept it is the 3 degree indexing capability it has.
I've never seen another like it.


I like the concept of the Globe because it keeps the boring bar centered over the anchor point of the holder.



Nov 9, 2012
Canada, Toronto
Why not build the 'Stevenson QC Tool Post'?
Simple design, easy to make, and you can add toolholders as you wish.

Plans here: Quick Change Toolpost

Just Google the term 'Stevenson Toolpost' for more information, plenty of build threads, and pictures.

Hi Peter Neill,

Hi !

Thanks for the suggestion, I see a good tool post design in the Stevenson TC drawings.

However, as stand in the begining I like to get a very simple 4 way tool post.

Thanks again,



Jun 16, 2001
St Louis
If you DO get a 4 way, or better, make one that you think you can actually stand.....

Have it be one that has slots set so that the common cutter sizes you use will end up on-center. I have one, which I DO use (I do essentially ALL one-off prototype stuff, usually without much of a drawing), that has a slot set for each size tool I use. So long as the tool isn't ground too much on top, the height is correct with no stack of wobbly shims.

Go ahead and use a 4-way. You will either like it or not. If "NOT", you will know why YOU don't like it, and don't have to listen to others, so you can either move on, or make one you DO like.

If you DO like it, then you are done.

jim rozen

Feb 26, 2004
peekskill, NY
To the OP, if you scale this up it will work well. If you don't use hard screws then
by all means dog-point them so they don't get stuck.



Mar 16, 2009
Eureka, CA
If anyone has a boner for a large (17" lathe) four way tool post I will be glad to send it to them for shipping cost's. Pm me............



Hot Rolled
Feb 22, 2008
Glade BC, Canada
See, I'm not the only one making more room on the bench. I have a wedge type bxa on my 12" lathe and the one on my Southbend 10K was made by one of my students in the shop I taught in, it's a plunger type but has been in use for 20 years with student made tool holders. Project to teach measuring dovetails using precision rounds. Not repeatable but has served me well. Peter

Greg Menke

Feb 22, 2004
Baltimore, MD, USA
I bought a couple 4-way toolposts from another PM member a while back.. Fit them both to my 14" ATW. I like the indexing feature but haven't had a job come along with enough repetition with enough different tools to make the setup competitive with a set of quickchange toolholders configured for the job. OTOH it might pay off when a repeating job comes along that needs a tool applied at an angle other than 0 or 90.


Jan 19, 2005
The very basis of what gets missed-out in the endless 'toolpost wars', Greg.

Not just the 'repeating' tasks, but the one-offs even more so.

Those among of us who prefer the 4-way, warts and all - and warts it does have - often prefer it because we can EITHER, repeat 'well enough' with pre-formed tooling OR set whatever angle is wanted at the moment very easily for tools we have custom ground. Those may need all manner of fine positioning adjustment - sometimes on the same workpiece.

Personally, I'm not 'against' QCTP. Just 'against' two of the all-too-common viewpoints:

- that QCTP are so perfect for all work that nothing else should be allowed to still exist.

- that the cost of a QCTP AND even a very modest collection of holders MUST be a high-priority initial spend for all craftsmen before they can progress atall.

Wiser to start with the least-cost and most flexible tooling within reach (not just at the TP, either), add what fits the needs as work dictates, expand as serendipitous purchase opportunity - or skill and spare time to shop-fab - come available.


Let's just assume that if practically any model of QCTP had been invented first, that most likely the lantern and the 4 way would probably not have been sought out :D

Anybody that has work that involves constantly switching from boring to turning to boring to turning all the time quickly realizes how much non-QCTPs suck.

But, by all means, you can work without a toolpost at all , if need be.....just make a dedicated compound rest holding each tool :D I wonder how many guys pull their hair out in frustration at working with the archaic methods that are too damn slow....and they simply don't want to do the work because it is too frustrating. It would be like having a mill with one ER40 collet holder......sure, you can do everything with that one holder, but why would you go through the contortions of working that way?


Nov 9, 2012
Canada, Toronto

My tuppence worth!

Perfectly acceptable 4 ways can be made by gluing and screwing stock sections together. For years my QC system was switching between several pre loaded 4 ways. Easy to arrange on a SouthBend or similar machine with a T slot on the compound if each unit has its own locking handle, stud and T-nut. I never needed a location ratchet quite enough to actually get round to making one but 20-20 hindsight was that I ought to have done.

However from general advice and the "don't do as I did - do as I say" perspective:-

One four way. Nope! As Mike C says it gets in the way, you generally can't fully load with normal length tools and with ground HSS tooling you will be looking for shims to set up tooling height when mounting on the lathe. That said a conventional manual lathe properly set-up with short tooling in a ratchet base four way with rear two slot block and tailstock turret can give a capstan a decent run for its money on the right sort of work.

Bunch of quick interchange two way blocks is the route to take. Can be cheaply shop made by gluing'n screwing stock sections together. Two tools rarely interfere. Easy block interchange means you can set re-ground tool height and projection up off the machine on a simple jig, why should tools setters be considered CNC only! Various ways of doing quick interchange depending on your degree of creativity and whether you want a fixed ratchet locator, an adjustable pin type one or none at all. My preferred back of envelope version uses a rotating centre post with a tommy bar hole drilled through close to the top. Tool post has a left hand thread in the top for a tubular castellated nut. First time mount involves screwing the nut up until the tommy bar will only just pass through the nut castellations and hole in the post then 1/3rd of a turn locks things down. To remove back off 1/3rd turn, pull tommy bar and lift off. Swopsie about as fast as a factory QC. I planned to use a separate part for the locating device so it could be turned to whatever position suited the tooling and locked in place. For round bar boring tools I was gonna make a solid block, drill on the lathe and arrange an eccentric carrier for the tool bar to provide a small range of height adjustment by simple rotation.

Never got built 'cos I changed lathes and the new one came with a Dickson set-up. Confirmed my views that conventional QC is expensive and ill though out but not quite enough hassell to build summat better.

Or there is always Clives Patent Poor Boys QC set-up using Armstong holders in block tool posts and changing out tool bits as needed by reference to a decent tip height gauge. Due to the built in up kick on an Armstrong setting the tip height also sets projection to pretty close limits.


Clive 603 !

Thank you very much for the concepts and directions for the construction of a good tool post.

Based in your info, here is a dwg for a 4 way post.

I hope it is usefull for machining.



P.S :
I am Trying to attache the drawing, no success due my Computer limitations. The available drawing is very clear, in .DWG, .PDF, .JPG, and others formats.
If anyone is interested I may send the drawing file by mail, to be properly posted in the forum or for personal purposes .


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