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.
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.