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seeking Multifix advice

Lambert

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Location
Leiden , The Netherlands
I recently bought my first new-to-me lathe , it came without a QCTP.

To me the 40 position Multifix design is the only QCTP to consider.
Am willing to spend serious money for serious quality and lasting precision , hoping to buy once and not look back.

So , who would care to share some recent experience in what`s out there ?

Original Multifix (French) ?
Haase (German) ?
AXA (German) ?
Others ?

Thanks for your time.
 

ray french

Titanium
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Location
climax,ga. 39834
Is this your first ever lathe?Is it and old model or one of fairly recent manufacture?I really don't know much about the QC tool posts out there because I've always used the old lantern style.It's my humble opinion that you start there and find out if your new lathe is worthy of an exotic newer QC.Lanterns are reasonably cheap and are just as acurate or better,in the right hands,as any QC.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
My set is Swiss made, size A, labeled with the American Enco brand, who have discontinued selling the Swiss product. I bought it about 35 years ago and it cost almost as much as a Taiwan-built lathe at that time. As you suggest, it has turned out to be a wise purchase. I have never been tempted to use any other QCTP on my 12 x 36 Clausing 5914 lathe, or the lathe I had before that. The unique feature is the pair of retracting thread cutting holders, type AFE and AFI. The retracting holders are not available on any competing QCTP set. Even the Chinese copies of the Swiss design only have the basic holders.

I like my set so well that I once bought a spare set when they were on sale. The dealer had run out of the Swiss tool post and substituted a German Klopfer post to go with the Swiss holders. I have never used the spare set, but the Klopfer post appears to be just as good as the Swiss post.

I also enjoy using my Miller of Austria Quick brand knurling heads. These are the three wheel type that mount in the tailstock. They are by far better than any other knurling tool I have.

I will say that on my 9 inch Hardinge lathes I use Hardinge QCTP, and they are quite satisfactory. Before that, I used Dickson English QCTP, which were quite good, but only came with three basic types of holder. The Hardinge holders have more variety.

I had lantern (American) type tool posts on my first several lathes because that is what the lathe makers provided and I did not even know about QCTP. But I have noted that many European lathes have a stud sticking out of the compound slide where the American lathes have T-slots. You have to have a T-slot if you are going to use a lantern tool post. And I bet the forged steel Armstrong holders that are used with lantern tool posts are a scarce item in Europe.

Larry
 

pistonskirt

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 9, 2004
Location
Plymouth, Devon, England
I thought that the original Multifix was Swiss, though I dont presently own one I have used them & they are very accurate. Toolmex (the Polish supplier) offered a good quality copy but their prices have escalated & availability has diminished since "Europeanisation". There are of course rather dubious Chinese copies appearing lately.

On my "daily lathe" I have a German Drehblitz which I personaly find to be just as accurate as the Multifix but much easier to clean between toolholder changes, unfortunately these appear to be no longer made & very rare second hand.

Never heard of Haase or AXA from German origin but there must be a great many American Haas lathes equiped with American AXA tool posts.

regards

Brian
 

Nick Mueller

Titanium
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Location
Munich / Germany
Original Multifix (French) ?
Haase (German) ?
AXA (German) ?

Multifix ROCKS! I get a repeatability of about 2 µm! Measured, not guessed. But only, if you turn the lever in the same direction (CCW).

There is absolutely no difference between Haase and AXA. They do come out of the same factory. I have both from different sources and they all came with exactly the same packing. Only the laser etching is different.
Now I have a bunch of original Multifix (Suisse, but now made in Germany?) and they are a bit better than the Haase or AXA. The Multifix has a relief in the slot for the bit holder. The other two lack that, so you have to file/grind/mill a chamfer to the bit's shaft. Also, it seems that the Multifix has a ground slot, the others have it only milled.
But for the rest, they are of same quality and same repeatability.

So my vote: Original Multifix for a bit more money that's worth it.


Nick
 

Lambert

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Location
Leiden , The Netherlands
My motivation for not wanting a lantern TP is flexibility.
For instance : I like to take of the last burr in soft materials by rotating the tool and touching off.
They (lanterns) are relatively common over here , especially on bigger lathes.
I`ve used them briefly and don`t like them enough to spend the money for a good quality set.
As mentioned , it`s a matter of personal taste.

Drehblitz I`ve used (recently) as well , in my experience they`re repeating just as well as the Multifix design.
After being spoiled by original Multifix for years IMHO they look and feel clumsy.
Again , totally subjective : a matter of taste.

So Haase and AXA really are the same .... isn`t Haase generally priced a bit higher in general ?

The lathe is a 40 year-old ex-university Hembrug DR1LS , centreheight 5 inches and a bit.
It is the first lathe I own , after using this type and others profesionally for 10 years as an instrumentmaker.
If it`s in as good shape I suspect it is I`ll never sell it ;) , if it isn`t I`ll just keep the QCTP.



What I`m looking for is input on `rumours` I`ve heard about the French Multifix not being as durable as the original Swiss ones.
Not heattreated as well as the old ones for instance.
 
Last edited:

Forrest Addy

Diamond
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Bremerton WA USA
I have used every type of QC tool post there is. While all are handy and vastly improve on the lantern style tool post none of the single position or double position dovetail tool holders are as convenient as the 40 poition spline type tool holders. Sorry nutcase partizans, side by side tests I have run against the stop watch prove my assertion.

Mine is an Enco re-brand of the famous Multifix size B bought in 1973. Yes they are terribly expensive but I would not trade mine for a dovetail based system for - um - don't tempt me. Why spend kilobucks for a Multi-Fix tool post system when a slightly less convenient system is avalable for a fifth the price: the Aloris which is the defacto industry standard. Low cast Aloris clones whose holders interchange with the Aloris system about may be purchased for less than $200.

There are import Multifix clones are recently on the market in eBay under "40 postion tool" and yes their holders interchange with their Swiss made counter-parts. I bought one of their holders and it fits almost perfectly using the blue test. The hardness and other features are pretty close, close enough to swamp the price differential.

I just tried eBay and got 17 hits:

http://business.shop.ebay.com/?_fro...m570.l1313&_nkw=40+position+tool&_sacat=12576.

Here's an Asian manufacturer of the Multi-Fix clone:

http://www.createtool.com/list.asp?cid=33

Quiz them from more info. A fellow there Chaing is very helpful.

All the above sad, once in a while I still use the lantern tool post and Armstrong holders for stuff that just can't be got at any other way.
 

Nick Mueller

Titanium
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Location
Munich / Germany
The lathe is a 40 year-old ex-university Hembrug DR1LS , most likely in good shape , centreheight 5 inches and a bit.

Then you need a size A and that is really not clumsy. I have a size A on my manual lathe (centre height 165 mm) and size B on my TL-2 (centre height 200 mm).


Nick
 

Bruce Wolberg

Plastic
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Location
Appleton, WI
Also seeking advice

I have just joined this forum to find out about the multifix. The company purchased a used lathe some time ago and it came with a multifix mounted to it. And we purchased some additional holders from ENCO while they were still a supplier. The tool post has about a one inch mounting bolt. I am trying to find out the size of the tool holder and get some information on use of the unit. We have been bothered with the unit falling apart as you go to mount a tool holder. Is there a part missing or a technique to keep everything together? I very much look forward to hearing from you and I enjoy this site very much. Thanks
 

HuFlungDung

Diamond
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Location
Canada
The clamp should not fall apart when used as follows: don't rotate the clamp by hanging onto the wrench handle, rather grab the clamp by its spine and rotate it around. Or, slide the tool block onto the top pins of the clamp, then rotate everything to the desired angle.

I've never had that trouble, and I have had the clamp off for occasional cleaning. IIRC, there is a ball and spring somewhere in the hinge joint that preloads the clamp so that it hugs the post to some degree.
 

Forrest Addy

Diamond
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Bremerton WA USA
Bruce,

If the Multifix you have is falling apart chances are you're missing the sheet metal top plate and the little keeper with the garter spring that doubles as a top washer.

There is also a little spring that tensions the two halves of the "bear hug" clamp may also be missing. If the clamp is slid out and it flops open like the legs of a dead crab the spring is gone.

In the inside radius of each clamp half is a hole for a key that engages a central groove in the post. If there isn't a key there, made one of something you can harden to Rc 40 or so. Install them with a medium press or Locktite

You can get those parts from the German successor to Multifix but they won't be cheap.

I don't know if the import parts interchange with the European version. The splines do but the other parts?
 

Bruce Wolberg

Plastic
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Location
Appleton, WI
Multifix is getting better.

Thanks for all of the timely info. My unit has three dowel pins that ride in the groove in the center of the spline area. Both of the springs are missing. And the top center plug by the pointer was stuck. I freed up what I could and drove the dowel pins in as far as they would go. I put a large O ring in the top groove by the pointer, and tried to find a spring for the back hindge. It is a lot tighter now and not as eager to fall down.

How do I tell which unit I have? Mine has a 1.587 center hole which is the largest size in the Shars catalolg. 18" to 30" cap. lathe.

Thanks again.

Bruce Wolberg
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
...I am trying to find out the size of the tool holder...

If you have genuine Swiss tool holders, look for markings on them that designate size. The smallest is Aa , then A, and so on. A second letter is the type of holder, like turning/facing, boring or cut off. The units Enco sold used a different system like E-2, E-3 etc. chemically etched, but may also have the Swiss size stamped in.

Larry
 

Keith Krome

Stainless
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Location
Auburn, Alabama
If you have genuine Swiss tool holders, look for markings on them that designate size. The smallest is Aa , then A, and so on. A second letter is the type of holder, like turning/facing, boring or cut off. The units Enco sold used a different system like E-2, E-3 etc. chemically etched, but may also have the Swiss size stamped in.

Larry

According to my SPI catalog, the Swiss sizes are, in order of increasing size, Aa, A, E, B, C, D

It is as if E was an afterthought in between size.

It is out of order.

I still don't know the Enco way of sizing them. Please post if you know.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Sorry nutcase partizans, side by side tests I have run against the stop watch prove my assertion.

40 positions would just screw me up and slow me down, hell I have enough trouble keeping my rule, calipers and saftey glasses where I can find them. :D


Forrest is exactly right. And I want to thank him for taking the risk of
buying from an unknown vendor, and then testing them as he has.
I will be ordering some extra "e" holder's as well as a Aa complete set
based on his recomendations.

To all the neysayers out there (the "Nutcase partizans")
have you ever actually used one ? to doo a complete job on the lathe,
meaning, turn, face, bore, chamfer etc ?

40 position = every 9 degrees, it's easy to find the right position (etc. parallel
to spindle, or perpendicular to spindle c/l) Align the toolpost once using a dial
indicator to tram it in, and your done unless you knock it out.
 

Phil Burman

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Location
Stavanger, Norway
Have a read of this thread.

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general/40-position-import-multifix-213174/

I bought the Amestra Multi-Suisse variety (Type A with 10 holders) 6 months ago and was not impressed by any part of the transaction considering the price. Some of the disappointments are detailed in the thread.

Ignore all discussion regarding Swiss made unless you are going to buy used. There is currently no manufacturer in Switzerland who makes the Multifix QCTP.

If I were to do it again I would seriously look at the Chinese "Create" alternative as evaluated by Forrest.

Phil:)
 

Phil Burman

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Location
Stavanger, Norway
The important dimension is the distance from the top of the compund slide to the spindle rotation axis. A Type A may be OK but older machines seem to have a relatively small compound to spindle height. I guess it's from a time when tools where mounted directly on top of the compound. My lathe is German, 44 years old and with just over 5" (130 mm) swing, it has a compound height of 22mm which means with a Type A the largest tool section I can use is 12mm by 12mm. A type Aa though would have been to small for other reasons. I have seen older machines with a few mm skimmed of the top of the compound in order to increase the maximum tool cross-section that can be used.

Phil:)

The lathe is a 40 year-old ex-university Hembrug DR1LS , centreheight 5 inches and a bit.
 








 
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