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Lathe tool question

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John Hall 720/10/2017 13:32:44
11 forum posts

ive just bought a Warco 250v and I’ve been looking at sets of indexable tools to use with it.. I’ve been looking on EBay and it’s a bit of a minefied with so many to choose from..can anyone suggest where to start? Also are the inserts interchangeable or does each tool require a certain one?..Also.. am I looking for tools with a 12mm shank?

Cheers John

Mick B120/10/2017 16:40:36
501 forum posts
29 photos

You have to look at the locating nest for the insert in the tool body. I've got 2 indexable Glanze tools that I bought years ago. They were 8mm, but I milled them down to 6,35 so they'd fit the tool packing pieces I'd made for the Myford, but they transferred to my Warco 250V without mods.

You can use smaller sizes than 12mm with suitable packing, which you can make from 1/2" or 12mm square section steel or alli, milled to an 'L' section so as to support the indexable tool at the correct CH.

I have a suspicion that, despite my 250V being metric, the CH is actually 0.500" above the floor of the toolpost, so 12mm tools might conceivably need a thin packing shim. I say this because my packing pieces made as above are .250" thick on the foot of the 'L', and 1/4" square HSS toolbits come to CH with little or no grinddown on top.

Whichever tool you buy, make a note of the size and angle of the insert location - when you look on the Bay, sellers of inserts usually post dimensions. I didn't know anything when about them when I started, and I haven't bought any yet that won't fit.

Iain Downs21/10/2017 08:20:13
340 forum posts
126 photos

Might I suggest that you consider one of the mainstream providers? Certainly as a starting point. You will find good descriptions and a known quality. As an example (no connection, but very happy customer) ARC have a good range.

If you get one or two from such a source and get started, you can look to eBay later on.


Vic21/10/2017 08:51:58
1576 forum posts
3 photos

May I suggest:


SillyOldDuffer21/10/2017 09:50:49
2793 forum posts
563 photos

Trouble with sets is they don't always contain what you want, so you have to be a bit careful. The last set I bought uses 4 different inserts, has no left-handed tool, and has 3 hefty boring bars I'm unlikely to use. I managed to identify the inserts it uses but it wasn't easy.

If I were you, I'd follow Iain's advice and buy individual holders from Arc; they helpfully stock the range of holders most likely suit hobbyists and inserts to fit them, making it easier to choose the right combinations. Arc also sell inserts that fit their holders. Not everyone else does!

Have a look at this page . Arc summarise what they sell. I'd suggest:

  • An SCLC-R 95° holder, taking a rhombic insert. This is the most useful general purpose turning tool and it carries the most useful general purpose insert. It can face and turn.
  • An SCLC-L 95° holder. This tool is the left-handed version of the SCLR-R, that is it cuts from left to right. I don't use mine very often, but ...
  • An An SSDC-N 45° holder taking a square insert. Square insert are stronger than rhombics and are good for roughing out. They face and turn (right/left and left/right) but they cannot cut into a corner. They are excellent for putting chamfers on turned work. This is my second most used tool.
  • A parting/grooving tool. Various on offer from ARC. I've settled on the NCIH blade type which uses GTN inserts. Parting off can be a challenge! Whatever tool you use, it will work better in a rear tool-post.
  • For boring internal holes, one or more S-SCLC-R 95° boring bars in different diameters. They take the same insert as the SCLC-R 95° and the SCLC-L 95°. I own two: a small one to fit in small holes, and a bigger one for boring larger holes. A small boring bar will cut big holes, but they tend to flex. So it's better to use bigger boring bars on bigger holes, but not essential.

Tool-holder Sizes. I would buy one size down from your tool-holder and shim it to height. (ie. buy 10mm holders to fit a 12mm tool-post)

Arc inserts & holders vs Sumitomo? Sumitomo are 'better' but more expensive. For what it's worth I'm using Arc holders and inserts and - for hobby use - not had a problem with them. Silver inserts are better for non-ferrous metals, but I find the yellow ones usually work OK.

One thing I can't find in the Arc range are threading holders and inserts. Threading inserts are 'special' in that they have an angled point to match the thread type (metric and imperial are different angles), and come sized to suit the thread. (You can't cut big deep threads with a tiny insert.)

Arc also carry a decent HSS set; this has one each of common tools including threading. I use mine quite often despite mainly being an insert fan.


PS No connection with Arc, I just think they've made it easier to buy inserts and holders than the competition.

duncan webster21/10/2017 14:04:52
1496 forum posts
14 photos

Carbide inserts are great for shifting a lot of metal, but the slightest chip to the tip costs £s. I use HSS in a tangential tool holder from Eccentric quite a lot, and am planning to make one for my little Cowells. There's nothing magical about tool grinding, give it a go and save a lot of money.
​If you do go down the carbide route, buy a holder so you can use the obtuse angle of the Rhomboid tips. Soon pays for itself by letting you use all 4 corners, and that corner is stronger anyway. For plain turning the chip is directed away from the work unlike the sharp corner.

colin hawes21/10/2017 14:21:54
454 forum posts
18 photos

For most jobs on a hobby lathe HSS Is more than adequate, cheaper than insert tools, and you will need them anyway for making various shapes. I normally only use tipped tools on tough steels or cast iron to speed things up a bit. As Duncan says tool grinding is quite easy after a little practice and it's a skill that will serve you in well in the future. I also make boring bars from silver steel and they work very well at the proper speed. Colin

Howard Lewis21/10/2017 19:31:26
1167 forum posts

Made up a Tangential Turning Tool from an article in MEW, a long time ago, to take 1/8" toolbits. So impressed made up a larger holder to take 5/16". Used nearly all the time, (use a holder for chipped CCMT0604 tips that uses the 100 degree corners, for roughing. The chipped ones come from the Boring Bar often used).

The grinding fixture is simple to make and does a good job.

Will soon come to the end of the first short bit of toolbit, so quite economical.

Easily set to centre height (especially if you make a setting tool) and when sharp will remove 0.0005" a side and leave a good finish with a 0.0025"/rev feed.

Try one!


thaiguzzi22/10/2017 05:09:34
376 forum posts
104 photos

From my past industrial days of owning two Colchesters to owning my little Boxford in semi retirement the last 14 years I've gone the opposite way. I still have 2 or 3 insert tools, but virtually everything I use constantly nowadays is HSS. Better finish, better DOC.

richardandtracy22/10/2017 10:13:36
855 forum posts
10 photos

To answer the question, instead of offering confusing and contradictory alternatives; I bought a 10 mm set of 7 tools from the seller of this 12mm set on e-bay (I'm on android and can't paste a live link, sorry). The tools in the 12mm set are included in the more comprehensive 7 piece 10mm set :


It comes with enough tips to be useful, and under my usage, I have no complaints at all. The finish is adequate, but not decorative. Given the price of inserts sourced in the UK, even if nothing local fits when you wear those ones out, buy another set including holders. Goes against the grain, but it's economically viable.



Edited to add, it appears e-bay item 263006086269 , the one where I got my 10mm set has been expanded to add a 12mm set. I would buy another set from the seller if I needed to.

Edited By richardandtracy on 22/10/2017 10:37:49

Michael Gilligan22/10/2017 10:47:07
11054 forum posts
475 photos
Posted by richardandtracy on 22/10/2017 10:13:36:

To answer the question, instead of offering confusing and contradictory alternatives; I bought a 10 mm set of 7 tools from the seller of this 12mm set on e-bay (I'm on android and can't paste a live link, sorry).

[ ... ]

Edited to add, it appears e-bay item 263006086269 , the one where I got my 10mm set has been expanded to add a 12mm set. I would buy another set from the seller if I needed to.


Allow me, Richard:



richardandtracy22/10/2017 17:38:11
855 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/10/2017 10:47:07.

Allow me, Richard:



Thanks for that. Isn't android 4.4 fun, even if you can ignore the childish nicknames?



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