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Update on toolpost bolts

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Chris Murphy15/07/2022 13:46:56
57 forum posts
46 photos

Hi all,

I managed to find some of the toolpost bolts I was looking for and they fit perfectly.

so if anyone else is looking for these bolts, I got them from Westfield fasteners.

one question tho, these 4 way Index toolpost are supposed to be on a ratchet if I’m right, but mine just turns anyway Willy nilly, even tho it seems to work ok and also what is the grub screw and spring for.


chris m…..

Chris Murphy15/07/2022 13:48:54
57 forum posts
46 photos

532d0a27-4194-4798-b408-283f2903f3a6.jpegPics from previous post….,,


Edited By JasonB on 15/07/2022 14:00:08

JasonB15/07/2022 14:01:15
23022 forum posts
2763 photos
1 articles

Chris, rather than start a separate thread to add photos you keep forgetting, just reply to the first one and put the images into the reply

Baz15/07/2022 14:02:55
756 forum posts
2 photos

Grub screw and spring push a plunger on to the ratchet.

DiogenesII15/07/2022 14:38:49
587 forum posts
230 photos

As Baz says there should also be a little plunger about 3/16" round and 1/2" long. It's hollow at the back so that most of the spring fits inside it..

Look in the driptray, on the floor, in the T slots on the cross-slide and especially in the channel between the shears.. ..all kinds of things turn up in there.. smiley

Let us know if you find it or not.

Edited By DiogenesII on 15/07/2022 14:39:11

Chris Murphy15/07/2022 15:29:18
57 forum posts
46 photos


there is no plunger there, this is how it’s been since I got the ml7.

I’ve still been using the toolpost without any problems tho, but was wondering how the ratchet part of it was supposed to work.


I see what you mean tho, I found this picture online which shows the plunger.

I don’t have this part I’m afraid.25b15b8f-e795-4438-be10-79f25abb3d1c.jpeg


chris m…..

Edited By Chris Murphy on 15/07/2022 15:36:10

John Hinkley15/07/2022 15:52:09
1354 forum posts
430 photos

It seems, from your first post, that you have the spring and grub screw and Diogenes11 has given the ( approx ) size of the plunger. Now, if only you had a lathe, you could make one! devil


DiogenesII15/07/2022 17:32:09
587 forum posts
230 photos

It'd be easily formed on the end of a piece of 3/16" Silver Steel.

The hole is 1/8" (0.125" ) diameter, drilled 1/4" (0.250" ) deep.

The overall length is 17/32" - 0.530" - call it 'a wee bit over 1/2"' - it's not a critical dimension.

The end of the plunger is turned (or can be filed) smooth and has a small chamfer about 1/16" wide all the way around.


Edited By DiogenesII on 15/07/2022 17:32:52

Robert Dodds15/07/2022 20:09:15
322 forum posts
63 photos

untitled - 1.jpgChris,

Apologies for a daft question, but have you got a sprocket wheel on the bolt that the toolbox rotates on and that then fits in the recess on the bottom side of your toolbox when its all assembled. If not you won't get a positive index. The plunger on its own wont help much.

Regards Bob D

Edited By Robert Dodds on 15/07/2022 20:23:06

John Hinkley15/07/2022 20:26:44
1354 forum posts
430 photos


Have a look at one of Chris' other posts, Topslide question thread. The ratchet wheel is displayed there. It's just the plunger that's missing.


Howard Lewis16/07/2022 10:43:20
6301 forum posts
15 photos

I hope that you didn't loose the spring and plunger when you took the toolpost off the Top Slde!

Take a GOOD look all over the floor and in every corner!

One of your photos shows the grubscrew that closes off the hole on the outside of the toolpost.

If you cannot obtain spares from RDG / Myford, you will need to make a replacement, and find a suitable small spring. (Again, you could make one from some piano wire.

The Pawl will just be a short piece of round bar with one end filed at an angle to suit the ratchet wheel. For the sake of durability, Silver steel would be better than mild steel. Go to Cromwell Tools and buy a 13" length and start building up your store of metal that "Will come in handy one day".

If you had the dimension of the spring (Can anyone tell Chris? Wire gauge, OD, free length, no of coils  

a) you could get one made. (If they are still trrding, Vincent Springs of Peterborough, would oblige, I am sure )


SillyOldDuffer16/07/2022 11:44:28
8862 forum posts
1995 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 16/07/2022 10:43:20:

I hope that you didn't loose the spring and plunger when you took the toolpost off the Top Slde!

Take a GOOD look all over the floor and in every corner!


Possibly a previous owner lost it! It's one of the hazards of owning older equipment; likely to have been dismantled for good and bad reasons in the past! Apart from losses due to unwise curiosity many careful experienced workers have seen a spring, plunger or ball-bearings take off, and been unable to find them.

Might have been removed deliberately too. Some folk prefer to clamp tools at an angle. If so, an indexed tool-post is a nuisance.

Even though it must reduce rigidity and increase the risk of slippage, I find cutting with tools clamped at an angle works well enough. Possibly my reason for working that way saves the day: I reserve it for delicate work like getting into awkward corners, not roughing out. But that's just me, as much habit as logic! Anyone do it most of the time, and why?


Chris Murphy16/07/2022 12:30:47
57 forum posts
46 photos


the small plunger has never been there; I didn’t even know it had one until I saw a picture of it.

the toolpost is fine as it is, but I will see I can make the small little plunger.

thanks for the suggestions.

chris m….

Tim Stevens18/07/2022 18:37:49
1622 forum posts

There is, though, one problem with the type of bolts (or screws) you show. Whenever you are turning anything which produces a powdery swarf (wood, brass, etc) the hexagon holes will fill with swarf, and this will stick there because of the oil spray which is there already. So, your Allen key won't fit.

My guess is that the older lathes were fitted with square heads for this reason* (and small because the clearance around the head is reduced). When you get fed up with this effect, you might try cutting small square heads on ordinary hex heads - but find a nice small spanner of the right size first.

* and not just because hex socket heads were not introduced until around the time of WW2.

Cheers, Tim

Nigel Graham 218/07/2022 19:22:29
2257 forum posts
33 photos

Square-headed screws on anything like this were normally meant to be operated with an appropriate square-socket key, though there's nothing to say that if there is room around them, you can't use hexagon-heads with a 1/4" drive socket, or a tubular spanner / nut-driver.

I find an old, well-worn-down paint-brush usually quite effective for cleaning out Allen sockets.

Michael Gilligan18/07/2022 20:35:15
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Tim Stevens on 18/07/2022 18:37:49:

* and not just because hex socket heads were not introduced until around the time of WW2.


Took a while to catch on, then dont know



Grindstone Cowboy18/07/2022 21:01:43
892 forum posts
64 photos

Not really useful in this context, but I'm sure I saw mention in an old issue of ME to oiled wooden plugs being driven into hex socket head bolts to keep them clean. Although it does occur to me that getting them out again might be more trouble than it's worth.. Probably OK for large sizes, pull them out with a woodscrew?


Tim Stevens19/07/2022 10:04:37
1622 forum posts

Indeed, Michael, they did seem to take a long time. My guess is that among the factors involved were:

1. The fact that the Allen idea was patented, and perhaps they wanted too much for licenses.

2. The need for 'concentrated tightening' only became serious as aero engines, torpedos, etc were developed in wartime (ie WW2).

3. The design only works well in high-tensile steels, which were themselves slow in development.

And thank you for filling in a gap in my knowledge. I have wondered, now and then, if the spelling was allen or alan, etc and whether it deserved a capital.

Regards, Tim

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