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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bigger tools to the C4 lathe tool post

The original tool post that comes with the SIEG C4 lathe accepts up to 13.8 mm thick tool shanks, but the maximum tool height to axis of rotation is only 10 mm. I think this a place where SIEG should make a change to their lathe as the lathe has enough power to use bigger tools. Only needed operation would be to make the tool post 2 mm lower.

My own way of modifying the tool post was to use a surface grinder to take off 2,00 mm from the bottom of the tool post. Because the tool post goes over a small shouldered bolt in the compound rest, the bolts shoulder had to be turned shorter. I took about 1.6 mm off of the length of the shoulder in a lathe and chamfered the edge.

I bought a DNMG insert holder from eBay that had a 20 x 20 mm shank and wanted to use it in my lathe, so again had to modify it to fit my tool post. I tried my best to search for 12 x 12 mm shank DNMG insert holders, but could not find any, so the 20 x 20 mm shank had to be bought. At the same time I also bought a 10 piece package of DNMG 110404 NF inserts. The nice thing with these inserts is that they are negative inserts, meaning the insert can be used four times and for me this means 1 EUR per insert edge, so very cheap.

To minimize measuring and setups I used a surface grinder to knock off all the material needed from the insert holder. First I measured that I could take about 5 mm from the bottom safely without messing with the insert retaining screw. Then the remaining 3 mm from the bottom I took so that I created an edge to the holders bottom as can be seen from the photos.

Last operation was to take 8 mm from the backside of the holder so it wouldn't hang so much out from the tool post. This was easy and fast and the last operation I did was to chamfer all the sharp edges with a file. The shank material was hardened, but filed quite okay.

Last thing to do was of course test this new tool with the new tool post mod. The tool sat very well, about 0.1-0.2 mm under the center of rotation as I checked it with a dead center mounted in the tailstock. By the way, it is a good practice to keep something in the tailstock taper as it prevents chips from entering it.

For the test I used RPM of 600 for a 60 mm diameter scrap piece. This gave me a surface speed of 113 m/min now that I calculated it. I usually aim for about 120 m/min minimum if the steel is nothing special. The feed was 0.15 mm per revolution. Depth of cut was 1 mm and the lathe happily purred away throwing short painfully hot deep blue chips. The finish was very good, considering a feed 0.15 and an insert radius of 0.4 mm.

I'm very happy of this tool post modification as it means that I can finally use the lathe :) I'm still going to buy a quick change tool post, but this will do until then.


  1. One last question, I’ve noticed on a few other blogs/reviews that a lot of people get the tools free from the manufacturer to review. Will you tell me how I too can participate in that? Brian

  2. So glad to hear you love the saw too! It’s still one of my very favorite tools. It comes in handy for so many projects. Charles J. Laws