(i.e. Keeping it together, and finding it easily)

By Chris Krstanovic


One problem encountered by owners of small and medium size mills, is that the mill arm only goes so far. As the tools vary in length, and even more significantly, smaller the tool, shorter the adapter, the end result is that you may have to reposition the mill arm half the way through the job. This means re-indexing the tool to your work, and loss of time and the accuracy.


With this in mind I decided to standardize to a single, ¾" adapter for all tools, and to use intermediate adapters to hold the individual smaller tools. Using a suitable adapter, it is possible to extend the reach of smaller shank tools. In summery, all my tools end up at the same distance from the quill. No more headaches!



(click on the pics to enlarge)


After measuring whole bunch of tools I decided that the magic distance for Smithy is 4.75 inches below the quill. This is taken up by MT3 adapter, the tool, and any intermediate adapter. I found a perfect adapter from They have a whole series of adapters (TH20x), about 2.6" long, which fit into ¾" adapter. They are of excellent quality, hardened steel, and very accurate. Count on ~$20 per adapter. The ID ranges from 1/8" to ½", covering almost all tools. Because they are quite long, you can have them stick out, to make up some distance for the smaller tools. To accurately locate the tools, and my holders, I use simple shaft collars from Enco. They are cheap, about $0.20 to $0.50 depending on the size. Once sized up, you can be sure that no mater what combination of tool/holder you have, they will always be referenced the same as the first tool you used. Thus, ¾" tools plug in without any adapter, and all other tools will use adapter corresponding to their shank. You will find that most jobs are done with a single ½" or the 3/8" adapter. Good to know when deciding on sizes of edge finders J. This is cheaper and better than stuff available for Taig mills.



(click on the pics to enlarge)


If you are like me, you have bunch if tools, and you use some more than others. I hate fishing through my drawers, and boxes of stuff, so I adopted a $30 wheeled toolbox (from Wal-Mart). The pictures are self-explanatory. The material used is synthetic decking, but I am sure you can use anything else. The last picture shows how I keep my QCT mounted tools. I discovered these boxes dirt-cheap at the craft store. They are made of some soft wood, which will just not let any moisture in to the box.