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Vertex/shars/bso Dividing Heads

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Izzy

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#1
Does anyone have any experience with the dividing heads listed in the title? They all look the same just rebranded and all cost about the same amount. Are these any good or should I just save my money and get a good name brand?
 

Bob Korves

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#2
Vertex seems to make pretty good stuff, at least their Japanese products that I have seen. I would not necessarily expect the same from Shars, especially if theirs are made in China. Tools that look alike are not always equal, sometimes cheap copies... Disclaimer: I have no first hand knowledge of either brand of dividing head.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#3
FWIW, I recently bought a Brown and Sharp Size #0 style DH from grizzly tools ( their smallest model). Haven't really used it yet, but it looked and felt tight and accurate when I inspected it close up. It is undoubtedly Asian made, as is almost everything these days, but it seems like a good price and more than adequate quality.

BTW, I choose this new Asian DH over all the used, online, old American stuff because I got throughly fed up looking at all the equipment these on line tool sellers had striped of the required accessories - no tailstock, no dividing plates, no workholding, etc. Go this route and you end up paying twice as much as the DH is worth buying back all the accoutrements. And if you don't, the fabulous old "Mercian made" tooling ends up being just useless junk. So nope. I bought a complete kit from Grizzly for my small mill at more than a fair price and have been happy ever since. Hmm, I am ranting a little bit. Sorry. Sometimes these make a buck tool wreckers get under my skin.

Glenn
 

mksj

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#4
Agree with Bob K. Vertex is manufactured in Taiwan, in my experience with their products, I would say they are better made than Shar's. Shar's is somewhat hit or miss on the quality/function of their products, but between the two I would go with the Vertex. They look similar, but there are a number of differences between the two dividing heads.
 

Izzy

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#5
@Glen Brooks yea I know exactly what you mean! There people trying to sell a used dividing head alone for the price of the entire kit from shars/vertex. The most common thing to be missing is the change gears yea I'll probably only ever use them once in my life if that but, if i could have it for about the aame price as a used one that wouldn't have came with it in the first place I'm sold! Plus it's always nice to be prepared for anything that may come your way thanks guys! Gonna start saving my pennies! XD
 

Bob Korves

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#6
SAM_1586.JPG
This is my 6"dividing head on it's sub plate. It was $250 used with all the accessories, and badly needed a tear down and clean up. It has no brand name or other writing on it. I am guessing that it was made in WWII. The included 8 x 18 x 3/4" sub plate just happens to fit my table perfectly. I did have to make 2 new locating pins and add six t-bolt and locating pin holes to fit my t-slots, the countersunk ones in the photo. It has a B&S 9 taper spindle hole with 1-3/4"-8 tpi spindle threads. The sub base is a very cool thing. The original maker put in the mounts to fit his table and then machined the top half of the front face of the plate in place. I made the locating pins (actually nuts) so they fit the front t-slot very closely. They are mounted under the headstock and tailstock and use the same countersunk SHCS. The dividing head and the tailstock are keyed snugly into the sub plate with no play. I can simply set the sub plate down on the table without indicating it, and tighten the four t-bolts, and the sub plate will indicate parallel to the X axis within .001" over the 18". Using a mandrel, indicating from center to center will also indicate to within .001". It literally takes a few minutes to have it ready to go to work.
SAM_1588.JPG
These are the accessories that came with it, I made the 4 t-nuts at left, and they all are used with flat SHCS. Both chucks say D. E. Whiton on one side and Rivett on opposite side of the face. Old stuff. I wonder which Rivett lathe they came off of... The 4 jaw is 6" with reversible jaws and the 3 jaw is 5" and has both sets of jaws. All three dividing plates came with it, plus a duplicate. The whole package works great, appears to have been barely used, and I actually use it because it is so easy to get ready for most jobs. It is a light duty dividing head for sure, but so is my Millrite and the work I do with it.

Oh, for the photo I took the rotary table off, and loosened and slid the vise over to make room for the sub plate. It took about 2 minutes. The dividing head, the rotary table, and the vise all have very snug fitting keys to the table slots. None of this stuff needs to be indicated for ordinary work, they are all within .001" over their lengths with just bolting them down. I know which way to bump the vise when tightening it to get it to a repeatable .0005" over 6" without indicating it. Save yourself a lot of time and effort and do the same with yours!
 
Last edited:

wawoodman

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#7
Slightly OT- My biggest issue with Shars is the shipping costs. It seems like their $39.95 price is fine, until you see $18.50 for shipping...
 

terrywerm

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#9
I have a 6" RT from Shars and it is fine. Compared it closely with the same thing with the Vertex label on it, and I cannot see any difference between the two. Granted, it is not a dividing head, but thought that my observation might be useful.
 

Izzy

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#10
You see it alot in the automotive industry one company will have a bunch of "sister companies" we'll call them and they all produce the same part at the same factory it just gets a different label at the end of the line that's kind of what I thought was going on with shars/vertex/bso
If it does the job just as good as the American counter part I might just have to buy me one!
 
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