• We want to wish everyone a healthy, happy New Year, full of joy and success. God bless you, and thank you for supporting The Hobby-Machinist.


Collet holders?

[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!
Looking at some collets and noticed a lot of choices for holders, draw bars and 100mm diameter chucks.

Never having used a collet all I can tell is they hold stuff and come in different group sizes like ER-8 to ER-50 etc...

I have read they can hold everything from your project to an end mill>?

What determines what set up and pieces that a person is to use with collets?

I have 10x30 with a 3 jaw chuck and thinking about adding collets for end mills and gripping my small projects.


You can get a short straight shank ER collet chuck to put in the 3 jaw which maintains your through the spindle ability. ER32 collets go up to 3/4".

Sent from my H3123 using Tapatalk
Collets tend to be more concentric (accurate) than 3-jaw chucks, so they are worth having. I suspect that your spindle has an MT3 inner taper. You can get a set of MT3 collets and make a drawbar to suit. This may be the cheapest, but MT3s don't have the same range as ER types.

An ER-40 holder and set will work well for you, but the length of work you can hold inside the spindle may be limited by the method used to attach the holder to the spindle.

5C collets are my favourites. If you can find a collet chuck that will attach to the outside of your spindle, you can hold stock that extends into the spindle or add a depth stop that will allow you to make repeated parts of identical length. You could always make your own collet chuck to fit your lathe. This is my design: https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/5c-collet-chuck.24762/

How does the collet mount and how does this mount to the lathe. Why would I want a draw bar vs no draw bar or a 100mm face chuck type?
I just never used any of this, not trying to be difficult. More like a kindergardner, have to explain real easy..haha
I have found ER32 collets to very useful. I went with ER32 collets because they go up to just over 3/4" and the spindle on my lathe is just over 3/4". Why go bigger than what I can pass through the spindle. I bought metric ER32 collets because each collet has a range of 1mm So no gaps in coverage. Imperial ER32 collets had gaps in coverage. I have a MT2 collet chuck for the lathe and a R8 collet chuck for the mill/drill. I will either make or buy a ER32 collet chuck that fits on the spindle of the lathe. The only thing holding me back from making one is I doubt that I have the skill to make it accurate to .001 or better. A collet chuck for the lathe is not a high priority. I use a 3 jaw chuck over 90% of the time.
So far I have only used the collets for tool holding. On some of my up coming projects I plan to use collets to hold the work.
On my mill/drill I have found that I rarely have to raise the head to change tooling. Simply unscrewing the collet nut provides enough space to change tools. I have only recently discovered this benefit of ER32 collets on the mill/drill. Buy a couple of extra collet nuts. I have found it handy to have different size collets already in a collet nut when changing tooling. I plan to buy a couple more collet nuts.
Any pictures of how all the pcs go in the lathe, Chuck to spindle to collet, so I can see how the pcs attach. This way I can have a better idea what to look at on my lathe to see whats available for my lathes mounts.

So it sounds like I can hold an Er 32 collet in my 3 jaw ? So no need to buy a chuck or special collet holder or draw bar?
Any pictures of how all the pcs go in the lathe, Chuck to spindle to collet, so I can see how the pcs attach. This way I can have a better idea what to look at on my lathe to see whats available for my lathes mounts.

So it sounds like I can hold an Er 32 collet in my 3 jaw ? So no need to buy a chuck or special collet holder or draw bar?
No, you will need an ER collet holder for them, you can get holders that have a shank which you can put in the 3 jaw chuck though.

There are several methods of attaching the collet chuck to the spindle, there's the aforementioned collet chucks with a shank, there are some that bolt to a backplate and connect via the spindle (threaded, camlock, etc), there are others which mount via taper (MT3, etc)

Here are some images to help visualize:
A collet chuck with a taper adapter, the taper goes into the spindle, must match spindle taper

Here are some that would attach via a backplate

Here's one on a straight shank

These were chosen based on search engine image result, not utility, quality, or price.

Also, a few videos to help visualize.
First off, what is the spindle bore on your machine? Or, if you want to hold work a little larger, what size do you want to hold? That determines what size range you want. ER32 and ER40 are commonly used around here, 5C is pretty popular as well. They all have pros and cons, so you need some idea what you want to use them for before deciding on a set. Do you have or plan to get a mill, or is this just for your lathe?

It sounds like you are thinking to use end mills or other tooling on your lathe spindle. Do you know what type? There are a couple ways to do this, but it's important to make sure the tool can't "walk" out. So you need a drawbar setup, do not hold them in a 3/4 jaw. And end mill will want to pull into the work, you need to make sure it can't do that. Also find out the torque requirements for the collets you use. It's surprisingly high for some of them. Make sure you have a wrench for them. Note that collet chucks often do NOT include one.

For tool holding, a higher quality set is recommended. For work holding, it's less important. Though I wouldn't recommend the super cheap set from Banggood and the like. I've seen some reviews on them that make me wonder why one would ever buy them.

How the chuck attaches to the lathe depends on the type you get and the type of lathe. For the direct spindle type, your spindle likely has a morse taper, MT3/4/5 probably. You remove the chuck, place the collet chuck in the spindle taper, and use a drawbar to hold it in place. Then you can install collets with the work or the tool. Note that drawbar style holders generally prevent using the spindle bore to pass long material through. That's not a problem for tools, but it might be for work depending on what you want to hold.

I believe your lathe is a bolt on style chuck. You could make an adapter plate for a more "standard" looking collet chuck as well. My lathe chuck is this one. http://www.shars.com/5-er40-zero-set-fine-adjustment-collet-chuck ... It works well for me. To mount it, you also need a backing plate that matches your lathe's mounting system. Mine uses D1-4, so it's pretty simple. Yours would likely involve drilling and tapping holes to hold the backing plate, then bolt the chuck to the plate.

Do not attempt to use a collet without the correct collet holder. Clamping a collet in a 3 jaw will just destroy the collet. I have heard of people using collet blocks in a 3/4 jaw chuck as well. I have no idea if this is a good idea in practice. I imagine a 4 jaw with a square block could be indicated in and work well. A hex block would probably work in a 3 jaw, but it would only be as accurate as the 3 jaw. So I'm not sure why one would bother.

Honestly though, the question to ask is "do you need collets?". They make some things faster, but there's not much you can do with them you can't do with a normal chuck. The biggest advantage to me is the ability to work in close and to use gravers later. And I can hold finished parts without maring, but you can use aluminum shims or similar to do that. Setups are more reproducible, but a 4 jaw can do the same, just a little slower. If holding end mills is what you're after, it's much cheaper to use an end mill holder with a drawbar in the MT spindle taper.
Thanks for the excellent info and write up!! All of this is helpful.

I dont see a taper to my spindle but I have not taken it apart yet.

I like the idea of smaller rotating mass and getting in closer with tools like gravers for detailed work.

I also want to hold some end mills to be able to make small milling cuts in a vertical table on my lathe.

Thanks again for all the info, keep it coming I need it!!
When doing a short run of small parts I use a Kalamazoo 5C collet chuck held in a 3 jaw, works a charm for small parts in a large lathe.
If you do not have an adjustable 3 jaw just hold it in a 4 jaw, either way the collet run out can be held to near 0.
These cost less then $400.00.
If making thousands of the same part then a collet chuck with a closer is faster.
You may also use machinable collets and turn them in place to make pocketed work holding in any shape required, you can also mill the collet in a holder to hold rectangular, square, offset, polygonal and threaded parts, the possibilites are endless and 5C collets are cheap.
If you have a set of telescoping gauges, you can measure the internal diameter of your spindle at specific distances and determine which taper you've got. It seems most tapers of this type these days are Morse Taper (MT), but on older equipment the variety increaes, for example my lathe has a Jarno taper.

Edit: I found this helpful when I was figuring out my taper: https://littlemachineshop.com/reference/tapers.php
MT tapers can be tough to identify just by looking, but I'll bet your lathe has one. The trick is to know what one. My 1127 uses MT5 in the spindle, MT3 in the tailstock. The documentation for the lathe likely specifies it, and it may have come with an adapter for it. For example, PM included a MT5-MT3 adapter for the included dead center. If you have tooling with MT tapers, you can test fit them to check.

If you don't need the spindle through hole, an MT collet chuck is probably the cheapest way to start. I like the adjustable units like the Shars unit I posted above. You dial it in like a 4-jaw, so it's as accurate as you want it to be. Mine is under 5 tenths right now, as that was the limit of the indicator I used. I have a 1 tenth indicator now and I'll probably get around to dialing it in more soon.
My ER32 collet holder on a MT3 taper with a diy draw bar. Very handy tool!

(from mobile)
[5] [7]