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Creativechipper

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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.
 

GrayTech

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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".

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Hawkeye

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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/
 

Creativechipper

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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
 

mickri

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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.
 

Creativechipper

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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?
 

dtsh

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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
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/CnUAAOSwR5dXTjWH/s-l640.jpg

Here are some that would attach via a backplate
https://www.ausee.com.au/shop/category.aspx?catid=7168

Here's one on a straight shank
https://www.techniksusa.com/metal/stshext.htm

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


Edit:
Also, a few videos to help visualize.
 

ttabbal

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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.
 

Creativechipper

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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!!
 

P. Waller

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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.
 

dtsh

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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
 

ttabbal

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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.
 

pontiac428

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My ER32 collet holder on a MT3 taper with a diy draw bar. Very handy tool!


(from mobile)
 

Creativechipper

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Looking to make some pens and pocket sized flashlights next.
Looks like some collets with a through hole would be best.

I think something in the size range of 1/4" to 1" would cover the sizes I wish to turn.

I have been away from the lathe a bit but it is all coming back, I realize the draw bar is what holds the collet holder in place on the lathe unless the collet holder can screw on.
 

mikey

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What lathe do you have? I mean, which specific make and model. If we can determine which spindle is on the lathe then we can give you more useful information.

It makes no sense to use a collet chuck on the lathe that will not allow you to pass material through the chuck and spindle bore. That leaves MT-mounted collet chucks out as far as I'm concerned.

If you plan to use this collet chuck to hold end mills on the lathe then 5C is not a good option for this. It is intended to hold stock in the lathe, not tooling. Add in the limited range they can grip and thus the need for many collets to cover the full range of stock, that makes a 5C system a less than optimal choice for your needs.

That leaves an ER chuck as the most obvious choice. Which one to get depends on the spindle bore you have and how a chuck is mounted on that spindle, which brings us back to which lathe do you have? Then we can tell you how it mounts and perhaps point you to a source where you can obtain them.
 

Aaron_W

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You have given your lathe size, but not the method of attaching your chuck or what size spindle bore.


The most common collets seem to be the 5C and ER type. I have a similar sized lathe and what I have figured out is 5C are really intended for a bigger lathe.
There are chucks that will allow you to use them on a smaller lathe, but they need a larger than 1" spindle bore to use a draw bar so you are losing some of their effectiveness on a smaller lathe. Often the chucks used for a smaller lathe mount in the spindle bore greatly limiting your ability to run material into the head.

There are 3C collets which use the same design as 5C but are designed for smaller lathes with a 1" spindle bore. They are less common so more expensive (also smaller capacity than the 5C).

The major downside to the 5C and 3C type collets are their very small range, so you need to have a lot of them. A comprehensive set will have 1/64" steps so around 70 collets (for 5C, 3C being smaller would have less).


ER collets seem to me to be superior for small lathes since they are designed to work off the front of the chuck so they are not limited by the spindle bore regardless of size. I have an ER32 chuck on my Sherline which has spindle bore a hair larger than 3/8".

ER sizing is based on the nominal size of the outside diameter of the collet in mm (an ER32 collet is 32mm or 1-9/32" in diameter). They can hold work to about 70% of their stated diameter (ER32 1 9/32" outside diameter, and 7/8" is the largest size work holding available for the size).
The other advantage is they have a much larger range of work holding, it varies by size with larger collets having a larger range, but sets are generally stepped with 1/32" at the smaller end to 1/16" increments on the larger sizes. So a comprehensive ER set only needs 1/3 to 1/2 as many collets as a 5C set. This range also means you really don't need to have both metric and SAE sizes.

Since ER collets come in a wide variety of sizes (ER11 to ER50) you have the option of buying multiple chucks sized to your work (small chuck and collets for small work, larger chuck and collets for larger work) or just buying one chuck sized to your largest work and getting wide range of collets for it based on what works best for you.

There are many other collet types but these two seem to be the most popular for hobby users.


3C/5C used to have an advantage of offering other shapes than round, having square, and hex shapes available, but you are starting to see these offered for ER collets as well.
 
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Creativechipper

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Weiss WBL250F from DR Pros

I am confused by so many options, having never touched a collet or collet holder its very tough to be sure I am getting something useful and that will fit.

Not trying to be difficult just trying to grasp new things.

I like the idea of having a through shaft so longer items can go through the spindle, size 1/4" to 1", so far looking to try some pen and flashlight making.

Thanks!!
 

ttabbal

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The instructions for your lathe say the chuck has threaded studs that go through a flange on the headstock and there are nuts on the back of the flange holding it on. Does that look like the setup you have? You will probably need to adapt a mounting plate to fit your lathe to use a purchased chuck like the one I posted from Shars.

Another option is to completely build your own. You would need to be able to cut a very accurate taper and thread for the nut (assuming ER style collets). There are a few threads on the forum discussing it.

For the size range you asked for, ER40 is a good choice. And a chuck like the one I mentioned is open on the back so you can have any stock that will fit in the headstock bore.
 

Creativechipper

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I want to say I recall D1-4 size

So I was looking at this option for er40

.....https://www.ebay.com/itm/352560657304?ul_noapp=true
 

Aaron_W

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I want to say I recall D1-4 size

So I was looking at this option for er40

.....https://www.ebay.com/itm/352560657304?ul_noapp=true
That was one of several lathes I was looking at when a good deal on a used Logan Powermatic came my way.

The D1-4 is only on the 11x29 lathe, it looks like 10x22/30 just uses 3 bolts to hold the chuck on. Reading the manual for changing the chuck it seems like that is kind of a hassle. Not being a standard thread type or established mounting system it doesn't making shopping easy.

It almost sounds like it uses a plain back chuck that gets bolted directly to the machine instead of using a backing plate.
 

Bob Korves

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That was one of several lathes I was looking at when a good deal on a used Logan Powermatic came my way.

The D1-4 is only on the 11x29 lathe, it looks like 10x22/30 just uses 3 bolts to hold the chuck on. Reading the manual for changing the chuck it seems like that is kind of a hassle. Not being a standard thread type or established mounting system it doesn't making shopping easy.

It almost sounds like it uses a plain back chuck that gets bolted directly to the machine instead of using a backing plate.
You understand that correctly, Aaron. Stick with the standard mounts, and away from the dumbed down ones.
 

mikey

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The instructions for your lathe say the chuck has threaded studs that go through a flange on the headstock and there are nuts on the back of the flange holding it on. Does that look like the setup you have? You will probably need to adapt a mounting plate to fit your lathe to use a purchased chuck like the one I posted from Shars.

Another option is to completely build your own. You would need to be able to cut a very accurate taper and thread for the nut (assuming ER style collets). There are a few threads on the forum discussing it.

For the size range you asked for, ER40 is a good choice. And a chuck like the one I mentioned is open on the back so you can have any stock that will fit in the headstock bore.
Creativechipper, have a look at the above. It is accurate.

If you wish to use an ER collet chuck on your lathe then you need to first find a backplate with a spindle mount that matches your spindle. There is a taper on the back of this backplate that must match the taper on the nose of your spindle. It must also have the three studs needed to mount said backplate to the spindle. The front side of the backplate will be bare. You must machine it flat and drill and tap holes in it to mount the ER chuck.

DROPros sells a backplate for this lathe for $26.99. Once you have the backplate in your possession then you need to measure the diameter of the plate and find an ER chuck that you can mount on it. Many places sell ER chucks that have a flat back that allows you to mount it to a bare backplate. I won't go into details on how to do that here; you can start a thread for advice on how to do that.

Once you mount the chuck to the backplate, it is ready for use. You slap a collet into the chuck and do your thing - hold stock for turning, hold an end mill to mill something in a milling attachment on your cross slide or whatever. Since your spindle is slightly over 1" (you need to confirm this diameter before choosing a chuck), an ER-40 that uses collets up to 1" will be your best bet.

I hope this clarifies the process for you. None of this is hard and you can do it. You need to be able to face the backplate and then use a transfer punch to mark the location of the chuck mounting holes, then spot the holes and then drill and tap the holes before mounting the chuck. After that, you're good to go.

An ER chuck is useful for tool holding. It will hold work also but, in general, is appropriate only for parts that have already been turned or are threaded. This is because an ER chuck is pretty accurate and will hold an already turned part pretty concentric, whereas that same part will not run true in a 3 jaw chuck. A threaded work piece can be mounted in an ER chuck without damaging the threads so it is useful there. Otherwise, a simple 3 jaw chuck will suffice for most hobby work; it will allow you to turn a work piece the first time and have it turn out concentric with the spindle. This is called a first operation. Once that part is turned and removed from the chuck, any further machining on that part is called a second operation and requires an accurate holding device to get it concentric with the spindle. A collet chuck or a 4 jaw independent chuck is typically used for this. So, other than tool holding or working with a threaded or second operation work piece, you really don't need to use a collet chuck.
 
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Creativechipper

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Sounds complicated again

Maybe I should just clamp a er40 collet chuck with a strait shank in my 3 jaw and call it good.
 

ttabbal

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Sounds complicated again

Maybe I should just clamp a er40 collet chuck with a strait shank in my 3 jaw and call it good.

That's pretty pointless. The only benefit would be that you can clamp finished and threaded bits without damage. You can generally achieve the same thing with shims or better planning. And you need to tighten an ER40 nut to about 100 ft-lbs. I think you might have slipping in the 3jaw with that much torque. Never tried it.

You lose the accuracy, concentricity and the through hole. I guess it just depends on why you want to use collets.
 

mikey

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It may seem complicated to you AT THIS POINT. It may not seem so difficult in 6 months or a year; give it some time. Mounting a chuck on a backplate is a straightforward job that you will be able to do easily when your understanding and skills are up to it.
 

Creativechipper

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Ok looking at the spindle of my lathe, aprox1" through spindle diameter, over all diameter of spindle 4", 3 hole, features a protruding collar.

I like the idea of ER32 collet holder mounted to a face plate then a backing plate to match the features of my spindle. No draw bar no draw tube needed at this point, just ER collar to hold collets for some tooling and round stock.

So I see I may need to customize a mounting plate to mount the ER chuck to and compare all bolt patterns and alignments. I don't see any taper to my spindle or through way of the spindle.?.

IMG_5444.JPG

IMG_5445.JPG

IMG_5451.JPG

IMG_5453.JPG

IMG_5447.JPG
 

Creativechipper

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Thinking maybe this will work....https://www.ebay.com/itm/100MM-DIAMETER-ER-32-COLLET-CHUCK-3901-5033/231917611422

This looks like it would allow the collets to fit in my tail stock with the MT2 collet holder.....https://www.ebay.com/itm/11pc-ER32-Spring-Collet-Set-3-19mm-Wrench-Holder-MT2-Shank-ER32-Chuck-Wrench-BP/113189467320

Let me know what you have found that works for you, thanks
 

dtsh

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Depending on your skills and/or desire to learn, you can make an ER chuck custom fit to your machine. I and others have done so and I did not find it exceptionally hard. Mine is not perfect, but it's accurate enough for what I do with my machine. The main skills you will need are the ability to turn a M50 x1.5mm metric thread and to bore an internal taper of 8 degrees, the more careful and precise the better the chuck will be. I don't think I managed to save any money making my own, but my lathe has a very unusual spindle so commercial options are not an option.
 

Creativechipper

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Basically I just need to know how to attach a collet chuck with a through hole to my lathe for cheap and as little experience as needed to do it.

I never thought it would require so many options and sizes per no industry standards= a million ways to attach something vs a standard flat back or some sort of standard.

In short was looking to hold an end mill to use my vertical mill attachment.

After all this I am finally feeling comfortable with what I think I need..lol
 
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