ER-40 collet quality

RWanke

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Anyone familiar with the ER-40 collets from Little Machine Shop? Is their quality good enough for the average hobby guy? Thinking of biting the bullet and buying about a dozen of them. Also thinking of buying one of their Collet Chucks to match.
 

martik777

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They are likely the same as the chinese ones on ebay and bangood but cost much more. I have been happy with mine.

Bangood has a full set of er32 for ~$46 right now.
 

gwade

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I recently purchased a set on eBay being sold by BostarPrecision (CDCO) for use in both my mill and lathe. I am very pleased with the quality. I did purchase a non-slip wrench separately rather than use the included spanner. [ER40 Collet Chuck R8 Shank With 15 PC collets Set]
 

Bob Korves

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I do not use ER collets, but I understand that a quality nut is important to achieving good accuracy. You might get a good quality nut even if you are getting cheap collets, may be the most bang for the buck.
 

martik777

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It's the female taper in the chuck that determines the accuracy, the nut simply clamps it into that taper. I've made nuts and see no diff with factory nuts. If you want a collet chuck with thru hole capability you pretty much have to machine your own to get the taper aligned with your spindle.
 

mikey

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It's the female taper in the chuck that determines the accuracy, the nut simply clamps it into that taper. I've made nuts and see no diff with factory nuts. If you want a collet chuck with thru hole capability you pretty much have to machine your own to get the taper aligned with your spindle.
Just wanted to mention that the industry, along with some of us, believes otherwise. The collet acts as a wedge between the chuck taper and the tool, and the accuracy of the system relies on accurate collets and accurate nuts that apply consistent force to that tool. You can take a Chinese collet chuck (which I admittedly own) and run tests on this. High quality collets will reduce run out on the order of 2-3 times less vs cheap Chinese collets. The same applies to good nuts vs poor quality nuts. An ETM or Rego-Fix nut will easily cut run out in half vs an uncoated generic Chinese collet nut. The key reasons quality nuts are better is that they have tighter thread tolerances and friction reducing coatings or bearings that reduce the twisting force applied to the collet and this results in greater accuracy. So I think Bob is right; the nuts make a difference.
 

martik777

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Hmmmm, you're probably right, I have never tested with high quality collets and nuts. The import quality is sufficient for what I do.
 

mikey

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To the OP, you will do fine with imported ER-40 chucks and collets for use on the lathe. No matter how we hold the work for a first operation turning the work piece will be concentric with the spindle axis so cheaper collets are fine. It is during a second operation, where the work has already been turned and we must hold it accurately that collets really come into play. Here, you can still use lower quality collets but using a good nut is a good idea. It applies more uniform pressure to the collet and will give you all the accuracy the collet is capable of. Rego-Fix, Techniks and ETM all produce good coated nuts and ball bearing nuts that are not all that expensive; they are considered consumables that help accuracy.
 

Aaron_W

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I don't know about their ER collets specifically, but I've bought a fair amount of stuff from them, and have been happy with what I've bought.

I would put their quality on the higher end of "cheap" import stuff scale. They tend not to be the cheapest, but they also seem to try not to carry the very bottom of the barrel either.
 

RWanke

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Thanks for all the replies. I am a firm believer in buy once cry once, and that quality pays for itself. BUT I am a hobby guy that does nothing for $$ and use my lathe for making gee-gaws and toys and little projects friends and family may come up with. I can't justify spending the kind of money that really good quality collets would cost me. I'm even dragging my feet on spending the money on the 12 I'm thinking of buying. I have read some bad reviews on some of the E-bay collets and have been very pleased with the stuff I've bought from Little Machine Shop so I feel pretty comfortable with them. My purchase was going to include their 4" collet chuck that I will put on a backing plate. I would really like to gain the experience of making my own collet adapter for my SB 9c to learn internal threading but I don't have the right change gears to thread Metric threads for the collet nut.

Again thanks for the replies. It's appreciated.
 

markba633csi

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LMS quality is about average for import, and their prices are a bit higher, but if you need to return/exchange something it's far easier with them.
Twice now they sent a replacement collet when I complained about runout and they didn't ask for the other one back. To me that's worth the higher price.
M
 

mikey

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I can't justify spending the kind of money that really good quality collets would cost me. I'm even dragging my feet on spending the money on the 12 I'm thinking of buying.
Since you're using these collets on a lathe I would go on ebay and buy a cheap ER-40 set. They will very likely not be any better or worse than those sold by LMS. Then buy a decent nut for your chuck. This will give you the best outcome for the least money.

Now, if you intend to use ER collets on a milling machine the story changes. There you need to bite the bullet and buy good quality collets and nuts. I know us hobby guys are all about doing it for cheap but every bit of run out you have on a milling cutter will reduce the life and accuracy of that cutter so it is wise to not cut corners here. The good thing is that you don't need to buy full sets; only buy the sizes you need to hold common end mills and tools, then buy the best nut you can find.

Personally, unless you have a definite or specific need for an ER chuck on the lathe I would suggest you spend your money on an ER set up for your mill instead. You can do all you need to do on the lathe with a 3 and 4 jaw chuck. It will be slower but just as accurate, perhaps even more so.
 

darkzero

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I agree with Mikey, I'd buy better quality collets. I use Techniks ER collets & they are the best bang for the buck. I use ER-40 & ER-16 for tool holding for the mill.

ER collets weren't designed for workholding even though many people do use it for that. ER collets aren't good for holding short workpieces, it's best to have at least 2/3, full length is best, of the workpiece engaged in the collet. This why 5C is better for work holding but ER collets have a wider clamping range so less collets are needed compared to 5C. ER collets for work holding is slow to use also.

Like everyone else I made me a ER collet chuck for the lathe. Because of this plan I went with ER-40 for the mill so I could use the same collets for the lathe to save money. Well between my 6-jaw & 3-jaw Set-Tru chucks as well as my 4-jaw I never use the ER collet chuck. My 6-jaw is pretty much like a collet chuck except a collet chuck is much safer for your knuckles working up close. I regret going with ER-40. I wish I had gone with ER-32 for the mill & never made the ER-40 chuck for the lathe.

Since I use ER for tool holding, I don't have a need for a full set of collets. The smallest I run in the ER-40 is 1/2" end mills, maybe 3/8". 3/8" and smaller for the mill I use ER-16. ER-40 just gets in the way for holding small end mills, like a 1/8" end mill in an ER-40 chuck is just ridiculous. I use nominal sizes for endmills so I only need a number of sizes for each chuck, even if I added metric size endmills to my arsenal I still wouldn't need a full set of collets. Would just be a waste of money for me.
 

martik777

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My purchase was going to include their 4" collet chuck that I will put on a backing plate. I would really like to gain the experience of making my own collet adapter for my SB 9c to learn internal threading but I don't have the right change gears to thread Metric threads for the collet nut.
You could almost make your own collet chuck by the time you machine a backing plate for that 4" collet chuck. BTW the nut on that chuck is exactly the same as my import nuts and I bet their collets are the same as bangood and ebay ones.

You can easily cut the 1.5mm threads with your change gears.
Here is a howto: http://web.archive.org/web/20090421082049/http://ixian.ca/gallery/metric/metric.htm
Just remember not to use the threading dial, keep the 1/2 nuts engaged, back out cross slide and reverse motor to make each pass.

Here's a 4 part video to make the chuck:
He has an alternate method of cutting the metric threads

I've made 4 of them, gets easier every time and is a fun project. If you have a mill you'll want a square and hex ER chuck too.

If you have some barbell cast iron locking collars, they are about the right size to make ER32 chucks
 

RWanke

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Greatly appreciate it guys. I've watched Halligans videos on making one of these about 4-5 times. Problem is I don't have a quick change gear box on my lathe like he does (change gears only) and don't know how to figure what combo of gears would work if even possible with my setup. The print is quite helpful.
 

RWanke

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Also, unfortunately I don't have a mill let alone the room for one. I've looked long and hard at the Precision Mathews smaller mills but it is just not justifiable budget wise right now.
 

RWanke

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GrayTech

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Greatly appreciate it guys. I've watched Halligans videos on making one of these about 4-5 times. Problem is I don't have a quick change gear box on my lathe like he does (change gears only) and don't know how to figure what combo of gears would work if even possible with my setup. The print is quite helpful.
Download the app "Pocket Lathe Gears". Its free.. Enter your list of gears and your leadscrew pitch and the thread you want.. It will work out all possible gear combinations using the gears you have. It remembers the list of gears. It will also tell you what gears you are missing for any thread.. You can define the max amount of error you can live with in metric to and from imperial conversions. I find it super useful cutting metric threads on an imperial lathe.
 

matthewsx

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Download the app "Pocket Lathe Gears". Its free.. Enter your list of gears and your leadscrew pitch and the thread you want.. It will work out all possible gear combinations using the gears you have. It remembers the list of gears. It will also tell you what gears you are missing for any thread.. You can define the max amount of error you can live with in metric to and from imperial conversions. I find it super useful cutting metric threads on an imperial lathe.
Do you have a link for this app?

Thanks,

John
 

RWanke

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Download the app "Pocket Lathe Gears". Its free.. Enter your list of gears and your leadscrew pitch and the thread you want.. It will work out all possible gear combinations using the gears you have. It remembers the list of gears. It will also tell you what gears you are missing for any thread.. You can define the max amount of error you can live with in metric to and from imperial conversions. I find it super useful cutting metric threads on an imperial lathe.
Unfortunately I use an iPhone. Can't find it in the Apple store.
 

GrayTech

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I use a tiny dab of anti seize on the nut bearing surface in my ER collet chucks. It acts like micro bearings and does improve repeatable runout for me. I was lucky my import collet sets have very little runout, but i did debur and polish them anyway. I may try a bearing nut at some point but no need at present.
 
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