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Do I Need A Collet Chuck?

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minions

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#1
I'm a novice hobby machinist and love the idea of using 5c collets for work holding, especially since most of my machining is on smaller aluminum parts. I have a 12x36 lathe (g4003g).

I recently bought a unreviewed collet chuck on eBay but returned it as runout was at about .002, run out on my 3jaw is less than .001, my spindle runout is .0001 or less.

My question is- should I reorder a collet chuck (but better quality) or can I get away with a using a 5c collet block in a 4 jaw chuck? I would love a collet closer but I don't think they're available for the g4003g and I don't think I can machine one having never used one before.

Any advise is much appreciated.
 

intjonmiller

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#2
Depends heavily on what you are doing. One of the biggest advantages with collets is rapid changes for production work (even if it's just a matter of making six matching screws), for instance. They also provide even pressure all the way around the part, which is very helpful for minimizing flex and thereby inaccuracies in your workpieces. And, probably their best-known advantage is a high degree of repeatable placement, assuming you're using a quality set. But many people do just fine without them. It comes down to how you want to work. A collet block in a 4-jaw has the potential to be as accurate as a collet chuck, but it will be FAR more time consuming if you're trying to use it often. If you need it 3x per year it will work great.
 

Splat

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#3
This thread should be in the Grizzly sub-forum. I wouldn't go with the block in a chuck. I've not seen a collet closer for the G4003G yet. You could make a drawbar and closer, get a Bison collet chuck or a Jacobs collet chuck for their rubber flex type of collets. Actually, I now remember saving a thread from another forum about a collet drawtube for the G4003, which has the same spindle as the G4003G, only the G4003G is drilled and tapped for a spider at the outboard side. You can get the needed parts for the G4003 collet closer from Grizzly and make your own setup. You'd need these parts from Grizzly: P4026001 collet adapter and P4026004 draw tube. The collet pin (G4026047) should be part of the x001 part so you don't need to buy that separately. To keep the tube centered in the spindle get the P4026005 hub adapter or you'd need to turn your own sleeves. Oh, John/JGedde had posted on H-M here about his closer for his G4003.
 
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Wreck™Wreck

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#5
Ask yourself what advantages a collet chuck has over a 3 jaw scroll chuck.

Accuracy, yes
Speed, yes with a closer, if you make hundreds of the same part per day, they are intended for production work
Do you need to hold finished parts say for a second operation without leaving jaw marks on them, yes
Versatility, no a scroll or 4 jaw chuck will hold a vastly larger range of shapes and sizes, however hex, square and machinable 5C collets are available (emergency collet).
As a hobbyist do you want to buy another collet every time you need to turn a different sized material

The best compromise for low production work that I know of is an adjustable 3 jaw and a supply of soft jaws.
For example
Pocketed soft jaws for holding thin parts for facing
finishface_zpsu4lhqtlb.jpg

Pocketed pie jaws for holding large very thin parts that are prone to chatter, these are 12" in diameter on an 8" chuck
allpiejaws_zpssfgli5lu.jpg
 
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TOOLMASTER

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#6
if you are machining all around the part it doesn't matter how off it is
 

mksj

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#8
If you look at factory specifications on different chucks, they usually give you the run out (TIR) specifications. I have tried multiple 5C non adjustable chucks, most of them had pretty bad TIR, this is an issue if you are holding a part that needs to be turned true relative to the held end of the part. So it is hit or miss if you get one that is in the range of 0.002-0.004 TIR. I also tried a D1-4 ER collet that had about a 0.002 TIR. The only way you will be able to do any better is to get a Set-Tru (Tue-Set) type of chuck, and even with this the reproducability with different size collets will probably be around 0.001". There have been a number of posts regarding the pros and cons of the 5C and ER collet systems. You can also make a speed handle for the key which speeds things up. I use the 5C for holding small work, works very well, but it has a very narrow clamping range and the collets can get very costly. I do use the ER collets on my mill, I plan on making a set-tru type of ER collet for the lathe, this allows for a wider clamping range for odd size stock.
http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/5c-collet-sets-budget-sizes.48281/#post-407561
http://www.hobby-machinist.com/thre...-for-bison-5c-collet-chuck.44488/#post-385580

This is a reasonable priced one that I have used before, the price has gone up about 20% in the last year.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/5C-TRU-SET-LATHE-COLLET-CHUCK-D1-4-MOUNT-FREE-SHIPPING-IN-US/381723613881
 

Tony Wells

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#9
I'm with Wreck. I have been at this 40+ years......I don't feel a need for a collet system. But it depends on exactly what type work you want to do. I wouldn't want the hassle of changing back and forth. I have a lathe with a 4 jaw, and 2 with 3 jaw chucks.....never thought about buying a collet system.

I vote no, in general you don't NEED one. They are nice for some things, but not many things you can't do another way.
 

Kernbigo

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#10
I bought a 5c collet setup not a bison, i turned the back plate -.005 under so i could indicate the 5c chuck in. I used a harding collet with a plain Gage that ran tir .000020. I now because i made it when i worked for Besly gage. The chuck indicated in to tir .0002.
 

Silverbullet

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#12
I've ran lots of LATHES over the years owned a few , when I had the best LATHE I owned it came with a lever collet system. After running the LATHE with the all the tools set up I turned out parts very quickly and accurately. Yes you can work without a collet system but I wouldn't do without one . I'm going to build another collet setup for my logan. It's only 5C for now but in a bit it'll have a screw on er 40 collet chuck. So it's up to you I like them .
 

mark_f

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#13
You don't NEED a collet chuck......... But they sure are nice. I would go with ER40 collets. I made my own chuck , it runs out at .0002". The repeatability is great. I can remove a part and put it back and it is right on.
 

Chipper5783

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#14
After 30+ years I finally got a 5C collet chuck at the auction. It took a while to get it mounted, cleaned, make keys - but I really like it. I use it as often as possible - which is for about 5% of my projects.

In other words, nice to have, no problem getting by without.
 

Cobra

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#15
You don't NEED a collet chuck......... But they sure are nice. I would go with ER40 collets. I made my own chuck , it runs out at .0002". The repeatability is great. I can remove a part and put it back and it is right on.
I agree. It is a great time saver to be able to take a part out and return.
 

talvare

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#16
Personally, I use my 5C collets for everything I can, for pretty much all of the reasons stated above. A good system with a good collet set isn't cheap, so as a hobbiest, I'm not sure I'd put out the money unless I had a really good reason. When I bought my lathe it came with a nice Royal collet closer system, I just had to buy the collets. As for using a collet block in a 4-jaw chuck, I think you'd be losing most of the advantages of the collet system.
Just my .02 cents.
Ted
 

minions

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#17
Thank you all for the reply. Sounds like a collet chuck is nice to have but for the most part I can probably do without. I'll do some more research and probably buy a "true-set" collet chuck. Best wishes and thanks again.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mikey

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#18
I'm in the ER collet chuck group. In my opinion, they are the most accommodating for the hobby guy and cost far less for a set of collets than a 5C system. We tend to turn lots of one off stuff that isn't exactly nominal size and the 5C system does not accommodate that well unless you custom bore an emergency collet. An ER collet also grabs the part with the whole collet, unlike the 5C that grabs with about 1/2" at the front.

If you can find a direct mount D1-5 ER-40 chuck that would be ideal. I have one from HHIP that has 0.0001" concentricity. Even a set-tru chuck would be hard pressed to exceed that. A hobby guy is not likely to need this kind of accuracy but I wanted to make the point that these chucks are out there.

On the other hand, the guys are right. Once you turn the part (without removing it), it will be concentric with the lathe axis regardless of how you hold it. The advantage of the collet chuck is speed, the ability to grab a threaded part without deforming the threads and in the case of the ER system, it allows you to grab parts that are not nominal size.
 

rgray

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#20
I would not by a collet chuck but rather a 5mt to 5c adapter. Then you can make your own draw bar or by the grizzly one for a closer and just make your own end piece.
The grizzly 5mt to 5c nose piece is part # P4026001 and sells for $98.00 the drawbar for the closer is # P4026004 and sells for $38.00
I got those #'s from the G4026 collet closer that fits G4002 and G4003 lathes. The closer is $369.00
The closer in my mind is nothing but a hinderance. All it does well is open and close a collet quickly for repetitive work in one collet size.
Your own drawbar will just rotate with the spindle and can be tightened and loosened by putting the lathe in low gear (not running) and turning the drawbar handle. I have two I made one has a thrust bearing and the other a tapered hardened piece that can rotate on the tube so it is non turning once it hits the spindle when tightening or loosening.
 

Jimsehr

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#21
I like all collet systems and I also like to bore soft jaws on a chuck. I have a full set 5c collets plus a metric set plus square and hex sets. Also have rubberflex collet chuck. I have about 6 collet chucks a 2j chuck a 3j chuck and I like them all. ER collets work great for round stock. BUT if you need a .06 wide x 4 inch dia piece of stock held it can be done with a 5c step collet. A piece of hex or square stock can be held in a 5c collet. Up to size limits of collet. I can take a collet chuck off my lathe and move it to the mill and do other operations on the part. I can and have many times put a soft 5c collet in a collet chuck on the mill and moved it off center and made an excentric collet. Many times I bore a collet for a part then move the collet to the mill and drill the hole pattern there. I also love inside collets and you can hold on the bore of a part and finish the outside with ease. You can buy 5c inside collets up to 6 inch dia from Rovi. I even have a collet chuck that fits a W&S turret lathe that holds parts up to 6 inches. Hardinge makes some great collet index fixtures for 5c collets .I don't think they make any other index fixtures for other size collets. I have been owned 0r worked in a machine shop for over 60 years. And I think I gave a few good reasons for having a collet chuck.
jimsehr
 

BGHansen

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#24
I have a 5-c collet chuck from CDCOtools on my Clausing 5418, a 4-c hand wheel collet closer on my Rockwell 10 x 36 and a lever style 5-C closer on my Grizzly G0709. Collets are great for the reasons mentioned above, I'd hate to be without them on my lathes. I do a fair amount of turning with brass, love the collets for no marring. I must have gotten lucky with mine, all measure 0.0002" at the spindle or better. My Grizzly usually has a 6" 3-jaw mounted, the Clausing has the collet chuck. Nice to pop back and forth on the lathes instead of changing from collets to chucks or vice versa.

Curious, has anyone looked at G4026 collet closer for a G4003 lathe on the G4003G lathe? Probably have to make a new draw bar, but that's not too bad of a job.

Bruce
 

chips&more

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#25
If you are a serious tool guy, then you must have at least one of everything. But if not, I would spend the money and get the very best NEW 3-jaw chuck WITH ADJUST TRU that you can find. I have more 3-4 jaw chucks and collect holders than I need. Do I use any of them? No, not at least to justify their taken up space in my shop. I have a 3-jaw Buck that has been my go to chuck since day one. And it’s sweeeeeet! The chuck is the heart of the lathe. Don’t skimp out on a low quality chuck. Or one with re-ground jaws, thinking it will be OK after it has been re-worked. Spend the money and get a good chuck. The chuck could cost more than the lathe! Same story with the tool holder!…Dave.
 

12bolts

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#26
Lets go back to the crux of the question
especially since most of my machining is on smaller aluminum parts.
Do you need repeatabillity in holding similar parts? Multiple runs of the same job? Remember you cant adjust for runout in a collet, but you can with a chuck. Sure colletts are great, but they, (like every thing else) have their limitations. Dont assume a tool will make a machinist of you. It takes a machinist to make a tool of himself!

Cheers Phil
 

wa5cab

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#28
Minor terminology point since this is the "Beginner's" forum. A draw bar is normally solid with external threads. Like the 3/8"-16 ones that are common on smaller lathes and most mills. Most of the collets that have been mentioned in this thread (except for the ER and Rubberflex) have male threads. The device used to pull on them to tighten or close them most of the time is a draw tube,.

Collet chucks, except again for ER and I guess Rubberflex, are usually only used so that you can run collets that are too large to fit into your lathe's hollow spindle. Or actually the closer adapter is too large. This is an issue with using 5C collets on most lathes under about 14" although the swing itself has nothing to do with it. The spindle through holes are usually too small (there are a few exceptions). Collet chucks have several disadvantages. First, decent ones are expensive. Second, you have to stop the machine in order to change parts. Third, they stick out from the spindle nose several inches, and their runout is typically worse than with a collet that you can mount right in the spindle.

To get back to the original question of should you buy another5C collet chuck, I'm not familiar with the G4003G and don't know what the spindle taper is. If it is 5MT or larger, if you buy anything, buy a 5MT to 5C closer adapter and a 5C draw tube. I don't guarantee that it'll be cheaper but odds are that the runout will be less than with the average 5C collet chuck. I don't recall whether 4MT or 4.5MT are large enough or not. If it's 3MT, first consider how much of what you need to work on is actually larger than 1/2" diameter. If all or most of it is, then your only option for collets is a collet chuck for 5C (or some other probably more expensive large collet). If most or all parts are no larger than 1/2", then go with 3C collets. I actually use 3AT on my Atlas, but then I'm part collector. 3AT is native to the Atlas. ;)
 

wa5cab

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#30
OK. Then you do not really need a collet chuck. What you need is a 5MT to 5C closer adapter (this is a short flanged hollow cylinder a little shorter than a collet that is male 5MT on the outside, female 5C on the inside, and with a key peg visible inside to slide in the collet keyway) and a 5C draw tube with a length from the end of the internally threaded right end to the thrust bearing on the left end such that with a collet properly closed on a test piece of the exact nominal diameter that the collet is made for, approximately 50% of the threads on the collet are engaged. The least expensive ones will have a handwheel and thrust bearing on the left end. Unless you expect to be making relatively large quantities of the same part, the handwheel type will be the least expensive, or you can actually make it if you wish. But if production quantities and the required operations warrant, there is the considerably more expensive lever type which can be operated without stopping the machine. It has one other disadvantage besides cost - you do not want to leave it installed if you are running any operation that does not use it. Which means setup and tear down time. If the machine has a threaded spindle, you will also need a thread protector that doubles as a collet adapter remover. If not threaded, you will need to buy or make a remover bar.
 
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