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34_40

Dazed and Confused
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#1
With the tax return coming soon, I've decided that I would like to get either a dividing head like the B&S "0" size or.. a collet block setup. One of those setups that have the 2 collet blocks, a mount / holder that can clamp to the mill table and an assortment of collets.

Anyone have a preference? What would you buy first? TIA...
 

T Bredehoft

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#2
I chose the collet block set, then found out that they could be had in ER40 style, which collets I had several of. I'm not sure I'm going to the that (ER40), since I built an adapter to accept R8 collets in my 5C blocks.
 

Dave Paine

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#3
My first metalwork machine was a lathe. I purchased the 5C collet blocks (hex and square) and a set of 99 5C collets (32nds increments). I have used the collet blocks often in my projects.

I now have a mill and would love a dividing head, but for my projects I use collets more often. The 5C collets in the lathe and R8 collets in the mill.
 

34_40

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#5
The question depends upon which,in your type of work,you are likely to use most often.
And this would be one of those times where, I just don't know, what I don't know..... my ultimate goal is to create a couple steam and later gas engine models.

Thanks for all the replies so far!
 

Bob Korves

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#6
I have collet blocks, a spin indexer, a rotary table, and a dividing head. The collet blocks are by far the cheapest, and I use them about 10 times more often than the other fixtures. They are quick and easy to use compared to the others, which are definitely needed for some jobs.
 

intjonmiller

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#8
I'm in the same position (except that the tax return is basically gone, having bought my wife a new car (and I inherited hers which was a nice upgrade for me, and happy wife = happy life), and a couple smaller things for my shop). Of course I want the whole set of every possible tool that will work in my machines, but I have concluded as Bob said that the collet blocks will be the most useful of the fixtures for the type of work I want to do, and the collets will be useful for many other functions down the road. Rotary tables and dividing heads are very useful for specific tasks (and can also accomplish the same as the collet blocks for a lot more money), but everyone I talked to on the subject said that they are used far less often than the blocks.
 

34_40

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#12
Thanks for everyones input!
intjonmiller basically confirmed my suspicion... now to go hunting for new tools! woohooo...
 

bfd

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#14
if you want to cut squares, hexes, or opposing flats then the collet blocks are the way to go but if anything else is needed then a dividing head or rotary table is the way to go. bill
 

ghostdncr

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#16
I would go for the dividing head, myself. The collet blocks are a very handy thing to have around but in most cases where I've needed them, I could've developed a workaround and continued without them. When I've needed precision indexing, workarounds quickly get complex, time consuming, and generally sketchy.
 

Reeltor

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#17
I look at this a little differently. I mostly buy used just because of the cost savings. I have a list of thing on a want list and buy when a deal comes along. I've only used my dividing head twice in the couple of years that I've owned it; but it was indispensable for the job at hand. This is a VanNorman 10" universal head that I found on eBay w/make an offer. I got it for less than a quarter of what new would cost. same with the rotatory table (10" too), local craigslist find for $100; it was locked up but wasn't too hard to clean the hardened grease out and get it working.
I think you have already came to the conclusion, buy the collet block set now and keep an eye out for other tooling that you would like to have. Or like UglyDog and other's suggested build your own.
 

34_40

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#20
I look at this a little differently. I think you have already came to the conclusion, buy the collet block set now and keep an eye out for other tooling that you would like to have. .
Correct. I did reach a decision some days ago and bought a 25 piece collet block "kit" from Shars. I already have a rotary table but for small setups I find it "clunky" to get setup and dial in.
Like you I watch for C-list or the other auction sites ( doesn't everyone?) and when I see something I want/need I'll jump at the chance.

Thanks for the reply too!
 

Bob Korves

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#22
When we are working with making arcs on our machines, the choice of what we want to use is highly influenced by whether we want to truly index something, or set specific angles. Collet blocks, spindexers, super spacers, and dividing heads are examples of indexing tools. We want to divide a circle into even intervals, even if we are only going to be using one or two of those intervals. The tooling I mentioned, and others, do that well and accurately. The other thing we might want to do is to make, say, three curved slots in a plate at a specific radius, to specific and different angular lengths in the specified clock positions. Now, I am quite sure you can do something like that on a dividing head, but it is certainly not the easiest way to go and would be prone to error. A rotary table is nearly ideal for the job (but would be even better if they had adjustable stops for multiple parts.) The two types of angular tooling do not overlap very much in what they do well, but a rotary table with dividing plates does make that possible. The question to ask if you are buying tooling is "Am I going to be making divisions, or am I going to be setting specific angles?" Or both...
 

GarageGuy

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#23
I bought a used 5C spin index on CL for $20 and have used it with good success. I have several rotary tables and two dividing heads, but I still don't own a set of collet blocks. The collet blocks and spin index are the lowest cost, and you can do a lot with them. Even though I have more complex tools, for simple things it takes less set-up time to use the spin index. Making a square or hex head bolt is a good example. I generally don't break out the dividing head unless I'm cutting a gear. Someday a set of collet blocks will show up on CL at a decent price, and I will snap them up. :grin:

GG
 
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