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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking > General MetalWork Discussion > Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?
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  1. #1
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    Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    What experiences have you guys had (in terms of surface finish when milling aluminum) from upgrading from cheap generic ER collets and nuts to more expensive brand name ones?

    Is there a noticeable difference in a $50-$100 ER collet over a $10 eBay one?

  2. #2
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    What experiences have you guys had (in terms of surface finish when milling aluminum) from upgrading from cheap generic ER collets and nuts to more expensive brand name ones?

    Is there a noticeable difference in a $50-$100 ER collet over a $10 eBay one?
    You can get .0002" collets for $16 to $20 and quality EMT nuts for $40 so not sure why or where you get $50 to $100 from.
    Mactec54

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    What experiences have you guys had (in terms of surface finish when milling aluminum) from upgrading from cheap generic ER collets and nuts to more expensive brand name ones?

    Is there a noticeable difference in a $50-$100 ER collet over a $10 eBay one?
    This ETM ER Nut is $48 they are worth the money, do they make a better finish that would be up to the cutter being used and the machine as well, there are many things at play to achieving a quality finish
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ER Nut.jpg  
    Mactec54

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    hy goemon for small er, there is also a type of nut similar to what mactec just shared, but with a smaller outside profile, in order to reduce mass

    i rarely cut aluminium, and in metal, usually, if i push, then the tool will start to slide inside the nut; however, for small forces, an er should be just fine

    as for surface finish, and so on, general rule : low overhang, check taper contact between collet&chuck, and try to stick to h7 clamping range collets / kindly
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    You can get .0002" collets for $16 to $20 and quality EMT nuts for $40 so not sure why or where you get $50 to $100 from.
    This is CNC stuff - there is always someone waiting to charge you 3x what something is worth... E.g.

    ebay.com/itm/283425897391?hash=item41fd7ffbaf:g:06QAAOSwMhVhV0J 2

    Or

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/19413473241...cAAOSwTj9god1N

    And ER25 collets also come in a broad range with sellers describing their expensive ones as "premium" or "high torque" etc:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/31365074099...4AAOSwOM5hJpbZ

    I'm certainly not looking to spend more than I need to. I've just been noticing some inconsistency in how certain collets fit.

    For example, I have three 1/4" ER25 collets and two nuts (one bearing, one regular). One of the collets is too big for half my 1/4" end mills. One is too tight to fit half of them in one of my collet nuts. The 3rd one mostly works in both nuts but it's not always a tight as I'd like.

    I've noticed that if the fit is wrong then it results in excess noise and an inferior finish. When I use one that fits well it's silent (as in no noise is added above regular spindle noise) and I get a nice mirror finish.

    I'm just not sure If the inconsistency is solved with the "premium" collets and nuts or if it's normal to need a selection in each size to account for inconsistent end mills.

  6. #6
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    hello again

    One of the collets is too big for half my 1/4" end mills.
    check upper play; for example, a 6mm collet, should have it's bore >6mm, but less than 6 +0.015eq; if your colett is too big, then simply don't use it

    One is too tight to fit half of them in one of my collet nuts. The 3rd one mostly works in both nuts
    hold the nut in your palm, then insert the collet into it; flip it 180* degrees, by holding only the nut : the collet must fall, just because of gravity; if this doesn't happen, then extra useless force is required each time you mount a tool; you can machine the nuts, in order to increase this play

    but it's not always as tight as I'd like
    this is mostly because of the play between collet thread and nut thread; a smaller play gives more confidence, while a bigger play makes it feel loose, even if you tighten it



    you can go on a spree, and buy whatever stuff you wish to buy

    here are a few recomandations :
    ... check all collets bore, to be within spec
    ... check contact between collets and chuck, again, to be towards the bigger diameter, and for at least circa 80% of collet's taper length
    ... make sure that you use collets designed for h7 clamping range, otherwise, the bigger the range, the greater the overhang, as collets face won't be as close to the chuck
    ... for small collets, or for big collets that clamp small tools, is better to have more grooves, since less grooves means that the collet is more rigid, thus, when you tighten it, less force will be transmited to the clamp area; the more grooves, the more elastic the collet is, thus it will transmit more force towards the inside
    ... check the collet chucks:
    ...... check their threads, and find out their tolerances; you may craft incremenal threads, that you use as a gauge for your chucks, then you may decide to machine one nut size to fit them all, or, for example, only for whatever chuck, to machine a nut that is more special; thus machine your own nuts, adjusting their specs to your chucks; off course, bearing types are a bit more difficult to machine ( it may be possible to replace with a normal nut and a thrust washer, as being said by mactec a while ago, but so far i didn't acualy have experience with this; still, it sounds promising ); if you buy a bearing type, you may have the surprise to see that it doesn't fit well with your actual collets and/or chucks
    ...... chuck face to be smooth, burfree, perpendicular to chuck axis; some low cost chucks don't have this, but this is not always critical; for example, you can have the face with marks from the saw cut, and still no problems, as long as nice chamfers are there

    check for burs at the begining/end of the threads ( chuck , nut ), since they are not always deburred, and sometimes they can generate problems

    if you decide to go crafting your own, i can help with specific details if you wish : i have done chucks and nuts (for er and other collet systems), and lately, with the edm wire, i think i could handle also collets, but i didn't so far / kindly
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

  7. #7
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Buy good ones. You only need a few sizes anyway. All those weird sets go by 32nds or even 64ths. How often has anyone used a 17/32 endmill for anything?

  8. #8
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    This is CNC stuff - there is always someone waiting to charge you 3x what something is worth... E.g.

    ebay.com/itm/283425897391?hash=item41fd7ffbaf:g:06QAAOSwMhVhV0J 2

    Or

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/19413473241...cAAOSwTj9god1N

    And ER25 collets also come in a broad range with sellers describing their expensive ones as "premium" or "high torque" etc:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/31365074099...4AAOSwOM5hJpbZ

    I'm certainly not looking to spend more than I need to. I've just been noticing some inconsistency in how certain collets fit.

    For example, I have three 1/4" ER25 collets and two nuts (one bearing, one regular). One of the collets is too big for half my 1/4" end mills. One is too tight to fit half of them in one of my collet nuts. The 3rd one mostly works in both nuts but it's not always a tight as I'd like.

    I've noticed that if the fit is wrong then it results in excess noise and an inferior finish. When I use one that fits well it's silent (as in no noise is added above regular spindle noise) and I get a nice mirror finish.

    I'm just not sure If the inconsistency is solved with the "premium" collets and nuts or if it's normal to need a selection in each size to account for inconsistent end mills.
    You would not be buying those collets unless you had through spindle coolant, those are special for high pressure coolant, note the holes around the front face.

    The Nut I would never use, as it is likely to put anything it is supposed to remove from the cut area, right up into the spindle Bearings.
    Mactec54

  9. #9
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    This is CNC stuff - there is always someone waiting to charge you 3x what something is worth... E.g.

    ebay.com/itm/283425897391?hash=item41fd7ffbaf:g:06QAAOSwMhVhV0J 2

    Or

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/19413473241...cAAOSwTj9god1N

    And ER25 collets also come in a broad range with sellers describing their expensive ones as "premium" or "high torque" etc:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/31365074099...4AAOSwOM5hJpbZ

    I'm certainly not looking to spend more than I need to. I've just been noticing some inconsistency in how certain collets fit.

    For example, I have three 1/4" ER25 collets and two nuts (one bearing, one regular). One of the collets is too big for half my 1/4" end mills. One is too tight to fit half of them in one of my collet nuts. The 3rd one mostly works in both nuts but it's not always a tight as I'd like.

    I've noticed that if the fit is wrong then it results in excess noise and an inferior finish. When I use one that fits well it's silent (as in no noise is added above regular spindle noise) and I get a nice mirror finish.

    I'm just not sure If the inconsistency is solved with the "premium" collets and nuts or if it's normal to need a selection in each size to account for inconsistent end mills.
    These Technik's Collets are only $15 are .0002" collets, you can get .0001" I doubt that your machine would benefit anything from a .0001" collet
    Mactec54

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    I have a 1/4" Techniks collet. It's one of the ones I had trouble with as it was too large to hold my 1/4" end mills. It's what got me wondering if I was creating problems by cheaping out.

    I'm sure I just got unlucky as I doubt Techniks would still be in business if they habitually sold collets that couldn't hold end mills....

    I honestly don't know if my machine could benefit from 0.0001* run-out over 0.0002". I'm not even sure I believe any of their numbers. It seems far-fetched that they'd check each one properly at that price point. But who knows...

    My machine is extremely strong and stiff for it's size with bought-in NSK actuators that have extremely precise rail mounting. But... It's still a sub 2000lb machine driven by stepper motors... I was never going for micron accuracy.

    I'm really just focused on making sure I don't sabotage myself by using collets that cause excess chatter or safety issues.

    I'd spend an extra $50 if there was a meaningful difference. I've noticed, for example, that some of the bearing nuts are adjustable to fine-tune run-out. That's either a great way of improving precision on cheaper kit or... just a gimmick.

    Anyway, it doesn't sound like people here have strong feelings on this beyond checking that collets and nuts fit properly.

    I'm going to try Maritool as it's inexpensive and the only places I've seen multiple recommendations for. I like the idea of supporting locally made product too.

    If I experience a provable difference over the cheap Chinese collets I'll post the results.

  11. #11
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    I honestly don't know if my machine could benefit from 0.0001*
    that's factory data, and normally/maybe, they should say that such values are under close to laboratory conditions but if they say that, then the customer may think twice before buying such a product

    idea behind is similar to drills/inserts, presented as h7; they may not output tight bores, that's simply just a manufacturing tolerance
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by warrenb View Post
    Buy good ones. You only need a few sizes anyway. All those weird sets go by 32nds or even 64ths. How often has anyone used a 17/32 endmill for anything?

    This is funny but I just used my 17/32 collet 2 days ago to hold a part for second side machining. Most of my collet use isn't to hold tooling but to hold parts for machining without leaving jaw marks. I have used way more than just a few. But I still buy good ones as needed.

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevehuckss396 View Post
    This is funny but I just used my 17/32 collet 2 days ago to hold a part for second side machining. Most of my collet use isn't to hold tooling but to hold parts for machining without leaving jaw marks. I have used way more than just a few. But I still buy good ones as needed.
    What brand are the good ones you use?

    And, have you tried them with an adjustable bearing ER nut?

    On the one hand, I'd assume being able to adjust and fine tune to reduce run-out would be essential for precision, given the variation in spindles and tools. On the other, moving parts are a potential weakness.

    I'm interested in how useful they are in practice.

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by deadlykitten View Post
    that's factory data, and normally/maybe, they should say that such values are under close to laboratory conditions but if they say that, then the customer may think twice before buying such a product

    idea behind is similar to drills/inserts, presented as h7; they may not output tight bores, that's simply just a manufacturing tolerance
    Have you ever measured to compare actual results to the sellers claims?

  15. #15
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Have you ever measured to compare actual results to the sellers claims?
    my dear goemon ( if i may ), is not needed to measure such things, once you understand how all tolerance start to sum up, for example into live broches: for a long shaft that ends with a tapered chuck, one can grind the od separately, then finish the cone by grinding it into the assamble, so to take away all tir related to mounting

    about collets, some guys, in order to achieve tir repetability, drag a line on the collet+nut+chuck, so to always mount it at identical position, because, sometimes, tir increases if you flip the collet 180*

    about entire carbide drills, is known that cilindricity ouput is better when the tool rotates (mill), versus when the tool is stationary (lathe)

    about inserts, even if it is h7, tool tir for a toolholder + insert is always > tir of a solid carbide drill

    just saying, all those above are common things, that others have done, and i suppose you are also familiar to them; and me, yes, i have measured a few things

    I'd assume being able to adjust and fine tune to reduce run-out would be essential for precision
    i have never bought fine tir adjustment systems for milling, only that i have toolholders and collets that i use only for finishing; also, to increase tool life, i have use the wire edm to cut coolant chanels into the collet, so to achieve peripherical coolant

    onestly, sometimes i have thougth about setting tools so to have crazy low tir, like <3um, but this requires to adjust tir after the toolholder is mount inside the spindle (thus time loss), and so far i did not had any reason to do that

    i once thought of buying adjustable tir nuts, but on 2nd thought, i realized that it is a fragile system, that won't keep up with the forces asociated with heavy cuts; i allready have pull out problems with normal er collet + bearing nuts; this does not mean that is not good for someone else, or that i try to discourage someone else to try, no ... is only a matter of application scale

    adjustable er collet vendors :
    ... uk : MTDCNC | CNC Machines | Machine Tools for sale | Lathes and Mills
    ... usa : GlockCNC - GlockCNC.com

    however ... about tir, there is a thing, for example : if final doc is 0.15, and i use an edmill with 4 or 6 teeth, and overall tir is 0.015max, then this means that edge excentricity during cutting is 0.015/4 .. 0.015/6, and such values are way lower than the feed/edge; for example, if you feed at 0.1mm/revolution, and tir is 0.1mm, then you expect to get flatness ? no, simply becuase tir value is comparable to feed value, but if tir is << feed, then surface roughness will decrease; so, as long as you don't have vibrations related to high rpms, then, if possible adjust feed to tir also, by using an electronic roughnes tester, it can be seen that real surface rugosity is better than expected for a specific set of doc&feed, thus sometime one may speed up things, and still be in spec with surface quality

    if i would need to reduce tool tir on a high rpm spindle, for whatever crazy application, i would eliminate colets, and use a weldon + an excentric bush, designed to rotate in order to decrease any tir; it's more rigid and more consistent than an er colet if you will ask if i have done that, then answer is yes : i have modified live tooling for lathes that were initialy designed for er32 (max tool shank 20), so to mount a 25 tool shank, with low tir

    as for checking er chucks, i use something as described in attached image

    sorry for the long reply, i hope you found something usefull / kindly
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Untitled.png   Untitled.png  
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  16. #16
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    For example, I have three 1/4" ER25 collets and two nuts (one bearing, one regular). One of the collets is too big for half my 1/4" end mills. One is too tight to fit half of them in one of my collet nuts. The 3rd one mostly works in both nuts but it's not always a tight as I'd like.

    I've noticed that if the fit is wrong then it results in excess noise and an inferior finish. When I use one that fits well it's silent (as in no noise is added above regular spindle noise) and I get a nice mirror finish.

    I'm just not sure If the inconsistency is solved with the "premium" collets and nuts or if it's normal to need a selection in each size to account for inconsistent end mills.
    This should be solved with any halfway decent collets. If a collet is labeled 1/4", it should be exactly 1/4". If it's not, it's junk. You should be able to buy 10 1/4" collets, and everyone should be the same.

    I'd recommend Teknics collets. They are not that expensive, and are very high quality.I've been using them for 20 years on $150K machines, and have never seen a 1/4" collet that wasn't a perfect fit for a 1/4" bit. Are you sure you don't have 6mm shank bits?
    Gerry

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  17. #17
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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    just one more thing : is not possible to align a collet inside a chuck, just like how is not possbile to align a live center inside a tailstock; rigid taper contact is not negotiable, but elastic one may be ?!

    for example, if you use an adjstument nut, it will simply lift the face of the collet, while it's end will still be true to the chuck; is not possible to shift collet's face and the opposite face, with same amount, thus there is a chance that your tool axis will tilt, in such a way, that nose tir will decrease only at contact point with dial indicator

    if you go that way, i recomand using 2 dial indicators, both touching the tool, one right in front of the nut, and the 2nd at tool nose / kindly
    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    What brand are the good ones you use?

    Mine are 5C collets

    3 - 26mm in 1 mm steps I got used in brand new condition for $150 (Hardinge)
    1/64 - 1-1/8 in 1/64 steps i got used for $250 (Royal)

    I make miniature sparkplugs as well as do repairs for friends so I have used ALOT of them. I even have some hex and square that get used.

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    Re: Cheap vs expensive collets and nuts for aluminum surface finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    This should be solved with any halfway decent collets. If a collet is labeled 1/4", it should be exactly 1/4". If it's not, it's junk. You should be able to buy 10 1/4" collets, and everyone should be the same.

    I'd recommend Teknics collets. They are not that expensive, and are very high quality.I've been using them for 20 years on $150K machines, and have never seen a 1/4" collet that wasn't a perfect fit for a 1/4" bit. Are you sure you don't have 6mm shank bits?
    The end mills are definitely 1/4". I don't own any metric ones. And I've tried a bunch of different 1/4" end mills from various sellers.

    There's some other cosmetic damage on the collet so I think I just got unlucky. Or, it's possible that I was sold one that someone else returned after spinning a tool inside the collet.

    It doesn't clip firmly into the nuts like my other collets either.

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