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Thread: Small chuck for small parts

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    Small chuck for small parts

    I have a mini lathe that has really come in handy. However, I find myself making a lot of small parts like screws etc. The jaws are often too big, so I end up having to use a larger diameter piece of stock and cutting it down.

    I was thinking of getting a small drill chuck with a straight shank and mounting it in the three jaw chuck to hold smaller diameter stock. Is this a good idea, or would I be adding problems with concentricity. Maybe trying to find a smaller chuck would be the best way to go. What do others think?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Collets are great for smaller work in a standard lathe. I don't know what is available for your mini lathe

  3. #3
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Do a search for ER-32 chucks and collets, you'll probably find some thing you can use. I have an old South Bend 9x24 that has both a 3 and a 4 jaw chuck and 3MT collet holder and set of collets. The collets get 80-90% of the work, the three jaw for almost everything else. Probably should sell the 4 jaw as much as I use it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I made a collet adapter for my Mini and just use the left over collets from my MT3 milling machine. They cover most screw sizes. In addition I took and old drill chuck and went in and bored a recess in the jaws so I can hold a screw head and leave a section of shank hang out for shortening screws. I used a dermal cutter in a holder on the table and cut the recess just like you true a 3 jaw.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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  6. #6
    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I would have to go with a collet set up it has been my experience that these small chucks ether don't run true enough or have the holding strengths for machine work. Maybe ok for light machining but never as good as a collet.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Uni mat lathe

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    NO eBay Links

    You'll have to make or buy a suitable back plate. These work pretty good, I have one for my Myford Super 7 and one mounted on a dividing head.
    Evidently, I can't place an ebay link. Did as past practice, unaware it is forbidden.

    I would suggest a ER 32 collet chuck, they are pretty inexpensive and really common on various auction sights on the web.
    Last edited by Jeff Michel; 06-24-2019 at 09:04 PM. Reason: eBay link
    Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    The collets seem like a good idea. Do they go down to really small sizes?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Check out Micro Mark, they have plenty of tools for small parts!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Yeah, collets. They go down as small as you need.

    I used to have some that fit in the MT3 of my SB9, you can also get a chuck for each of the various types of collets. You can even get collets for bar stock, square or hex, that are sometimes very useful.

    If you want to dive deep, practical machinist forum, if you want to start shopping littlemachineshop is a good place to start.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    ER32 series collets have a capacity of .02-.787 inches. Each ER32 collet has a range of .039 inches(1mm). ER32 Collets .094 and smaller have a range of only .015 inches. The size indicated on the collet is the largest size it can hold and can be collapsed smaller within its collapse range mentioned above. For example, ER32-1/4 can grab a round shank from .250 diameter to .211 diameter.

    Ah, the ease of cut and paste......
    Last edited by 15meter; 06-26-2019 at 09:03 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There are collet chuck sets with a straight spindle that can be held in the chuck. Another route is to by a 1/4" or 3/8" drill chuck with threaded mount. Turn up a 1/2" or 3/4 shank with the thread and a shoulder. leave the shank large when starting .050 is plenty. Install tight in chuck with Loctite. while Loctite is curing set up and turn a mandrel in the lathe to just under chucks largest dia. Do not remove but chuck on this to hold as its running dead true. now lightly turn the shank true and to size. This can be used got small parts and when worn a mandrel can be turned and the shank dressed down back to true. My mini lathes chuck goes down to under 1/8" even after being ground in to true.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    Are you sure your lathe spindle is not already bored for a MT1 or other tapered shank ?
    There are many types of mounts for drill chucks, maybe there is something already made to use a drill Chuck in the spindle.

    Jedman

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I bought a machinist box full of good stuff. One of the neatest things was a 3/16" Jacobs Chuck that is mounted on a 1/2 " shank that has been turned to fit. It's handy for turning firing pins and such that don't require .001" tolerances. I think it was some old machinists ace in the hole.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have Jacobs chucks on 1/4" 3/8" 1/2" and 3/4" shanks not so much for use in the lathe but on Bridgeport's with manual r collets its easier to loosen spindle tap and change cutter to drill chuck than to completely unscrew and use a r series mounted chuck. The last is a 0-1/2" Jacobs on a square shank for use in the mill vise. Makes cutting simple squares and flats quick and easy. But I have used the 3/4 in lathes occasionally.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedman View Post
    Are you sure your lathe spindle is not already bored for a MT1 or other tapered shank ?
    There are many types of mounts for drill chucks, maybe there is something already made to use a drill Chuck in the spindle.
    Jedman
    I believe the spindle is a MT3. Putting a small drill chuck on with one, is one of the things I was thinking about. Collets seem a good way to go, but start to get pricey.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    The standard collet format for tool room lathes is the 5C. You can find the 5C collets and collet chucks on ebay for photos. So far as I know the 5C is too large for your mini lathe. You need to find a similar but smaller collet set for your lathe. Those collets will look a lot like RCBS bullet puller collets.
    You will not like the price because you have to buy a number of individual collets to get a wide variety of sizes. The advantage is the little collets will hold tiny work pieces that nothing else can hold. The collets also run very near true which is not the case with many other chuck types. No drill chuck is designed to take side loads. The jaws of a 3 jaw will damage threads on screw shanks if you chuck on the threads to turn the screw head. You have to drill and tap a slug in your lathe and thread the screw into the slug in order to turn the head. A collet can chuck on the threads without damaging a screw.


    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I have a mini lathe that has really come in handy. However, I find myself making a lot of small parts like screws etc. The jaws are often too big, so I end up having to use a larger diameter piece of stock and cutting it down.

    I was thinking of getting a small drill chuck with a straight shank and mounting it in the three jaw chuck to hold smaller diameter stock. Is this a good idea, or would I be adding problems with concentricity. Maybe trying to find a smaller chuck would be the best way to go. What do others think?
    Thanks
    Last edited by EDG; 06-20-2019 at 11:32 PM.
    EDG

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    The collets seem like a good idea. Do they go down to really small sizes?
    Greg
    I bought a straight shank ER-32 collet chuck and a set of collets 13mm down to 1 mm for less than fifty bucks off Ebay. My 3 jaw chuck is really good and those collets are amazing what you can do with them - and it is such an easy setup ......now here come the experts to tell us ya cant get a good enough setup by throwing that straight shank holder in a 3 jaw chuck ....well it works just great at my place !!! I also bought a morse taper collet chuck for my mill for the same set of collets.

    You do not need to spend a mint on fancy brand machinist quality stuff ! Get the chinese "junk" it will be the best fifty bucks you ever spent ----need to check that your mini lathe chuck will take the shank first. My collet set will take anything from 1mm up to 13 mm including firmly hold bullet shells like 22/250 - 303 brit etc - I think the collet set was somewhere mid thirty bucks landed in my mailbox.
    Last edited by indian joe; 06-21-2019 at 06:22 AM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    One thing to be aware of with ER series collets (ER32, ER16, ER25...) is that they close from the front and back. So if you have short piece that only engages the front of the collet you can end up with a collet bore that is tapered. This can be worked around by putting a piece of stock the same size in the back of the collet and for non critical parts with light cuts it may not matter at all.
    quando omni flunkus moritati

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