Tools Etc. 2


I've decided to move all the bits about new tools etc. that I've acquired to a new dedicated section to avoid cluttering up other sections and to keep these all together.



I have been meaning to get a collet chuck system for some time now and when a friend at the club brought his recently acquired ER32 morse taper chuck to show me, that spurred me on to get one myself.

I have read many horror stories about cheap Chinese collets and how bad they can be but I can't really afford or justify the expense of getting a good named brand set.

I've recently retired from my part time job at our local RBL club and was given a £50 Amazon voucher as a leaving present. I don't buy that much from Amazon to be honest and couldn't think of anything to spend the voucher on when I got it. I have just bought a colour laser printer from Amazon but that was before I got the voucher! I have got really fed up with paying rip off prices for inkjet cartridges that only last a few pages so have now gone laser, but that is besides the point.

I've never really thought of looking on Amazon for tools but had a look at collet chucks and collet sets. At least I could use the voucher towards a set of collets. I eventually settled on a set of eighteen ER32 collets from a company called AIM Tools Ltd. The price was about £70 so they cost me £20 after using the voucher.



The postage was free and I expected them to arrive the middle of the next week but they actually came the next day! I've never bothered with Amazon Prime as it works out far more expensive than just paying postage unless you are buying stuff every day plus you get a load of ' Freebies' that I'm not interested in and would never use.

The collets were all individually wrapped and when I inspected them they looked well made and well finished. There were a couple of small burs on a couple of the smaller collets but they soon came off.

All I needed now was a suitable chuck to use them in. I decided against a morse taper chuck as the above mentioned horror stories usually apply to the chinese morse taper collet chucks. Also, you are limited to the length of the bar that you can hold in them. Instead, I went for the backplate mounting type of chuck as the bar can pass thought the back of these. This system was intended for the ML7 initially so I would be limited by the length of bar which would fit through the spindle but even with larger bar I would still be able to hold much longer pieces that with a morse taper type chuck. I think the backplate type are more rigid that the morse taper type as well.

I decided to stick with a British supplier for the chuck and got one from ArcEuro who I've always had very good service from. I also got a ball bearing nut from them to replace the plain one that came with the chuck and also a spanner which didn't come with the chuck. I didn't get the backplate from them as they seem to only do steel ones and I have read that threaded backplates are better in cast iron as there is less chance of them galling and getting stuck on the spindle nose. Instead, I got the threaded backplate blank from Myford. I recently got one from them for a 4 jaw chuck I had bought off Ebay and that fitted the spindle nose perfectly.

It was a simple turning job to machine the register on the backplate to take the chuck and the three securing bolts.



I went with the backplates with the 24 indexing holes around the edge as they were no more expensive than the plain ones and I thought the holes might be useful for something someday!

Initial results with the collets was very disappointing. There was several thou runout when I tried some of the collets with various size silver steel rod. The runout increased even more the further from the chuck you went. 'Oh dear' I thought, the horror stories are true and these collets are rubbish after all. The quoted accuracy for the collets was 0.01mm ( 0.0004") TIR and these seemed to be far worse than that. I went as far as ordering a few collets from ArcEuro to see if they were any better.

I decided to put the clock on the inside taper of the chuck and that showed that the taper was not running true. The runout got worse as the clock was moved further down the taper.

I took the chuck off the backplate to make sure that everything was clean and that seemed ok. I then took the backplate off the spindle and found a small chip stuck to the face that touches the spindle flange, despite checking before I had refitted it! Refitting the chuck showed a big improvement but the runout was still about a thou.

I then did what many people seem to do, both with collet chucks and three jaw chucks - I machined the reister on the backplate slightly smaller in diameter so that the chuck could be tapped about to get it running truly. That process is extremely fiddly to do. If you have the fixing bolts too tight then the chuck won't move and if the fixings are too loose then the chuck moves too much! After a lot of faffing about I got the chuck taper to run within 2 tenths (0.0002") but I'd had enough by then. I could get it even better but I think it would severely try my patience!

Trying the collets again showed a vast improvement and the average runout at the collet seems about 4 tenths (0.0004" or 0.01mm) so I'm more than happy with that. The runout does increase as you move away from the collet but you don't normally machine the ends of long bars without centre support.

I tried the collets from ArcEuro and they gave pretty much the same results. As mentioned above, I can probably get the runout better by tapping the chuck around some more but that's a job for another time when I have got nothing better to do.

Now that I know the collets are reasonable I will probably get a couple of the Stephenson collet blocks i.e. the square and hexagonal bodied ones for holding work in the mill vice. I may get an ER40 chuck as well to take the larger sized material. I'll only need a few collets to cover the sizes that the ER32 can't handle.

I've also realised that you only need metric collets as they each cover a 1mm range and so will cover imperial sized material as well. There's no need for imperial collets at all really.


I've gone berserk again and bought a load more dial indicators very cheaply. I must have bought about another 50 or so! I really must stop buying them. The idea is to restore them where possible and sell them on again. Some of them are in very nice condition already but a lot are only fit for spares.

I'm always on the lookout for taps and dies, reamers etc. and have picked up a good selection over the last few months. Also a selection of soft hammers that will come in handy for boilermaking and flanging boiler plates. The only problem is where to keep them all!


Over the last couple of days I've spent some time on a job that I've been thinking of doing for some time now. That is to make a proper rack for all my Quick Change Tool Holders for the Myford. I've got about 18 of them now and I could do with another 10 at least!

I looked at buying a kit for a rack from Model Engineers Laser but I couldn't see them listed on the website anymore. There is also someone on Ebay selling them but I decided it would be a lot cheaper to make my own. I decided on simply using bits of angle that would fit in the slot in the tool holders mounted onto a backing plate.

I had already ordered some 30mm x 20mm alunimium angle for the job and had some 40mm x 6mm aluminium flat bar that came out of some old PVC windows. I just had to order some countersunk head screws to hold the angle to the backing strip.

The angle was cut into suitable lengths using the power hacksaw, cleaned up in the mill and then two holes drilled and countersunk in each piece using the DRO on the mill. The backing plate was cut to length and the screw holes drilled and tapped in the mill, again using the DRO.




The original plan was to just have the top rack which holds 20 tool holders but after I had made it I found that some of the holders had a shorter slot in them and those holders wouldn't fit the new rack! I could have shortened the bits of angle slightly I suppose but instead just made another rack to take these odd holders. I've now got room for another 10 holders when I do eventually get some more.


I picked up another two Albrecht chucks from Ebay the other day which are in very nice clean condition.



It was hard to tell from the listing what size the arbors were. I was hoping that they might be No.2 Morse taper but they are actually No.1 taper. The Pollard drill uses a No.1 taper but I very rarely use that so it would be a waste putting one of these chucks on that. I actually want one for the Myford ML7 and I will probably use the other one on the mill as it's in better condition than the one I got for it earlier. To this end I bought a new No.2 taper arbor for the ML7 and an R8 arbor for the mill.

I was a bit concerned about how I was going to remove the No.1 arbors as, being so small, they don't have a shoulder so that you can use wedges to remove them. Instead, I took the chucks to bits and then I could knock the arbors out with a drift.

It was just as well that I did take them to bits as one of them was filthy inside and full of grease and swarf and it gave me chance to clean and regrease them. I am sure one of them had far too much grease in it but the shrouds on both of them were extremely tight and need a bit of heat to get them unscrewed so it didn't seem as though they had been apart before. Maybe someone had just squirted a load of grease inside it?

Neither of the chucks had the tightening ring but that is not really needed if the chucks are used in a lathe tailstock etc. I'll make one for the chuck intended for the mill the same as I did for the earlier one.


I machined up a tightening ring for one of the new Albrecht chucks but was disappointed to find that both suffered from a large amount of runout (about 0.006") when I tested them. The chuck jaws do look worn so that may be the cause. I may have to splash out and get a new set for the one that I intended to use in the mill.

I've just treated myself again and bought a set of Stevenson collet blocks for use in the mill. These are the square and hexagonal blocks that are very useful for putting squares and hex heads on the end of shafts. I've already got a set of ER32 collets so these are the ER32 sizes.

I also bought a small keyless 0.5 mm to 8 mm chuck for use in the Mini Mill. I use that a lot for drilling in the smaller sizes and the new chuck will make changing out drills much quicker.




The new drill chuck for the Mini Mill turned out to be rubbish. It has a lot of run out and would have been useless for small drills. It was only cheap and reduced in a sale on a well known suppliers website but I was surprised that it was as bad as it was. The body itself runs perfectly true but the jaws obviously don't. I did take it to bits to have a look and it was very poorly machined inside so no wonder it was crap. Best place for it is the scrap bin!



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