Modern mills perform many functions. They can be set up to operate like a drill, a saw, or to even machine a smooth finish. When you set up a tool, you have a couple of choices in tool holders: chucks or collets. No matter which one you use, you still need an R8 tool holder to hold your tool holder!
Chucks have 3 or 4 “jaws” that hold your tool in place. You tighten and loosen by turning
the shell or outside of the chuck to increase or decrease the force of the jaws. Some chucks on hand tools are tightened by hand. On power tools and mills, a key is usually used for this purpose. Using a chuck means you need to keep up with the chuck and the chuck key as well. As if you already didn’t have enough work to do.
Chucks are great if you aren’t terribly worried about precision. Because of the design of a chuck, it is difficult to get your tool perfectly centered in the tool holder. Some chucks try to get around this by utilizing a “self centering” design. It attempts to equally apply the force to all the jaws as a means to center the tool.
Collets are another way to hold your tool in place. Actually, a chuck is really a type of collet. But in metalworking, when you hear “collet” it is a special type of R8 tool holder.
The collet will be held firmly in place and the tool will be centered and held much more firmly than if a chuck were used. This means less run out, less wobble, and less ruined work. It also mean much more precision. For anything more than just a casual hobbyist, a collet is the preferred tool holder.
Collets are tapered, so they need a tapered holder to keep them organized.
R8 Tool Holder vs 5C Tool Holder
Well now that we’ve covered the types of tool holders, let’s look at how to hold the tool holders!
A collet tray is a great way to make tool-changing simple. If multiple tools are required, the tools can be set up in sequence to make changing quick and easy. You can also use your tray to carry tools from the tool room to your work area.
If your collets are internally threaded, they are R8 collets and you use an R8 tool holder. If your collets are externally threaded, then you have 5C collets and you use a 5C tray. Because the collets are made differently, you need different trays to protect them.
Sierra American is the home of arbors, fly cutters, and multi-stops. They also carry the R8 tool holder tray and the 5C tool holder tray you need to stay organized and efficient. Pair one of these trays with a collet wrench and you will be a quick change artist for sure.
Each tool holder tray made by Sierra American is engineered with strong impact-resistant plastic to protect your expensive tooling. They are also proudly made right here in the U.S.A. When you buy Sierra American, you are supporting domestic manufacturing.