11 June 2019
11 June 2019,

It’s the match-up of the year. In one corner we have the collet and its trainer the collet wrench and in the other, good old chuck and his chuck key. Which is the best for holding?

R8 tooll holderCollets versus Chucks

Collets and chucks are two different ways to hold your tools and work pieces with your CNC mill or lathe. Chucks usually use three jaws to hold a tool or piece of work in place. When it comes to work holding and tool holding, larger pieces use chucks. Smaller pieces use collets.

When it comes to work holding, chucks are versatile. Chucks accommodate a wide range of sizes and shapes. They don’t impose any length limitations on the work piece. On the other hand, collets place a limit on the machine’s Z-axis travel range. That’s because its length is longer than the length of a chuck. If a work piece is so long that the entire machine travel is needed to cut it, then you want a chuck and not a collet.

Collets for Accuracy

Collets have less run out by design. Once you tighten with a collet wrench, the collet applies force equally all around. Not just in three or so contact points. This gives you tight concentricity. That’s highly relevant if you are doing a two operation job where the second job’s accuracy depends on how the first operation was performed. Even if you use a chuck for the first job, a collet is better for the second job because of its ability to clamp precisely.

Accuracy also comes into play as the spindle operates at higher speeds. Since centrifugal force increases as a square of revolutions per minute, if you double the spindle speed you quadruple the centrifugal force. The chuck has greater mass, so it is affected more by the increased centrifugal force. That means as the spindle turns faster, the chuck jaws are being drawn out by the force. Reduced clamping force equals less accuracy. For high rpms and accuracy, go with the collet and the collet wrench. Leave chuck and his key on the workbench.

collet wrench

A Great Collet Deserves a Great Collet Wrench

Since you are going to rely on collets more than chucks, you need a collet wrench that won’t let you down. The Sierra American Multi-Systems is the collet wrench for you.

High visibility florescent handle makes this collet wrench stand out no matter where it is located. You can’t miss those day-glo colors!

A large tapered handle makes it feel good in your hand and makes the tool much easier to use. Just pick it up and you can feel the balance in your hand.

The concave face lets you achieve perfect alignment whether you are adjusting, aligning, or inserting collets.

It’s the best collet wrench, and it’s made in the USA. That makes it even better.

Ask for Sierra American by name where you buy your collets, collet wrench, chucks, and keys. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it. When you need the best in tool holding and work piece holding, you need a collet and you need a collet wrench from Sierra American. Anything else is just a waste of time and money.



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