Tool Purchase Suggestions

Here are some suggestions from Roy and others on some useful tools for the team.

Arbor Press

We need one of these to press in bearings.

Mini Lathe for cutting spacers and axles

Here is a partial list


Thanks Roy,

Hmmm, a quick look through the links makes me think that a reasonable budget for a new mini lathe and some tools is in the $1000 to $1500 range.



Here is a notcher used to cut sheet metal. Needs to be mounted to a heavy table



It would probably be helpful to have a punch too. I don't know if this one is a good one or not. The one below is way too big for our lab area. It is 31" tall without the handle, weighs 200 pounds, and needs to be bolted to a sturdy bench. Michael


Some information on Collets

From: CNC 6-axis Designs []
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 4:22 AM
Subject: Re: [7x12minilathe] Collet confusion commented

Advice, fwiw.

Buying advice for, new, lathe, mill, work holding and indexing.
Buy Er series collets for both workholding and toolholding.
They are cheap, accurate, widely available, and any collet
chucks/nuts from any manufacturer interchange within that series.
They are the cheapest, most accurate, widest range collet
system currently available.

Other benefits of the ER collet system:
+ ER is self releasing, meaning that you dont need to
hit/bang anywhere to get the collet open.
- This is due to the way teh taper and nut combo works internally.
+ ER is a double-spring collet system.
This means that it grips over a long range, making for
more accuracy and holding power, and a much wider gripping range.
+ The ER range is typically 1 mm, ie a 5 mm collet will grab from 5-6 mm.

Er accuracy:
+ Typical accuracies are in the under 0.01 mm TIR range,
rivaling the best and most expensive industrial systems.
If you can afford it, ultra high precision collets are
also available, in the 0.0005 mm range (Hint! if you
need to ask, you don't want them).

For a lathe, what you want is a ER collet chuck that can
pass stock through the spindle.
For a mini lathe, you want the ER20 to ER25 sizes.

A full Er25 collet set, collet chuck (with taper) for mill
and lathe pass-through collet chuck are under 200$.

I have ER 25, ER11, ER40 collets and chucks, and MT2
(Bridgeport mill, with 16tpi thread), MT2 (drill press),
MT3 (Lathe tailstock, metric thread), MT5 lathe headstock
(metric, drawbar), MT40 (in 4-jaw) pass through.
The ER series is the most flexible, cheapest and most available one.

Other options.
MT series, normally MT2, MT3 (MT5 in bigger lathes)
M2- cheap and again widely available.
Needed force to tighten is very low- this gives
+ low distortion,
+ the taper is self gripping and
+ long lived. All good things.

Some major drawbacks exist.
- The collets have an exact size.
A 3/8 inch collet will only grab 3/8, NOT say 8,9 or 10 mm (near it).
If you force the wrong size in it, the collet is destroyed.

- If you have an American mill, the MT taper is hard,
because the American material sizes and tools are not
nearly as widely and cheaply available in Europe.
Also, the you need to get collets with an imperial thread.
Likewise (less of a problem) for a European MT collet in the US.
(I have this problem with an American Bp M-head).
MT is not a self releasing collet.
MT cannot pass stock through the headstock on a lathe.

C3 and C5.
These are common in the US.
in short-stay away.
Small gripping range (exact or near exact sizes only),
- weak metric support,
- very expensive for a full set,
- very expensive for a quality set.
The C3/C5 work very well, but are exactly what you
do NOT want to buy, today, when starting.

The other collet options in tool grinders (a special
collets copied from the Deckel tool and cutter grinder),
lathes (W collets), mills (B&S # 7, original bridgeport)
are something expensive, proprietary, vendor-lock-in,
poor metric/imperial/thread support.

> Subject: [7x12minilathe] Collet confusion
> I'm looking to buy a collet system for my 7x10,
> and am thoroughly confused. I have searched the
> archives and not found a good overview to help
> me align the possibilities with my needs. I make
> a lot of tiny parts for my clarinet repair
> business. I also use a hand collet system for
> swedging pivot rods - lathe collets would be
> better for this - unpowered, of course. Sorting
> out ER32, ER25, 5C, etc., chuck vs whatever, do
> I have to buy something specific to the 7x.. or
> can I buy with an eye toward a larger lathe.....?
> At this point I don't even know what questions to ask.
> Can someone point me to a quick education before I
> plop down my wad of cash?
> Thank you
> Dale