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Collets for a drill press ?

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  • Collets for a drill press ?

    I am thinking of replacing my drill press chuck with an ER collet chuck with a female taper. Am wondering if anyone has tried this.

    Graham O

  • #2
    ER collets should work great on a drill press. The drills should run very true.
    Kansas City area


    • #3
      I'm sure it could be done, but I fail to see any advantage. To me, it would just make using the drillpress more tedious and time consuming. The 'accuracy' of the vast majority of such machines doesn't warrant a collet, and a precision chuck will give you better accuracy than the machine can support and maintain the convenience. If you're trying to gain more headroom it would make more sense to me to fabricate a taller column.
      Southwest Utah


      • #4
        I've done it on my lathe, mill and single lip cutter grinder, but can't see any reason to equip the drill press. It will just slow you down and not increase accuracy. May keep your drill bits from slipping though. If your drills are marred already, I would not use them in a collet. A good chance they would trash your collets.


        • #5
          It makes no sense to me either. If you go for a keyless chuck for most of the work the drills and other cutters are easily switched out and the chuck spun open or closed to suit the new shank size. If you get an ER to MT chuck then right off the bat you need a wrench to tighten and loosen the collet nut. Then there's the need to remove the item in the collet so you can spring it out of the nut and put in a new collet for the next item.

          I love my keyless chucks. But as so often noted here they don't do it all. For the odd time the keyless doesn't work I've got Jacobs chucks on their own arbors which switch in and out quite easily.
          Chilliwack BC, Canada


          • #6
            To me, there is no definitive answer to this.
            The keyless chucks I have had either slip, or you re-tighten, then can't open it, damnit
            The keyed chucks I got either slip, you re-tighten, then they pinch your finger in the key trying to open it, damnit
            The negative for ER collet wrench makes no sense, since you likely got a chuck key anyway,
            IF, all other things were equal, and I had to choose between a chuck and a collet, I would take the collet.


            • #7
              I'm with Ringo on this. ER collets in a drill press make a great deal of sense, since they have better grip on the shank. More surface area. I'm sure they run truer, and take up less space than a regular chuck. FWIW the only chucks I've ever used that are actually worth owning, are the Jacobs Ball-bearing Super chucks. Those have a great grip and are very hard to beat, but man are they expensive... $$$$

              If you drill press spindle has a morse taper then its easy to find a MT shank to ER arbor, its a common item.
              Last edited by nickel-city-fab; 03-01-2020, 09:48 PM.
              25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA


              • #8
                I use an AccuPro branded keyless chuck, made in Spain. It might slip when tapping larger holes, but it came with a wrench that solves that problem when it arises. I agree that a keyless chuck without wrench-flats and a wrench is not ideal.
                Southwest Utah


                • #9
                  On the time thing, I have two drill chucks for my floor stand drill press. To change them:

                  MT Key and tap it; the chuck comes out,
                  Quick cleaning of the taper,
                  Stick the new chuck in,
                  Apply some pressure against a scrap of wood,
                  Stick in a drill bit and tighten the chuck.
                  Done! Boy that was fast.

                  If I am going to use the first drill bit again, it can stay in the chuck so I did not include that step. But removing it can be very quick and easy.
                  I only needed one tool, the chuck key which I keep in it's own place at the drill press.

                  ER Collet:

                  Unscrew the collet nut,
                  Remove the collet and nut,
                  Remove collet from nut,
                  Insert the new collet in the nut,
                  Screw on the collet nut and collet,
                  Stick in a drill bit,
                  Lock the spindle/collet holder (pin, wrench, whatever),
                  Tighten the collet nut with another wrench.
                  Oh, two wrenches to put where I can find them next time.
                  Was that any faster? I don't think so but I may be wrong.

                  Again, to be fair, I did not include removing the drill bit from the first collet. But I may make that mandatory to prevent cutting my hands while snapping that collet out of the collet nut. Two or more collet nuts may be the way to go here.
                  Two tools are needed, one to hold the spindle or collet holder and the other one for the nut. Twice the chance of one being misplaced.

                  On that grip thing, I have only buggered up drill bit shanks on my hand held drills which have cheap chucks that can be hard to tighten properly. I don't think I have ever had a drill bit slip in my drill presses. Perhaps once or twice in my lathe when center drilling, but not in the drill presses or even in my mill. I tend to use a proper sized chuck and tighten it properly. The chuck key for my small, bench top DP even has a longer than stock handle to facilitate proper tightening and not hurt my hands as much.

                  And as for the accuracy of the holes, I think that drill bits are flexible and the size of the hole is determined more by the grind of the tip than the run out of the chuck. The finish of the hole, along with it's size is also determined by technique: peck and brush off the chips from the drill's flutes is the key here. And do use cutting OIL. Those things will help more than a collet.

                  Sorry, I just don't see any advantage to collets in the drill press. And frankly when I am drilling in my mill, I use drill chucks there too. And again, I have two for different sized bits. I don't try to hold a 1" drill bit in a 1/4" or even in a 1/2" chuck. I break out the big boys for that. Overall I probably have over a dozen drill chucks: never too many. And I actively want another one for my bench top DP. I plan to get it as soon as I find my wedges to remove the OEM one.
                  Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 03-02-2020, 01:45 AM.
                  Paul A.
                  SE Texas

                  And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                  You will find that it has discrete steps.


                  • #10
                    I'm with the vast majority here.
                    I really can't see an advantage or the point.
                    Just in extra time and inconvenience, it would do my head in....
                    Spot drill
                    pilot drill
                    main drill
                    chamfer, each time changing a collet?
                    Nah, sorry, life is too short.


                    • #11
                      look up the torque for er collets. no way you will properly tighten them on a drill press. for er32 you need a fixture. the forums are full of reports that the tool walked out of the collet. thats why. also most collets do not have less runout than a good chuck. they are being measured in a different way.


                      • #12
                        Get a decent drill chuck. Somebody mentioned a Jacobs ball bearing chuck...really good, except they cost as much as the usual junk import drill press.

                        Keyless chucks can be an alternative. I don't like them because they self tighten with hard use and need more than a hand twist to loosen when self tightened. Most (if not all) loosen when run in reverse, so no good for holding taps.

                        ER collet in general makes no sense to me in a drill press.

                        My 14", 1/2" capacity drill presses are Craftsman/Atlas from years ago. Jacobs #33 taper on the spindle nose with Jacobs chucks having the threaded locking collar so the chuck can not fall off in use. I don't know if anybody still makes this configuration of drill press. For years this was the standard of 14" American made drill presses. Only later the imports with the Morse taper spindles came out (the ones that the Morse taper mounted chuck falls out occasionally).

                        Here's a video showing the threaded collar chuck:

                        Here's how to remove a threaded collar type Jacobs chuck from your old drill press. Also a brief discussion on JACOBS TAPERS.Please subscribe, like, and te...


                        • #13
                          If you want to use a collet, then a MT2 er25 one holds up to 16mm, 5/8". Getting or making a tang to screw into the drawbar thread is important for extraction purposes, and the body should have a spanner flat on it. To properly tighten the collet in situ you will need two spanners of at least 10" long. Do not think of using milling cutters in the collet, as without a drawbar, the taper will let go with unfortunate consequences.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by graham o View Post
                            I am thinking of replacing my drill press chuck with an ER collet chuck with a female taper. Am wondering if anyone has tried this.
                            what are your reasons for thinking of doing so?

                            There is an advantage with watchmaking sized drills (and many of those do use collets).... if the drill is 005" a wee bit of runout really matters, but for a regular size machinist drill press, I think it would be terribly inconvenient with no benefits
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?


                            • #15
                              A couple of you wrote about the ER needing a wrench just as the Jacobs needs a key. That's true.... .BUT... The Jacobs key uses the geared ring and pin in the body to react totally within itself. The ER wrench would require you to somehow hold or lock the spindle in place to apply the torque needed.

                              Plus lets recall that with the ER you change not one but two items for each tool change. the nut comes off with the collet trapped in the nut, you remove the drill or other item so you can flex the collet to unsnap it from the nut, then swap collets to one suitable for the next drill or other item.

                              In a production setting or for some pretty specific requirements perhaps this would be justifiable. But for day in, day out common drilling and countersinking work it sure seems like it's adding a lot of extra steps needlessly.

                              I must be the lucky one when it comes to my keyless chucks. I find that they grip just fine for drilling. The only place I run into issues is when holding taps in the chucks. The shanks of the taps being hardened don't grip well so I manage to start the taps enough to get a straight start but can't power thread with them. And the only time I have ever had to resort to the pipe wrenches to open them is when I used a fly cutter style hole cutter and did an interrupted cut to take out a "half moon" of wood. The impacts when the cutter hit the wood each rev locked that thing up pretty good....

                              Chilliwack BC, Canada