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  • 3C collets (rant)

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ID:	2018007 I have a nice old 9” South Bend lathe. I also have the neat factory lever collet closer, along with collets from 1/16” to 17/32”. The 16th collets are Hardinge, and they’re great. The 32nds are unbranded imports. The free openings on the Hardinge are slightly over the marked size, while the imports are slightly undersize. Based on the 5C collets I have here, all seem to be slightly oversized, which allow easy insertion and removal of materials, regardless of the brand.
    This became a pain today, having to use a rod thru the collet closer to eject the work. 3C collets are pretty scarce, and I hesitate to buy some more imports if this is the new standard for made in China collets.
    Has anyone run into the same thing?
    I’ll add a photo. Getting a fingernail behind this proved impossible.

    I cut it off twice; it's still too short
    Oregon, USA

  • #2
    The good quality collets are bored on size, then sprung open slightly during heat treat. This makes it very easy to get on size parts in and out. You can spring your collets open with a tapered punch, then heat around the collet at the end of the splits. When it cools, the collet will be easy to use. I never quenched after heating, but you can if desired. I've done several 5C collets like that to make them more useable. I use a 5C lever collet closer a lot. It makes a big difference.
    Kansas City area

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    • #3
      I've never seen a china collet sprung like a Hardinge.
      Southwest Utah

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      • #4
        All the China ones I have are not sprung. Lyndex used to spring them, but the new ones that I've seen from them aren't any more. I often use 5C emergency collets and just bore them .002 or .003 oversize, but never seen 3C emergency collets.

        You could probably bore the 3C 1 or 2 oversize with a carbide boring bar. It only take a little bit to make all the difference. Or you could shim the slits and squeeze the collet down a few thou, then bore it on size and check your progress with gage pins or end mill or drill bit shanks, etc. The when you release the pressure, it will be bigger, but still on size when clamped.
        Last edited by Toolguy; 09-21-2022, 06:09 PM.
        Kansas City area

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        • #5
          You get what you pay for. Keep buying Chinese garbage and that's all that will be left to buy. No different with ham radio, everyone buying crappy Chinese radios and pretty soon Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood will be no more.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RB211 View Post
            You get what you pay for. Keep buying Chinese garbage and that's all that will be left to buy. No different with ham radio, everyone buying crappy Chinese radios and pretty soon Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood will be no more.
            Well, if everyone had your income there would be more quality tooling everywhere! Fact is, china collets are better than no collet. A lot of folk get them hoping to upgrade later. Same with machine tools. Us common folk just have to make do.
            Southwest Utah

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            • #7
              Not a directly relevant answer, but a collet adjacent story. My lathe has a M4 spindle taper, so it won't accept 5C collets in the usual way. I was considering making some sort of adapter when I had a little luck. I attended Wednesday evening adult classes at a local HS metal shop for many years. One night I spied, on the floor in the teachers office, a box containing about eight Royal 4C collets and a M4 adapter. I asked the teacher what the deal was. "I don't know," he said. "Someone just gave them to the school. I have no use for them." "Well, I could use them," I said. "Can I buy them from you?" He replied, "Well, I can't sell them... but, uh... how do I put this?... Have I ever told you how much I like Yukon Jack?" So for the price of a bottle of booze I got $200 worth of tooling. I've made several more and now I have a nice set. Perhaps my luckiest find.

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              • #8
                I think the advice of boring your collets out is bad.
                You are changing the size that they grip, which changes how straight
                and true they will hold parts. It sounds more barbaric, but springing them
                in a controlled manor seems the best to me.

                I bought a set of Hardinge 5C by 64th and never looked back.

                A side note, I have about 80 miscellaneous and odd 5C collets
                that I used before I bought my complete Hardinge set. Among
                those collets, I have some ENCO 5C collets, the old kind with
                a script ENCO stamped deep into them. Maybe 5 or 6 of them.
                Anyhow, every one of these ENCO collets has .0001" of run
                out, as tested in my Suburban spin index. These things are
                freaking amazing. Just as good as Hardinge. I miss ENCO
                and wish they were still around. When Manhattan Supply
                bought them, they are now just a shell with a name.
                I will forever remember their indexing bed turret attachments
                and their Gammet facing heads. They made turret toolposts
                too. Their catalogue was dream material.

                --Doozer
                Last edited by Doozer; 09-21-2022, 08:11 PM.
                DZER

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                  ...You get what you pay for. Keep buying Chinese garbage and that's all that will be left to buy...
                  I have to agree. I realize that money can be an issue--it is for most people--but machining is a precision
                  game. You can't do good work with junk tooling.

                  Most of my collets are Chinese (or at least import stuff) but they are better quality parts sold by a local
                  supplier of tooling. I have bought them one at a time as I've needed them and they haven't broken the
                  bank--haven't bought any for a while but I probably paid in the range of $25-$30 CDN each when I got
                  them. I could never see the point of buying sets, most of the people I know who have sets probably
                  only use half of them on a regular basis.

                  I just checked on Amazon and I can buy a 15 piece set of 5C collets for $82.68 US. How on earth can
                  you machine, grind, heat treat, pack, ship and allow for resellers markup for that kind of money? Got to
                  be dreaming if you think you're going to get any kind of quality for that price...
                  Keith
                  __________________________
                  Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                    You get what you pay for. Keep buying Chinese garbage and that's all that will be left to buy. No different with ham radio, everyone buying crappy Chinese radios and pretty soon Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood will be no more.
                    Since "quality" means basically Hardinge, at least around $150+ per each new, there is a small problem....... Yes, I know you may spend a bit more on tooling than on the machine, but at $150 a pop, it will be more like 5x more....

                    Now, I DO have mostly Hardinge, even for the 4NS collets that don't fit anything I own, but I definitely did not buy them for $150 a pop.

                    The problem with low cost chinese stuff is about to hit hard...... China is almost out of business right now, and if things are made here, with wages no longer at $7.75 an hour, those things are not gonna cost what the chinese stuff costs. For that matter, the actual chinese stuff is going to cost a good deal more, if it becomes available again.
                    CNC machines only go through the motions

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                      I think the advice of boring your collets out is bad.
                      You are changing the size that they grip, which changes how straight
                      and true they will hold parts. It sounds more barbaric, but springing them
                      in a controlled manor seems the best to me.

                      I bought a set of Hardinge 5C by 64th and never looked back.

                      A side note, I have about 80 miscellaneous and odd 5C collets
                      that I used before I bought my complete Hardinge set. Among
                      those collets, I have some ENCO 5C collets, the old kind with
                      a script ENCO stamped deep into them. Maybe 5 or 6 of them.
                      Anyhow, every one of these ENCO collets has .0001" of run
                      out, as tested in my Suburban spin index. These things are
                      freaking amazing. Just as good as Hardinge. I miss ENCO
                      and wish they were still around. When Manhattan Supply
                      bought them, they are now just a shell with a name.
                      I will forever remember their indexing bed turret attachments
                      and their Gammet facing heads. They made turret toolposts
                      too. Their catalogue was dream material.

                      --Doozer
                      If you look there are still some Enco brand items on the MSC website. They had a little 6x12 surface grinder I looked at a while back before i bought the Grizzly.
                      *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chipmaker4130 View Post

                        Well, if everyone had your income there would be more quality tooling everywhere! Fact is, china collets are better than no collet. A lot of folk get them hoping to upgrade later. Same with machine tools. Us common folk just have to make do.
                        My actual budget for toys is quite small. My wife doesn't work because my daughter is special needs. Sure I make good money but I'm carrying the income and financial responsibilities of two earners. Kids are expensive. I keep 250$ a paycheck for my hobbies. Haha.

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                        • #13
                          Lucky you! I get $100/month and that's only for the last year! My wife, by choice, stayed home with the kids, and we made do. It was good for the kids, and good for our family. I wish I'd been home more though. I flew for 36yrs so I kinda know where you're coming from.
                          Southwest Utah

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                          • #14
                            Tiers- where are you getting $150+ For a Hardinge 5c collet?
                            Did a quick search, see them for a 1/3 of all that.
                            Glad I didn’t pay that for my Hardinge 5cs

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                            • #15
                              Well, Pileski, I looked here: https://shop.hardinge.com/All-Produc...C-round-collet

                              Price is listed at $62 to $238. I just took an average.

                              Might be cheaper for the 3C bought elsewhere...
                              CNC machines only go through the motions

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