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Anyone know of good quality import 4 jaw?

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  • Anyone know of good quality import 4 jaw?


    Are there any good quality new import 4 jaw chucks out there for a home hobby person looking for decent precision? I'm looking for a 6" 4 jaw and I'm not sure I want to roll the dice just yet with the import stuff. I have my eye on ebay for some good old american/english chucks but you never know what you get sight unseen. Some look pretty beat and I can't tell what environment they came from.

    In particular I am interested if the import chucks have good parallel chuck slots and jaws and if the material is too soft. Alot of the cheaper ones seem to be semi-steel which I'm assuming is a cast steel alloy. I'm interested in getting a chuck that has the front and backs parallel to the chuck slots too, although I could true this up if it were out too much (I'd rather not have to though!).


  • #2
    Bison is top quality; you'll pay for it, but only once.


    • #3

      Yep, Bison is well worth the money for a new chuck. Problem with old used chucks is you don't know how well they've been cared for and how many crashes they've endured. A used one may very well be worse than the cheapest import for accuracy.

      If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


      • #4
        +1 for Bison
        I just need one more tool,just one!


        • #5
          I'll second (or fourth) the Bison.

          Here's my new 3-jaw, reading Up close to the chuck jaws at .001" TIR:

          .003" TIR eight inches outboard on a ground shaft - good enuf for me
          Last edited by Frank Ford; 09-25-2010, 12:21 PM.

          Frank Ford


          • #6
            2X on the above posts. Go with a quality chuck.


            • #7
              Well, I have two schools of thought on this...

              First is previous experience with an import 4 jaw. It was a good solid chuck. Rough in some respects, but was completely serviceable. It did fine work for me and I was very very happy with it, especially for the price. It was an Enco offering several years back.

              I run Bison 3 jaws and a nice name brand (it escapes me at the moment) 4 jaw.

              The nice name brand 4 jaw is much lighter and easier to handle at 8 inches than my massive 6 " 4 jaw import, but it quite literally does exactly the same job with the only other noticeable difference being that the screws are more responsive when tightening the jaws.

              I had asked the same question you did and the response I got was... "It's a 4 jaw, not a 3 jaw"

              It doesn't need to be top quality or name brand to do it's job. proper prep of the backing plate and careful installation will ensure a high probability of great results. Either way you go, best of luck and enjoy what you get.


              • #8
                Hi K:

                If you're willing to consider used, email this guy.
                He's a straight shooter and will ship anywhere.

                Don't bother looking at his list, just email him with what you're looking for, he doesn't deal Chicom.


                My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."


                • #9
                  Also look here, i have a six jaw that has been pretty darn good.


                  • #10
                    4 Jaw chucks don't need to be super-high-quality in order to work well.
                    The Import 4 jaws chucks are just fine. I have an 8" Chinese that works great.
                    You will need to indicate your work in anyway while using a 4-jaw, so precission really isn't an issue..
                    Better to have a high-quality indicator.


                    • #11
                      Two thing,
                      #1 is a worn out 4 jaw chuck can be made to run as accurately as a brand new Cushman heavy duty production 4 jaw chuck. Naturally the precision is a product of the care and dial indicator used to center the work.

                      #2 is the chief benefit of a new chuck is its predictability and the new sharp serrations for gripping.

                      A cheap import works a well as Bison's best for the first few years because of the Bison's superior metallurgy and it might be a trifle huskier in its proportions.

                      When you stop to think of how a 4 jaw independent chuck is typically used you sooner of later conclude that it really doesn't matter if the jaws are even indexed accurately so long as opposed pairs - um - oppose each other. The jaws are independently adjusted so the accuracy can be almost infinitely refined. Once on a bet, I broke out my Federal gage head and amp and dialed in a precision groud part to 5 millionths; a pointless exercise that won me a pizza.

                      The spindle mount has to fit the lathe spindle accurately and the parts have to fit well, the jaws have to be hard, the serrations consistant. etc.

                      Where many people err is when they "swallow" the work, place it far back in the chuck so the jaw grip full length. The doer might expect extra rigidity and accurate alignment in nutation but it aint that simple. This requires the jaws to be "inverse taper" ground so when the jaws deflect under clamping load they grip the work full length. With no inverse taper, the jaws deflect to splay slightly and grip at the heel. No off-the-shelf chuck I've ever seen has this level of refnement though I've re-ground a few that way.

                      So: go for a Bison chuck if the budget will stretch. They really are good. However you probably won't be dissatisfied with a better import of about 1/2 the cost of the Bison.
                      Last edited by Forrest Addy; 09-25-2010, 08:21 PM.


                      • #12
                        Thanks guys,

                        I'm torn now. I've had pretty good luck with Tools4Cheap, but I have heard great things about Bison and they are still cheaper than a buck chuck. Its just a heavy price tag for a 4 jaw chuck when buying from Bison.

                        I guess for 5-10 times a year usage the import might not be a bad deal. I can do most of my work on a standard 3 jaw chuck, its just sometimes I need to flip something around and re-indicate it. I can't justify the Bison 6 jaw set true just yet!

                        For the folks that commented on the import chucks being OK, have you indicated them with a test bar? I know you can dial out any crappy 4 jaw, but you still want the jaws to actuate parallel to the back of the chuck or else your part will be tilted (and thus runout) at several inches out from the chuck.



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KEJR
                          I know you can dial out any crappy 4 jaw, but you still want the jaws to actuate parallel to the back of the chuck or else your part will be tilted (and thus runout) at several inches out from the chuck.
                          Smart man That said, if the work is of any sufficient length, I use a center drill and indicate it in on the 4-jaw while the far end is supported by a dead center in the tailstock.


                          • #14
                            High quality import? Rohm, Pratt Burnerd.....are there any that aren't imported?


                            • #15
                              Let's make something clear: If you expect the gripping urface of a chuck's jaws to hold a machined diameter concentric to the spindle axis some distance out simply by snugging up the jaws, you're dreaming.

                              Chuck jaws ALWAYS splay a small amount often irregularly. It's not a reasonable expectation for a chuck of some time in service to hold extended work concenteric along its axis without some adjustment such as bumping the work with a soft hammer.

                              Let's give this a word: Say a work axis is concentric to the spindle at one point but at some distance away the work axis describes a cone. Thus at the spindle rotates the work axis is said to "nutate." Accurate work diameters gripped in plain hard chuck jaws will always nutate to some degree. The work almost always has to be tweaked.
                              Last edited by Forrest Addy; 09-25-2010, 08:44 PM.