During the Midwest Penturners Gathering earlier this year, ER32 Colletts were recommeded for beespoke/kitless penmaking. What ER32 collett brands and sizes are recommended? In addition, Is USA made better quality than overseas makers? Thanks.
I didn't know they came in those larger sizes now...that looks like Banggood..I need to look into getting the 21, 23 & 26mm.
I didn't realize they made these larger ones either... here's an ebay source (a little pricey to my eye at $41 shipped per collet):
Thank you very much for your detailed comments!This was the subject of a recent discussion on the Woodturner's Resource site.
In order to use collets, you must have a collet chuck. There are two 'budget' options for collet chucks - the PSI option and the CSUSA 'Apprentice' option. Both chucks screw directly onto the lathe spindle - the PSI option is dimensioned for a 1"x8PTI spindle, and comes with a 3/4x16TPI adaptor, while the CSUSA chuck is dimensioned for a 1.25"x8TPI spindle and comes with an adapter for 1"x8tpi. Both are made in China.
There are other suppliers of screw-on collet chucks - notably Beall. The Beall chuck is smooth and must be tightened with a spanner wrench. The PSI and CSUSA chucks are knurled, and it is often possible to tighten them sufficiently by hand; both come with 'tommy bars' if you really need to squeeze down on a piece. There are also chucks that mount using a morse taper.
The second consideration is to decide between imperial or metric dimensioned collets. A critical point to understand about collets is that the nominal dimension of a collet is the maximum diameter it can grip, and most collets (both metric and imperial) have a working range of about 1mm. The PSI and CSUSA chucks come in sets that include five imperial collets in 1/8" steps between 1/4" and 3/4". For many people that's good enough - you just turn whatever you are making to have a matching diameter. But you can purchase imperial collets in 1/64" increments if you need to fill in the gaps, or you can purchase collets in metric dimensions in 1mm increments.
I have the PSI set and have been very happy with it. I have not found having gaps in the clamping range to be a problem - YMMV. I separately purchased two additional collets - 1/8" and 20mm so that I have a slightly broader range of options. Incidentally, the two additional collets came from China and seem to be fine. I'm sure that US made collets would be better (and more expensive), but I'm not a professional machinist and I can't justify the cost of something more expensive for my occasional use.
There are two helpful documents in the IAP library that discuss collets and collet chucks -
Thank you for your comments!For my metal lathe, I bought the cheapest priced set I could find on ebay about 3 years ago...it came with 11 piece collets and a mt2 collet chuck for my lathe. I have used it relentlessly since and it still holds true.
I'm sure a USA made set would offer more quality and such but the one I have serves me fine.
For my wood lathe, I bought the PSI set, comes with 5 collets and 2 adapters 1" x 8tpi & 3/4" x 16tpi for the chuck head. It too has worked fine .
It would be difficult but not impossible to make kitless pens without one.... it sure makes it easier to have one.
Thank you for shearing your experiences with colletts and recommendation!A few years back when I was starting, I got the PSI with the set, along with a $100 eBay 20 piece metric collet assortment. I also added a 21mm, collet which was not in the set, and which I use a lot. I think 21mm is the max for an ER32, and it's good for a fat 3/4" round blank.
After using them a while I "upgraded" to the Beale holder and liked it much better. I rarely use any of the PSI set I bought as the metric pretty much covers everything. I don't think I've ever used anything smaller than the 6mm (so never used the smallest two or three of the 20 set)..
So... if I was to do it all again, I'd skip the PSI set, and just get the Beale holder, an 18 piece ebay metric 3-20mm set, and add the 21mm collet on the side.
Thank you for your comments!What I chose to do is go with the Mt collect system as I have three differant MT head stocks, 1,2 and three. That way I only need one set of ER 32 which covers most of turning requirements. I just found a great deal on MT 2 for ER 20 collect system in metric . the complete systems were less$$$ that of Beal with same conerage.