Seeking Recommendations for a Collet Chuck

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michaelperez

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Aug 21, 2022
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Hello everyone,

I hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

I'm in the market for a new collet chuck and would love to get your recommendations and advice. I've narrowed it down to three options:

1. Lee Valley Beall Chuck (Wrench) Set - $168
2. Ring Supplies (Wrench) + 1 Collet - $105
3. Craft Supplies Apprentice (Tommy Bar) Set - $100

Do any of you have experience with these collet chucks? I recently discovered the Ring Supplies store, and they also offer collets, boring heads, etc. Any feedback on their products or service would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your help!
 
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I have the Beall, got it before LV took it over. Good chuck with no complaints.

I suggest you look online for a set of ER32 metric collets. The ER32 collets have a grip range of 1mm so the merit set covers them all without gaps. The Imperial set does have a few gaps because of the fractional sizes.
 
I've had both Beall & the craft supplies version. Both work well but I prefered the Beall due to its more streamlined nature. I have a full set of imperial collets by 32nds which works well for me.
 
I have the Beall (actually 2) collet chuck and love it. I'm assuming the LV Beall collet chuck is still the quality it was before J R Beall sold to LV. I also have the PSI collet chuck. It is very similar to the CSUSA chuck.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 
Hello everyone,

I hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

I'm in the market for a new collet chuck and would love to get your recommendations and advice. I've narrowed it down to three options:

1. Lee Valley Beall Chuck (Wrench) Set - $168
2. Ring Supplies (Wrench) + 1 Collet - $105
3. Craft Supplies Apprentice (Tommy Bar) Set - $100

Do any of you have experience with these collet chucks? I recently discovered the Ring Supplies store, and they also offer collets, boring heads, etc. Any feedback on their products or service would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your help!
I used the Beall small and large sets (1" and 1 1/4") for many years and feel they are a 'lifetime quality' product. For the 1" set I had an older set bought used, so a full 19 inserts. They are now on their third owner.
 
The PSI/Craft supplies one is great - have had it a long time and it's my "travel" chuck now. My current lathe has a 1 1/4"x8 spindle so i got the beall and am very happy with it
 
I'm a huge Beall fan. I think I own just about everything he's produced. I have both of his sets of collet's. As someone mentioned earlier, it's a lifetime quality collet set. Very well made.
 
I have the Craft Supplies USA "Apprentice" ER32 chuck with 1+1/4" x 8 threading, and bought a full set of metric collets from a seller on Amazon (3mm to 20mm, then found a 21mm on it's own).

No complaints at all, it has served me well for ... errr ... don't remember when I got it, more than 5, less than 15 years.

I find the metric collet set far more intuitive than SAE sizes. I never have to question "is 13mm bigger or smaller than 14mm?" but sometimes it takes me a while to work out that 17/32" is smaller than 7/16" :)
 
I have the Beall, got it before LV took it over. Good chuck with no complaints.

I suggest you look online for a set of ER32 metric collets. The ER32 collets have a grip range of 1mm so the merit set covers them all without gaps. The Imperial set does have a few gaps because of the fractional sizes.

Hello, thank you! I'm leaning towards purchasing the Beall chuck from Lee Valley, as I assume they maintain quality standards. However, I'm unsure where they are currently manufactured.
and I also prefer metric.
 
I have the Craft Supplies USA "Apprentice" ER32 chuck with 1+1/4" x 8 threading, and bought a full set of metric collets from a seller on Amazon (3mm to 20mm, then found a 21mm on it's own).

No complaints at all, it has served me well for ... errr ... don't remember when I got it, more than 5, less than 15 years.

I find the metric collet set far more intuitive than SAE sizes. I never have to question "is 13mm bigger or smaller than 14mm?" but sometimes it takes me a while to work out that 17/32" is smaller than 7/16" :)
Hello, thank you I'm also more familiar with metric, imperial is still difficult to understand for me.Hello, thank you I'm also more familiar with metric, imperial is still difficult to understand for me.
 
Thanks so much to everyone, I think the Beall is the most recommended one and Lee Valley answered my question about where is it actually made and they said it's made in the USA I think I'll buy the one from LV.
 
I find the metric collet set far more intuitive than SAE sizes. I never have to question "is 13mm bigger or smaller than 14mm?" but sometimes it takes me a while to work out that 17/32" is smaller than 7/16" :)

That'll be a long work out. šŸ˜‰

I have the PSI version, a Beall, and a collet set. I bought each from the IAP market place. No complaints on either. I do seem to have the uncanny ability to round blank stock so it's a smidge too large or too small for collets on either side of the dimension. šŸ¤”
 
I have both the PSI and Beall (from Lee Valley). No complaints on either, BUT, as others noted above, I like the more streamlined Beall, the knurled ring on the PSI is rough on the knuckles. I also prefer the wrenches of the Beall over the pins for the PSI.

Call Lee Valley, I was able to purchase JUST THE 1x8TPI ER32 chuck with the wrenches for under $90 (back in February). I couldn't find it online, but when I called they were able to get it for me.
 
Which ever chuck you get, make sure it uses ER32 collets. There is a virtual alphabet soup of collet types / families. They are NOT interchangeable and some of them are EXPENSIVE! The ER32 are a standard and available everywhere! As Peter (Curly) said, get a full set of Metric collets. Collets can clamp over a 1/16" (about 1mm range) and a Metric set will be able to clamp any size below 3/4".
Lastly if you are not familiar with collets, there is a particular order of loading. Look in IAP Library for collet articles.
 
Not sure if this will help but I have two lathes - one with a 1" x 8 headstock thread and the second a 1 1/4 x 8 thread. I use both for various tasks, so I purchased a headstock adapter which allows me to move my collet chuck between each without having to worry about the thread size by simply using the adapter or not. I think Rick Harrell makes these and they are handy for lots more than just the collet chuck and a whole lot more useful than anything mounted with a morse taper. I bought the 1 1/4 female to 1" male adapter because I like the bulk of the build for safety.
 
I bought this set, probably on amazon. Mostly used to chuck up a ring mandrel pretty happy with it, obviously I have only used a few sizes. But whatever you get, plan on a draw bar. Without it, the chuck will want to come out of the morse taper. I just grabbed a long threaded rod. Also, I think some sets might not have a case. Get one with a case to keep everything together.
20240707_123454[1].jpg
 
I bought this set, probably on amazon. Mostly used to chuck up a ring mandrel pretty happy with it, obviously I have only used a few sizes. But whatever you get, plan on a draw bar. Without it, the chuck will want to come out of the morse taper. I just grabbed a long threaded rod. Also, I think some sets might not have a case. Get one with a case to keep everything together.View attachment 375455
Glad you mentioned the draw bar. MT tools in the headstock with no drawbar are an accident waiting to happen. The ones mentioned in this thread have been screw on collet chucks.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 
Another recommendation... No matter what you end up getting, also get a Dial Indicator (DI) and a Dial Indicator post from Rick Herrell (@rherrell) so that you can check the inside of the collet chuck for runout. Then when you get the collets, check them too. Do this by putting a drill bit, or a tap or mandrel or something in them.
 
I have the PSI set. It works just fine for me. I like the fact that its native threading matches the headstock on my lathe, so no adapters are needed.

Others have mentioned the imperial vs metric thing. Collets have a natural expansion range of about 1mm. A full metric set will generally seamlessly cover the entire range up to 20mm, while the usual full imperial set usually has gaps. The PSI/Craft supplies sets include collets in 1/8" increments - that's fine as long as you are only working on stuff in integral multiples of 1/8 inches. So the bottom line is that having a full metric set is more convenient. But you can get by with the limited selection of collets that come in the PSI/CSA imperial sets.
 
I prefer the bolt on type. With the Morse Taper style, you cannot feed the stock through the back of the head stock. You are limited to about 1-1/2" of depth.
Trivia: The collets are labeled backwards ie 6-5mm (1st is the nominal size; 2nd is the minimum clamped size).
The ER "family" range from ER-8 to ER-50. The collets from say ER-32 are NOT interchangeable with a collet or chuck from ER-50
 
I have both the PSI and Beall (from Lee Valley). No complaints on either, BUT, as others noted above, I like the more streamlined Beall, the knurled ring on the PSI is rough on the knuckles. I also prefer the wrenches of the Beall over the pins for the PSI.

Call Lee Valley, I was able to purchase JUST THE 1x8TPI ER32 chuck with the wrenches for under $90 (back in February). I couldn't find it online, but when I called they were able to get it for me.


Hello, thank you so much! I already wrote to them, and they said that they have placed a Special Order request for pricing and availability on these parts. Now I'm waiting.
 
I prefer the bolt on type. With the Morse Taper style, you cannot feed the stock through the back of the head stock. You are limited to about 1-1/2" of depth.
Trivia: The collets are labeled backwards ie 6-5mm (1st is the nominal size; 2nd is the minimum clamped size).
The ER "family" range from ER-8 to ER-50. The collets from say ER-32 are NOT interchangeable with a collet or chuck from ER-50


thanks so much The Beall Collet Chuck sold by Lee Valley is threaded 1-8 TPI. My only concern is when you want to sand and go in reverse; could it tend to loosen?
but could I use any ER32 or are specific for each brand?
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I have the PSI set. It works just fine for me. I like the fact that its native threading matches the headstock on my lathe, so no adapters are needed.

Others have mentioned the imperial vs metric thing. Collets have a natural expansion range of about 1mm. A full metric set will generally seamlessly cover the entire range up to 20mm, while the usual full imperial set usually has gaps. The PSI/Craft supplies sets include collets in 1/8" increments - that's fine as long as you are only working on stuff in integral multiples of 1/8 inches. So the bottom line is that having a full metric set is more convenient. But you can get by with the limited selection of collets that come in the PSI/CSA imperial sets.
Hello thanks so much,I feel more familiar with metric of course and If I buy the metric set and for instance I need specific imperial size (3/8) would it be better to by that specific size ?
 
Hello thanks so much,I feel more familiar with metric of course and If I buy the metric set and for instance I need specific imperial size (3/8) would it be better to by that specific size ?
The collets each have a little range. Since 3/8" is 9.525mm, i would use the 10mm collet which will tighten nicely on a 3/8" item.
 
thanks so much The Beall Collet Chuck sold by Lee Valley is threaded 1-8 TPI. My only concern is when you want to sand and go in reverse; could it tend to loosen?
but could I use any ER32 or are specific for each brand?
---

It can but highly unlikely. The ER spec is very comprehensive. Any ER-32 collet will fit in any ER-32 chuck. The spec even includes the nut and its threads, so any ER-32 collet chuck nut (say that fast 3 times!) will fit any other ER-32 chuck. The only reason you might have another nut is if you prefer a different was to tighten the nut.

Lastly, there is a specific "load order". Put the collet into the nut and snap it onto the ring inside the nut. Thread the nut and collet onto the chuck. Load the stock through the collet. Tighten the nut to grip the stock. The ER-32 is "self ejecting". The nut and ring will pull the collet from the chuck, releasing the collets grip on the stock. Loosen the nut and keep turning it until it gets tight again. The collet will release with a snap.
 
The collets each have a little range. Since 3/8" is 9.525mm, i would use the 10mm collet which will tighten nicely on a 3/8" item.
Agreed, but also you can buy individual collets in either metric or imperial sizes. If you are going to be needing 3/8" a lot, you can easily add one to your collet collection. After all, you can't have too many tools.
 
I bought an inexpensive ER32 set (fractional) a couple of years ago, and then bought two oversized collets, a 13/16 and a 7/8. I think I bought them from Little Machine Shop.com. Someday I will buy a metric set, but so far everything I have needed one for has worked in a fractional collet. Although most were relatively inexpensive they have served me well as long as I follow Rick Herrell's instructions, (Link to his Video Post on IAP Here). - Dave
 
Agreed, but also you can buy individual collets in either metric or imperial sizes. If you are going to be needing 3/8" a lot, you can easily add one to your collet collection. After all, you can't have too many tools.

Thank you. If I'm going to use one size a lot, it makes sense to have the exact size. However, if it's just once in a while, I could use the metric collets.
 
Little Machine Shop sell small metal lathes that have a flange the various chucks bolt to with three or four bolts. They don't normally get put on wood lathes so that's why I asked.

Thanks, I just checked them at Little Machine Shop. I think I'll be buying the same one you mentioned, the Beall, but after LV took it over. It's the most recommended chuck. Thank you again for helping me make a good decision.
 
Hope everyone is having a beautiful Sunday! I'm very thankful for all your comments. I've made my decision based on your recommendations and advices.

I asked Lee Valley for a special order of only the Beall chuck, and I have started buying four collets from Techniks. I read good reviews about them. I also considered Ring Supplies and Ridiculous Machine Tools but couldn't find reviews.

Now I'll wait until they arrive in my country.
greetings
 
Agreed, but also you can buy individual collets in either metric or imperial sizes. If you are going to be needing 3/8" a lot, you can easily add one to your collet collection. After all, you can't have too many tools.
Hello thanks so much, I started with 4 collets as I need more I'll be adding more to my tiny collection
greetings
 
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It can but highly unlikely. The ER spec is very comprehensive. Any ER-32 collet will fit in any ER-32 chuck. The spec even includes the nut and its threads, so any ER-32 collet chuck nut (say that fast 3 times!) will fit any other ER-32 chuck. The only reason you might have another nut is if you prefer a different was to tighten the nut.

Lastly, there is a specific "load order". Put the collet into the nut and snap it onto the ring inside the nut. Thread the nut and collet onto the chuck. Load the stock through the collet. Tighten the nut to grip the stock. The ER-32 is "self ejecting". The nut and ring will pull the collet from the chuck, releasing the collets grip on the stock. Loosen the nut and keep turning it until it gets tight again. The collet will release with a snap.
Hello, thanks so much, for all the information, I already bought 4 collets ER32 and I'll take all your recomendations when installing it them in the chuck.
Have a nice week
 
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