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What is a Collet and How to Choose One?

A collet is essentially what holds the tool bit in place within the CNC Router and therefore is an integral part of machining. It clamps around the tool forming a collar shape, holding the bit in place. The collet can be adjusted both to tighten or release a tool and to change tools.

Rather than just tightening around a tool a collet forms a clamping pressure which minimises any chance of loosening or movement and keeps the tool centred.

Different types and sizes of collets

Different CNC Routing Machines need different sized collets. The easiest way to determine what type of collet your machine needs is to measure the length and diameter of the current collet. Take a look at our easy collet measuring guide here or get in touch to speak to one of our technical experts.

Different sized collets can also hold different sized tools so checking the clamping range is important before buying or starting to cut.

Obviously when the spindle is spinning at speeds up to 24,000rpm it is important to choose the correct collet for the job.

Choosing a collet – do I just need one?

Probably not, although this depends on what you want to a cut. This is because what you want to cut dictates what tools you will need and therefore what collet you need to hold those tools in place.

Each collet has a clamping range so it can hold different sized tools. This means if you are going to cut and engrave similar materials you may only need one however having a range of collets will allow you to achieve a greater product offering.

Ensuring you are using the right collet helps maintain your tools and increases their longevity.

Collet maintenance

The dust and fragments of materials being cut can end up everywhere, including on your collet. These fragments over time will decrease the life of your tools and cause inconsistencies in your work so cleaning the collet needs to be an essential part of any maintenance program.

Cleaning instructions

  • • Spray the cleaning fluid
  • • Use a brush to clean the surface thoroughly
  • • Rinse off using distilled alcohol
  • • Apply a small amount of lubricant to prevent rusting

A rule of thumb for the life of a collet is if you are cutting 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you should be changing them every 3-6 Months.

We would always advise that you read the instructions that come with your collet, both on fixing and on maintenance to increase the longevity of both your collet and tools and to create the best finish.

We would advise that you read the instructions that come with your collet, both on fixing and on maintenance as it’s important to regularly clean your collet.

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