Complete CNC Solution advises that collets are changed as part of the routine maintenance for your computerised router. This will ensure that you achieve optimal results and get the best life from your cutters.

This page will help you if you’re concerned about the quality of the output you can achieve from your computerised CNC router - whatever its make, or if you’re researching ways in which you can improve the quality you get. This page will help you if you’re experiencing unsatisfactory life from your router tooling, no matter what material you are working with.

What is a collet?
A “collet” is a small device similar in some ways to the chuck on an electric drill. It’s the part of your router that physically holds the cutting tool in your router’s spindle motor shaft or ATC Tool Holder. Collets come in many shapes and sizes depended upon the design of the router spindle motor or tool holder your system uses but they all fundamentally do the same job.

How does a collet work?
A collet works by closing a hole in its centre so compressing itself around the cutting tool’s shank that you’ve inserted into it. It accomplishes this action when it’s tighten into the end of the spindle or auto-tool-change tool-holder. The collet is designed so that it applies pressure sufficient to hold the tool firmly in position.

How can a worn or poor collet lower output quality?
Collets are subject to significant strains when in use and they do wear. They are considered to be components that will need replacing in time although they do last much longer than router tooling or cutters.

When collets wear, a number things may happen:

1: Wear to the external part of the collet may result in reduced holding force on the cutting tool.
If this happens, it may result in cutter slippage. If you’ve seen apparent changes in cutting depth when you’re using your router, it’s very likely that this is caused by collet wear. You’ve perhaps not tightened it properly or, if you have, the collet is worn and you can’t achieve sufficient force. In some circumstances, the cutter will pull out of the collet sufficiently to cut into the bed of the router where it will usually snap off resulting in lost work and machine damage.

2: Wear in the collet will throw the cutting tool off-centre and this will reduce cutter life and dramatically lower cut quality.
If the collet is of poor quality to start with or if it wears unevenly, it’s inevitable that the cutter when loaded will not be centred properly with the spindle and that it will have exceeded acceptable tolerances. This will result in unexplained marks on your work, dramatically reduced life from your cutters, potentially accelerated wear to the bearings in your router motor and rough vibration causing wear to other components.

3: Long term fatigue can badly affect the operation of your router.
Router collets should be replaced at regular intervals and as little as every 3 months for heavy users - contact Complete CNC Solutions for guidance - Collets do a simple job but, done poorly, it has a dramatic and negative effect on everything your produce on your Computerised CNC Routing System. Changed regularly, good collets will save you time and money.

What do I need to do to ensure my system is working optimally and my collets are in good shape?
Complete CNC Solutions offers several types of service products to Tekcel router users. Ask us about our - Smart Service - programme. This programme includes a full examination and collets are part of that routine. We welcome calls not only from Tekcel owners but a any other router system brand too, where we can guide you through the steps you need to take. We can also supply you with - Top Quality Collets - whose use will dramatically improve your output’s quality if you’ve been using poor ones.