Why it’s important to change your Router Collets

Why is it so important to change your collets?  Router Collets should be changed about 2-3 times a year.  Remembering to change your collets is a fairly inexpensive way to greatly increase the tool life on your machines.  Here is why…

Maintaining proper tool balance greatly affects the spindle life on the machine.  The cost to replace a spindle cartridge is about $20,000.00.  Even slightly unbalanced tools can shorten the spindle life by 75%.

Do you ever find a brown coating that looks like rust buildup on your tool holder?  That brown coating is not rust, but actually fretting which is caused by small imperfections in the fit of the taper or a tool being out of balance which causes vibration and leaves the brown buildup.  You can clean the fretting (the brown buildup) with a solvent. 

A good way to avoid tools being out of balance is to balance the tool and tool holder as a unit.  Changing tool holders and collets regularly will contribute to keeping proper tool balance as well. 

Router Collets are made from spring steel.  They do wear out and cause all kinds of holding issues and runout.  This contributes to tools being out of balance and can affect the spindle life on your machine.  Changing collets regularly is an easy way to increase tool life and avoid poor finish and tool breakage. 

It’s recommended that collets be changed 2-3 times per year or every 600 hours.  Depending on the type of cuts you do, it may be better to change them more often.  For panel processing, changing them every 600-800 hours should be sufficient.  For heavier machining, you should probably change them every 400-500 hours.

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