Review of The Beall Tool Company Collet Chuck

The Beall Tool Company sent me one of their Collet Chucks to review. The collet chuck is about 3" long and 1.5" diameter, made of steel. The version they sent me has a 3/4"-16tpi thread, make sure you specify it is for the Taig as they also make a Sherline 3/4"-16 thread which has no register section. The collet chuck is also available in 1" 8tpi, 1-1/4" 8tpi and 1-1/2" 8tpi versions as well for other lathes. The collet chuck utilizes ER32 collets and comes with a 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4" collet. ER32 collets can hold stock up to 1/32" smaller than the stated capacity, unlike other types of collets which can only hold stock exactly the size of the collet bore. ER32 collets are a standard system and collets of other sizes can be easily procured from most industrial suppliers or from The Beall Tool Company.

Once mounted to the Taig lathe the collet chuck was checked for runout and for each collet was found to be about .0005" or less. Because of the length of the body you can fit rods up to 2.5" inside the collet holder, thus keeping the part from having overhang when working on longer pieces. In use the collet holder grips quite strongly, and provides more clearance around the part than if you were using a standard Taig chuck. The extra length of the collet chuck does eat up bed space , but most work on the collet chuck will be short in nature anyway. Beall sells the collet system primarily for turning wood, but test cuts on various materials showed it to be just as good for metals from steel to aluminum. As a workholding system for the Taig lathe it performs excellently and allows chucking difficult pieces that would be hard to hold with any other method. If you routinely work on rod stock or dowels this chuck may be the answer to your frustrations with the limitations of the smaller Taig collet set, as well as allowing a way of chucking metric diameters of material. UPDATE: Other users have reported more runout that I found, enough to make the collet chuck not effective for precision metalworking. I'm not sure why this is the case, but I thought I would mention it. UPDATE #2: One user who reported runout received a replacement chuck from Beall that had very little runout and was very happy with the good customer service.

The ER collet system is primarily used in industry for gripping endmills in a milling machine so I tried the system out on the Taig milling machine as well. While the length and mass do not make it ideal as an all-around chucking system on the Taig milling machine, it can be the answer to specific tooling problems. Often we need to hold special tooling that is unavailable in smaller shank sizes, such as dovetail cutters and corner rounding endmills, and the Beall collet chuck is a good solution to that problem. I used the chuck to hold a 1/2" shank corner rounding endmill, as well as using a 5/8" shank 1" diameter endmill as a facing cutter. It also is a good way of holding metric shank tools.

All in all the Beall Collet Chuck is an excellently made piece of tooling, versatile, accurate and will increase the ability of your Taig to do certain jobs that are nigh impossible with standard tooling. The Collet Chuck is available from The Beall Tool Company and costs $159.00 in the version I show in this review.

The Beall Tool Company Collet Chuck. Collet chuck, closer nut, 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and 3/4" collets. Included spanner wrench not shown.
The collet chuck mounted on the Taig lathe
Taking a cut in some 1/2" aluminum on the Taig lathe.

The collet chuck mounted on the Taig milling machine.

I wouldn't use the collet chuck for routine milling due to the its mass, length and inability to slow the mill down enough to use larger cutters, but it can be used to advantage when special cutters with large shanks are needed.

Using the collet chuck to hold a 1/2" shank corner rounding endmill.

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