Tweaking 5C collet fixtures

Awl --
Apropos of my Material spinning in 5C collets post, I found part of the
problem -- an indirect part, but a problem in its own right, as well.
Collet fixtures, that you clamp in a vise or bolt on a table, close the
collet differently than a snap handle closer in a lathe.
In a lathe, the collet itself is drawn in/pushed out of nose, via the
handle/draw tube, closing/opening it.
In a collet fixture, the collet is theoretically stationary (via the
adjusting nut on the bottom), and a collar slides up/down, via a short
handle, compressing the collet.
The only problem is, depending on how much play there is in the adjusting
nut/retaining ring ditty, the collet may move up and down WITH the
handle/collar quite a goodly amount, and can make releasing the part a real
Thus, one can hesitate to crank down on the handle with adequate force,
allowing the material to spin.
The goal, then, is to remove this play.
I just happened to have a bunch of spring steel .010 spacers, with a perfect
clearance ID for the 5C collet, so I only had to trim the OD with snips.
If you have regular shim stock, making the ID could be a pita, altho if you
punch a starting hole, a hand "nibbler" can make this short accurate work as
well -- Klein tools, your ACE hardware guy can order it out of their
catalog -- not a normal display item. Proly $15-20.
Being spring steel, I proly wouldn't nibble more .015" thickness, tho.
It's a great hand tool to have around, for things like this, putting in
spouts in gutters, etc. Not used often, but Da Bomb when you need it.
Inyway, I wound up using about 6 of these spacers, and bleeve me, that .060"
made all the difference in the world. It's like a whole different collet
fixture, much more usable.
You will find that the nut feels tighter (won't have that nice free spin),
as there is now more friction. But just bear in mind that it's not a thread
Still, even with this, I see a good .030 worth of translation in the collet
itself, but at least it doesn't bind the material like it used to -- or at
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Proctologically Violated©®
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You should have just bought a 5C air collet holder, I have 2 I use all the time. Bought them 25 years ago.
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