A collet is a special type of chuck designed to hold either material machined or a tool machining it. And to do so in a very special way: by providing a firm and rigid, yet very precise grip. Collets are mighty things and there is only one rule about them; you can never have enough of them! Indeed, each and every machine in our workshop has its set of collets; and some - like in the case of our Citizen lathe - come for both material and tool holding, in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. All custom made too.
The latest addition to our workshop is our lovely 30 pcs tool-holding set from Schaublin made for Kern. These lovely collets are designed for fast, automatic clamping on a spindle. And since the spindle speed goes up to 50,000 RPM, you can imagine how extremely well-balanced they have to be to retain positional error under one micron at that speed!
At last count, we had over 150 different collets in stock. By the time we make our first in-house watch mechanism, we are going to have close to 1,000. The good news is that a precision collet can last forever, assuming proper care is taken. Josh is our collet guy and he is allowed to buy them without even asking me for approval. Actually if he doesn't buy any more before Christmas I would be seriously upset.
Machining is cool! Did i mention that we are looking for a watchmaker’s apprentice? No? Well, we have to talk about that soon.