Anything in the world that spins has a little problem. This problem has many names, but in machining we call it runout. No mechanical system spins perfectly. Runout is the amount of inaccuracy in spinning mechanical systems. Runout is caused when the turning tool or shaft isn’t in complete alignment with the main axis. While it may be a common problem that doesn’t mean it is a small problem. Frankly, it is a huge problem. Thank goodness it is easily solved with a collet wrench.

TIR Measures Runout

When the drill chuck can’t hold the bit dead center, it turns on a secondary axis as it rotates. This is secondary axis is runout. Total indicator runout (TIR) measures concentricity to determine runout. Runout refers to the spin in a specific location. To measure runout, press a dial indicator  against the rotating part as it turns. A dial indicator amplifies all variations. Through amplification, these variations become large enough to see with the unaided eye. The dial indicator takes any deviation from concentricity and makes it large enough to detect and measure. That’s crucial for accuracy because you can’t adjust what you can’t measure. Measure what you can’t see is hard. But, if you can see and measure deviations, you can adjust for them.

How to Correct Runout on a Drill Press

Before you make yourself crazy, start with the basics. Sometimes all  you need to do to correct runout on a drill press is simply clean it. Just fully open the jaws and use compressed air to blow them out. Just a single speck of debris in the jaws can cause runout.  After cleaning, verify that the drill rod is true. Check the runout on the spindle and check the bearings on the spindle. Either causes runout.

Ranger RL 8500 Brake Lathe

How to Correct Runout on a Brake Lathe

Correcting runout on a brake lathe means taking care of the arbor. You must periodically inspect the arbor and spindle for rust or metal chip buildup. Use fine steel wool and a little WD40 to clean the arbor. Stay away from sandpaper and wire brushes. Removing metal only makse the runout worse. Check the spindle bearings. When the lathe is properly set up and the arbor is good, this is most likely the runout source.

use a collet wrench to tighten collets

Use a Collet Wrench to Protect Your Collets

Preventing runout is easier than correcting it.  Collets that are too lose or too tight produce runout. Runout will also damage the collet over time.

Use a collet wrench to tighten all three jaws evenly. Just slip the  prongs into the collet top. Turn the wrench to thread the collet using the right amount of torque.

So stop runout and get a collet wrench from The Tool Company

5c collet wrench

Get a Collet Wrench

The Tool Company collet wrench has a concave face. Enjoy perfect alignment the first time every time.  The heft of the tapered handle is comfortable. The bright orange handle stands out. It’s easy to find this wrench.

Buy your collect wrench at The Tool Company and stop runout before it starts.


We write an incredible amount about CNC. In the past, we’ve covered tooling, CNC techniques and even how to build a tool cart using CNC tool trays. But, we’ve never just taken a look at CNC’ing in general. So, now is the time!

What Does CNC Mean?

We use the acronym all the time. But, what does it mean? CNC equals Computer Numeric Control. That means that the cutting, carving, routing, or milling machine is controlled by a computer. Software is in charge. It isn’t the same thing as robotics. CNC machines run saw blades, router bits, drill bits and face mills.

Geometry of Machining

CNC machines operate using an X axis and a Y axis. Remember that the X axis runs across on a horizontal line.  The Y axis is vertical. Looking at the bed of a CNC machine is like looking at the  graph paper from high school Algebra. The X axis is horizontal and the Y axis is vertical. But CNC machining lets you machine in 3 dimensions. A CNC machine understands the Z axis. The Z axis defines the movement of the cutter up and down.

Software makes the difference

Computers Changed Machining Forever

Computer control changed machining forever. For the better! Before computer control, if you wanted to drill numerous holes, the machinist manually operated the drill press up and down and fed the work stock. Of course, first they had to handle the tooling and set-up.

Computers took on the tedious job of moving the drill press up and down. Great! Computers don’t get bored. Now programs direct the machine movements. The same program feeds the stock too.

But, the biggest change was computer assisted drawing (CAD). Now, you use software to design an object, then the software converts the design into a set of instructions the machine uses to create the piece. Man uses software to control the machinery instead of his hands.

cnc tool trays5c collet wrench

CNC Tool Trays, Arbors and Collet Wrenches

The Tool Company understands all types of machining. It doesn’t matter if you need a multi-stop for your manual mill,  a collet wrench, CNC tools or CNC tool trays to keep them safe. The Tool Company has what you need when you need it. Like you, we believe in American manufacturing. Everything we sell is made in the USA.

You deserve American made quality from the company that knows CNC. You deserve tools and tool trays from The Tool Company. Like our name says, tools are all we do.

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