Every hobby machinist needs to work efficiently. They take pride in the work they do. They don’t want to rush and do a bad job. But they do want the job finished. A tool that keeps you organized and helps work efficiently earns bench space. The R8 tool holder and collet tray deserve a spot.

Keep Tools and Collets Protected

Perform tool setup using an R8 tool holder tray to keep them in the right order and keep them safe. the best tray stores a wide range of collet sizes for all  tools. Then, when it’s tool change time, everything you need is close to you. Instead of spending time searching for your collet and searching for your tool you spend time machining.  It’s  what you love and what brings you to the shop! An R8 tray or a 5C collet tray made of heavy-duty material protects and stores expensive tooling and tool holding. That’s double duty and a good thing in the hobbyist shop.

Keep Tools and Collets Clean

Ever hear the saying “cleanliness is next to Godliness”? Mom told you that to make you wash your hands and face. Well, it applies to the home shop too. We all know, machining can be a dirty business. Between chips and fluid you can easily make a mess. If you don’t have a vacuum system, small particles fly through the air with the greatest of ease. They are a mess. And they make your collets messy too. Once coated in chips and swarf, collets are useless. Dirty collets are difficult to clean. Skip the mess and store collets in an R8 tray with a cover. Look for a clear cover, so you can see what’s at hand. Once again, don’t waste time hunting for collets and tools. Keep them organized in storage that keeps them clean. Use a covered tray.

Sequence with Your R8 Tray

Start by putting the tools  for the job in their collets. Then, just put  the collets in the R8 tray in sequence you will use them and speed up the tool changing process.

This way, when it’s time to make a change, your tools are already sequenced. Taking a few minutes at the start of the job will save more time once you begin work. Those collets are lined up like soldiers, just waiting to go to war. Between a sequenced 5C or R8 tray and your collet wrench, you’ll change tools fast. That’s less time setting up and more time machining. That’s why you’re in the shop, right?

CNC tool trays, arbors, fly cutters R8 tool holder

R8 Tool Holders, Collet Trays, Collet Wrenches and More

No matter what you need to keep organized and keep machining, The Tool Company has you covered. From R8 tool holders and 5C collet trays to collet wrenches, fly cutters, saw arbors and more. the Tool Company sells products made in the USA. Every product we sell is produced by American machinists for American machinists.

Don’t settle for cheap imitations in your shop. Buy your CNC supplies at The Tool Company.

Well the first quarter of 2018 is in the books. How are those New Year resolutions going? Did you resolve to get organized, but it didn’t happen? It’s not too late. There’s still plenty of time to get your R8 collets together and get them straight. Just go ahead and get them in an R8 collet tray.

courtesy Exact Tooling

R8 Collets

Bridgeport developed the R8 taper for their milling machines.  A drawbar extends through the spindle to the top of the machine. This keeps things tight and prevents loosening. You insert tools with an R8 taper  directly into the machine’s spindle. The collets (tool holders) go directly into the spindle. Tighten the  drawbar into the top of the collet. You’re set.  The R8 system uses collets  18″ to  34″  diameter.

You know this; it’s not new. But, there is a new way to keep those R8 collets organized and protected.  Use collet trays.

Protecting Your Collets

Collets you use regularly stay in good shape and rust-free.  Collets that aren’t used as often get rusty.  As a preventative, control humidity to control rust. It’s the best rust preventative. Therefore, use fans to circulate the air in the shop. Fans reduce humidity and keep moisture down.  Run shop fans constantly and keep moving air. In addition to affecting temperature,  heating and air conditioning affect affects humidity as well.  Avoid wild temperature swings too. Because metal sweats in drastic temperature changes.  So, if the shop closes for a long week-end for Memorial Day or the week of 4th of July, keep the fans on and the AC running.  Otherwise, when you re-open the shop and turn the AC on, the metal will sweat.

A light coating of oil protects collets that aren’t used regularly. Avoid using heavy-duty oil. It’s too much work to clean it off.  Breakthrough CLP  protects more than just gun metal. Just saying!

Store collets in a collet tray.  The Tool Company’s R8 collet tray is made of high-impact plastic. It doesn’t rust and won’t rust your expensive tooling.

R8 Collet Trays Love Your Collets

So, use collet trays or racks and protect your collets while keeping them organized.  The 52 holes in the R8-52 tray has enough room for one full set of collets and room for emergency extras as well.  Steel stamped collet trays can damage expensive tooling; high-impact plastic does not.

Store your collets in a tray that is American-built and American-strong.  Store your collets in a Tool Company  R8 collet tray.

Buy your collet tray today from The Tool Company.  Don’t trust your collets to cheap, foreign made trays from inferior materials. Get a Tool Company tray and get an American made product, backed by a five-year warranty.  Your collets deserve the best.

Yes, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.  That means that Christmas is just around the corner.  If you want to pick out the perfect gift for the machinist in your life we’ve got you covered. A machinist is easy to buy for if you focus on making their job easier. Collet wrenches make tool changes a snap. If machining is a hobby, then we’ve got ideas for making the hobby more pleasurable. It’s much easier to work in an organized shop, and collet trays keep the shop organized.  Here’s just a few ideas to get the juices flowing.  Some of the best gifts can be found on-line. That makes shopping even easier!

Machinist Wear

Ok, everyone loves a soft comfy tee shirt.  Well this comfy shirt may be soft cotton, but the message is sharp.

machinist-tee-shirtYou can’t go wrong with the message on this one:

never-wrongBoth are available on Etsy in a variety of sizes.

Collet Wrenches for Quick Changes

It doesn’t matter if your metal-grinding, fly-cutting honey runs R8 or 5C, this collet wrench from The Tool Company will make them a quick change artist in no time at all. For the uninitiated, collet wrenches are used to remove collets from the nosepiece of the CNC lathe.

collet wrenches are great gifts

Your machinist might have a collet wrench in the shop, but you know its not as good as this one. This wrench is a shop favorite because it is easy to grip and the bright orange color makes it easy to find.  At under $20 it makes a great stocking stuffer too.  Order this one today and The Tool Company will get it out right away.

Drill Doctor Makes a Sharp Gift

Dull drill bits make for hard sluggish work. Imagine a snail slogging through peanut butter.  Working with a dull bit is something like that. Your machinist knows a sharp drill bit makes any job easier. Then take a look at this drill bit sharpener by The Drill Doctor

drill-doctorThey make several models. All are great for sharpening carbide, cobalt, high-speed steel, black oxide, twist and masonry bits.  The adjustable material take-off allows the machinist to change the amount of material moved during sharpening.  This makes the bits last longer and keeps your machinist happy.

Collet Trays Bring Order to Chaos

Here’s another great collet-related gift idea.  You’ve made sure they have a great collet wrench to make changes quick and easy.  You’ve made sure the wrench was easy to find (thank you bright orange color) now keep them from asking, “where’s the *%&# collet.”  Not a problem when you get them organized with an awesome collet tray.

er-collet-trayThis collet tray holds up to 40 ER collets.  That’s enough for a full set plus extras for emergencies.  What makes this tray awesome is how it is made.  It’s made from high impact plastic so it won’t damage like steel stamped trays.r8

If you’re shopping for an R8 kind of machinist then you need a different kind of collet tray.  It looks like this:

Like the ER collet tray, it is not made of steel, so it won’t damage your expensive collets.  It holds a full set with room for extras.  The tapered seat hold the collets securely like the big hug you’ll get when you give this tray as a gift.

Hope these gift ideas are inspiring.  Did we miss anything new?  Comment below and let us know.




Like Big Mac to McDonald’s; the R8 collet is to Bridgeport.  Bridgeport set the standard for milling machines and was one of the industry leaders when it came to equipment for CNC milling.  Their invention of the R8 collet represented a true revolution in milling. It also caused the need for R8 tool holders to hold those R8 collets.

R8 Tools Allowed Rapid Tool Changing

R8 collets made for a giant leap forward in machining.  They allowed rapid tool changing and actually paved the way for automated tool changing.  Little did they know!

With R8 collets, the collet fits into the taper itself.  This requires an exact match between the collet and the tool shank. In the R8 design, the collet is compressed by a drawbar from behind.  R8 collets have no separate chuck. They are self-releasing.  These two characteristics led to the transformation of tool changing and gave birth to automated tool changes.

Also, because the tool is firmly in the taper, you get more rigidity from the end mill.  This results in more efficient work on a reliable basis and that is better.  More than better, it is the R8 tool advantage.

bridgeport mills use r8 colletsR8 Tools for Quick Change

Faster than the transformation of Clark Kent into Superman, R8 collets are the quick change artists of the CNC shop.  Just as important as the machine and the software running it, the R8 collets facilitate rapid tool-changing. Rapid tool changing is another way to increase productivity in the shop.  Just do any simple Google search of the term R8 collets and you’ll find pages with headlines like

The search will also show you that R8 collets aren’t cheap.  As any CNC’er knows the tooling can be as expensive as the mill itself.  Tooling is an investment that you must  protect.  But those R8 collets are at risk every time they are transported to and from storage.  If they aren’t stored in a tool crib, they are at risk during storage as well.   That’s where special R8 tool holders come in handy.

r8 tool holders to protect collets

R8 Tool Holders Provide Protection

R8 tool holders are special trays designed to safely store and transport your R8 collets.  There are some pretty cheap, foreign made R8 tool holders on the market; but The Tool Company only sells quality R8 tool holders.  We think that the best quality and best performance can be found in the Sierra American R8 tool holder.  Here’s why.

Strong.  The Sierra American Multi-Systems R8 tool holder is engineered from a sturdy impact-resistant material. The result is a light-weight storage tray that doesn’t sacrifice strength or stability.

Full Storage.  The R8 tool holder can accommodate up to 52 collets, including oversized tooling and boring heads.  That’s means you don’t need to keep up with two trays.  One tray has enough room for a full set of collets plus emergency back-up supplies.

Quality.  Don’t trust your expensive tooling to cheap tool holders made in China with inferior materials.  Every product sold by The Tool Company is proudly made in the USA by American craftsman.  Support craftsman just like you and order your R8 tool holders today.


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