I've gotten my hands on one of the Albrecht keyless chucks. An expensive bugger that I laid out $100 for and that was on eBay, fer cryin' out loud! (It was pristine, I didn't want a worn out POS)
I'm not sure this chuck is worth it. Not that it's bad or seems poorly made, mind you, I just have a hard time imagining that it grips tight enough. I've spun a few drill bits already and am thinking of retiring it and going with a keyed model.
I'm looking for an all-round high quality chuck with good grip to use on a Bridgeport.
How 'bout them thar Jacobs Super Chucks? I'm familiar with 'em, but don't know if there are issues pertaining to the different sizes to think about. I'm leaning towards a 16N, which goes from 1/8" - 5/8". This ain't a small chuck, but not as big (and heavy) as the 18N, and nowhere near as big as that giant honker, the 20N.
Silver and Deming shanks are turned to 1/2", right? Soooo, the 16N would accept any normal drill or reamer up to 5/8" and all the drills in a S&D set. I can't see normally chucking up anything much larger than this. I've got a 3MT tailstock on the lathe and a 3MT toolholder for the mill, so if I ever need big, long drills I'll go with taper shanks. And I've got TG-100 collets for chucking endmills, so what I need from the milling machine chuck is to grip average size straight shank drills and reamers.
Anybody follow my reasoning h'yer? I guess what I'm trying to do is figure out a balancing point between sturdiness and weight. You could chuck up an 20N all the time and have it covered all the way up to 1". But that is a lot of weight to be swinging around out at the spindle end, I don't see this being good for the spindle bearings, etc. Seems to me maybe the 16N is a good choice. But how about the 18N? Is this maybe a better one, not being too heavy, but stouter yet?
I'm leaning toward getting the 16N for everyday work, and snagging a 20N eventually off eBay for the odd time or two when I'll need something really big. Seem like a good plan?
I have two 18N Jacobs chucks. Great chuck. The Albrecht is good too until you spin a drill in it. For anything 1/2" and larger, I have 3 flats on the drill. I don't like replacing chuck jaws.
J I have two of them, both only go to .500 They will slip also, but I like mine fine, even milled with them in a pinch when the cut was light. Now if I could just rember were I keep putting the keys life would be good.
Start with the 14N. It runs truer and takes less headroom than the larger ones. It also grips down at least to 1/16" and will run smoother at high speed. It will grip S&D shanks fine for holes well up over 1" depending on what you're drilling.
I have been told that once you spin a bit in that Albrecht you've reduced its jaws to par with a cheap import. Folklore I don't know but it sure doesn't help it.
Have also read that they work fine if used properly even with large bits, but personally I'd stick with bits under 1/4".
I've had the pleasure of trying out a variety of drill chucks. In the "good old days" of Boeing Surplus I scored four new-in-box Jacobs 14N's for $10 each and love them. One for the mill (NT40), one for the mill/drill (R8), one for the lathe (MT3) and one for a friend. They're terrific and handle almost all the drilling.
In the early ebay days I rounded that out with a #36 (3/4") and 20N (1") for the mill, and an 18N (3/4") for the lathe. The two 3/4"'ers get used occasionally but I have yet to use the 20N.
All my large bits have either a 3/4" round or larger flatted shank (Boeing toolroom "specials") intended for a 1" or 1-1/4" end mill holders.
Have also used a modern Taiwan keyless and older (70's?) Cushman keyless that were both very tight and worked fine.
When you are using Albrect or Rohm keyless drill chucks TIGHTEN them.
Many guys make the mistake of pussy footing around thinking that the chucks hold by magic, the don't.
The jaws don't come in at a straight radius, they are biased towared right hand rotation, they don't work at all in the reverse direction.
Put the drill shank in the chuck and then get a good grip and firmly set the chuck tight. If it feels mushy, you have either dirt in the chuck or a badly boogered drill shank.
These chucks should literally snap tight around the drill shank when turning the chuck body with a good hand grip.
The chuck jaws are hard, the drill shanks are soft. I have many times seen the Rohm chucks leave axial lines on a drill shank after pulling hard on a drill.
Rohm and Albrecht are considered precision chucks, I don't think drilling with over capacity drills is a good idea. That's what the Jacobs key type drill chuck is for.
Don't put hard shank tools in the keyless chucks, that is what ruins the jaws, not spinning a soft shank drill.
All my keyless chucks are in perfect working order and none of them are younger that 35 years old. Yes, they have seen extensive service, yes, they have been taken apart and cleaned quite often.
One last thing, all my keyless chucks are used on machine tools where the tool and the work piece are under control. I really wouldn't advise using one on a common drill press where drills have a tendency to jam a lot.
The largest drill bit I have ever used in a Bridgeport was a 5/8".
After that I go at it with a boring head.
I do like the "N" series, having a 16N in my Bridgeport. I have used but never owned a keyless chuck....I just could never get myself to spend the money for them. I think I had a bad experience with a corded (hand) electric drill along the way with a keyless chuck. Although I realize that the Albrecht et al are completely different animals I have never gotten past the mental block.
I use the 18N and 20N with MT shanks for lathe work. Something about the greater hp and more substantial spindle bearings on the lathe make me more comfortable with large drill bits.
I just got the smaller Jacobs 14N which only goes about 1/16" to 1/2" and the one I got I used the method of heating the chuck in the oven then whacking it onto the R8 adapter. I could not be happier. That thing is so nice to use it just feels expensive and it runs so smooth. I don't have much to compare it to, but I can't imaging there would be much better. It's like getting extra chips with your sandwich for free.
JimK: Thanks for the vote of confidence for the keyless chucks. I was getting bummed out. I have a Rohm Supra and have been very pleased with it so far but most of my work in the past has been small.
BTW, have you ever heard of a "Rapid" brand keyless chuck made in Sweden a while back? I received one recently with some tooling. The workmanship, finish and feel appear to be on a par with Albrecht if not even better (I know, blasphemy). I haven't been able to find any info on it but fortunately, its in excellent condition as is.
When I refer to keyless chucks I am usually talking about Rohm and Albrecht. The reason I mention these brands is that they work on the principle of the jaws being biased instead of truly radial. That is what makes these things work.
Cordless and other cheap drill motors have a different kind of keyless chuck, it can be run forward and reverse. Those are not precision chucks.
Close the chuck jaws and then look at how they meet at center.
If the Rapid chuck is biased like that, then it is a precision keyless type of chuck.
To me, there is no such thing as blasphemy when it comes to taking a critical look at any kind of tool.
I admire and trust certain manufacturere, I worship none.
The Albrecht chuck is made by the turn of the hand of man, there is nothing that says that the Rohm or the Rapid is not made by the turn of the hands of men that are just as skilled.
I have some Supreme "Precisionist" keyless drill chucks. They were made in Chicago, Ill. and they are as fancy as any of the chucks made in Northern Europe.
When they finish turn the outer bodies of keyless drill chucks, they are then black penetrate treated.
Rohm only grinds and polishes the chuck's nose, Albrecht grinds and polishes more of the chuck's body and Supreme grind the majority of it. Instead of knurling, the Supreme has axial ribs on the main bosy, they are left black.
True to form, a lot of men think that the shinier the chuck, the higher the quality. That fact was never lost to the Jacobs Company. New Jacobs chucks look great and machinists have trusted then since they came out.
I want to point out again that the precision chuck has it's field of application.
They are very good to have on a small mill, we used the 1/4 Rohms and Albrechts with the Deckel Mills and the Hardinge lathes.
My Hauser jig borer came with a Rohm chuck. I have a little 1/4 Rohm with the tooling for the South Bend 9 inch here, which gets used as an instrument maker's lathe.
All the heavier stuff here is equipped with Jacobs or Jacobs type keyed drill chucks. The big Van Norman came with a Huge one and of course there are six of them allocated to the hand screw machine's turret.
Except for teeny-tiny work, I always use the keyed type drill chuck when working a normal sized engine lathe.
A good 1/2 inch Jacobs chuck should be with the tooling of a Bridgeport, especially if you want to do power tapping. Don't drive taps with keyless chucks, tap shanks are hard.
It isn't a situation of either-or, it is a situation of having both and knowing when to use either to it's best advantage.
Thank you guys, I appreciate the coverage so far. Been learnin' a lot.
Kizale has the precision vs. keyed angle down pretty well, I wonder if he or someone else might pick up on another idea thrown out. The concept that a 14N will run 'truer' than the larger 16N. This is a thought I'd had floating in the back of my mind when I posted this thread, I'm so glad it was mentioned. Any takers on that? It seems likely, certainly lathe chucks lose runout accuracy with increasing size....
I can't substatiate the comment about precision of the 14N vs. larger.
The 14N grips all the way down to a #60, the 16N and larger grip only down to 1/8".
I've learned a lot from this thread--thanks guys. JimK--especially appreciate your frank and practical input!
I've got an 18N and a 20N. What a hoss that 20N is. Only used it a few times (on the lathes).
If you need a big chuck the 18N is nice--same min. size as the 16N (1/8) but 3/4" on the max. which is nice.
I think it's wise to give heed to the better concentricity of the smaller chucks if that's important to you (the 20N ain't all that hot in that area). And the minimum gripping size is another good point for the 14N (the 20N is 3/8!)
Sometimes I find a bad runout problem is entirely the fault of the arbor...boogered taper ...or even slightly bent!
Question for JimK--or whoever--I've got a German keyless chuck--would like to know the OEM. I think's it probably Rohm...just wondering if anyone knows for sure. It is branded "Rigid Supreme" , 0-3/8, model R6T2, and "Germany". Anybody know who made it?
And Jim--what do you mean by "the jaws being biased instead of truly radial" and "Close the chuck jaws and then look at how they meet at center" ...my jaws appear to meet exactly at center and are symetrical. Not sure what you're referring to. Maybe my chuck doesn't have this feature?
I've got about 8-10 of the 1/2" Ball Bearing Super Chucks, two 3/4" and one 1".
Love em! Do they still make OTHER chucks? I wonder why!!
Get a nice, clean precision chuck like the smaller Rohm chucks that close all the way. Close it all the way and then look at the jaw points. They seem to meet just a little to the right of each other rather than meeting at dead center.
That is what I call the jaw's bias.
Now open the chuck just a little and wiggle the jaw, see? they move a little.
When the jaws are set around a drill shank and the drill encounters resistance, the jaws try to roll a little due to the slack in them.
Because the jaws are biased in the right hand direction, the action is that the jaw fronts actually roll into further gnagaement with the drill shank.
That explains the marks on a soft shank when the drill pulls hard and the chuck grips tighter.
No radial jaws could develop the presure needed to hold a drill shank by hand tightening alone, we all found that out with the Sears and Roebuck cheapo drill motors.
As far as Rigid-Supreme, I think that the Supreme Chuck Company was bought out by the Ridge Tool Company. I think you may have the German version of the "Precsionist" chuck. I do know that the "Precisionist" was not made for long.
I must have some Priceless Antiques!
Watch for the Auction at Sotheby's!!!
Since we're on chucks, I'm wondering if anyone ever made a chuck integral to a 40 taper toolholder. The 40 holders have a decent sized cavity in them, almost enough volume to hold the guts of a drill chuck.
I don't mean the sort of integrated shank approach Albrecht has, where you can have the shank as part of the body casting and shrink the thing down a bit. That's in the right direction, though.
The point is that instead of having the entire chuck levering waaay out on an arbor, half of it would be up inside the spindle nose with the toolholder. Much less stick-out, if anyone can see what I'm talking about.
Ever seen such an animal?
JimK--thanks for the info.
Had to put a 10 power loupe on this chuck to really see where the jaws meet...then I discovered something must have slipped in the jaws at one time It's not bad (couldn't see it at 2-3X magnification) but there's enough damage that I couldn't discern the biased meeting point of the jaws.
At least I see what you mean about the float of the jaws when opened a little way.
I assume the jaws can't be easily restored... but would like to get it apart for cleaning at some point. How is this done? There's a knurled collar at the arbor end with a clamp screw. Loosened this screw but still couldn't move anything. What's the procedure? And what about lubrication? Thanks!!
Sure appreciate the depth of your knowledge base regarding our tools...and their manufacturers, history, etc.
[This message has been edited by Jim Harris (edited 06-07-2004).]
Here's an interesting link to Albrecht repair parts and methods.
It warns against lube on the thread between the hood and spindle. I wonder if cutting fluids, coolants, etc. can get into those areas and cause slippage of the grip. Food for thought. I'm not gonna be so free with the oil any more
auctioneer friend that buys stuff at other auctions and then has a sale at his warehouse once a month. I always stop in when in the neighborhood (or not) to snoop through his junk. Last month I saw a cardboard box full of Albrect chucks on R8 spindles. Now I'm pretty sure they go for just under $200 each. I asked him after the auction (couldn't attend) how much he got for them. He said "I think I got $150 for the whole box. I should have made my wife walk to the damn airport that day! I'm still miffed about it.