Collets, Cutters, Companies

Is there an alternate and compatible collet system that functions differently than using two wrenches?
Also, what is a a better collet than the Carbide 1/4 and 1/8 provided with the Bit Zero?
Is it necessary to buy bits and collets from the same mfgrs.?

Shapeoko Pro XXL
Carbide Create/Motion
Carbide Spindle
Several Carbide 3D cutters and several from IDC Woodcraft


I am not aware of any collet system that does not require 2 wrenches. You have to stop the router or spindle from turning somehow.

You can get more size options from Elair but the precision collets from Carbide 3D are pretty good.

You do not need to buy endmills from the same company you buy your collets from. As long as you are putting the right size tool in the right size collet, you are good to go.


As noted, Elaire Corp. makes collets which are compatible w/ the Carbide Compact Router/Makita RT0701/0700.

For a different collet system you would need to get a different tool completely.

One option is a router which uses a different system such as our ER-11 Carbide Compact Router:

or you could do a complete spindle upgrade:

There are other options — I do so many test cuts that some days it felt as if I was spending more time wrenching than the machine was cutting, so I went for a spindle w/ a quick change mechanism, the Mafell FM 1000 WS (which is available re-badged under a different name, and similar units are available from AMB/Kress):

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Thanks for the great suggestions. I’d like to get more experience before spending too much more on upgrades for a machine I’ve only had for 4 months. I just wish the Carbide 3D collets would allow me to change 1/4" shanks w/o completely unscrewing the nut, removing the collet with pliers, and then reversing process to put in new bit.

Thanks again.

If you have to use pliers every time, then there is something wrong. I have found that applying downward force by holding the bit in one hand, and tapping the shank of the bit using the 13mm wrench, will free up things most of the time.

If that doesn’t work, you may be over-tightening the collet nut, or perhaps there is a physical aberration that is causing the problem. Check for rust spots, deformities or debris, and make sure the collet and receiver are NOT lubricated or oily - they should be bone dry.


Do you have the collet inserted into the nut properly so that the collet is captive and removed by the nut?

I have the collet installed properly. I use the nut to loosen and change bits. I try to push the new bit up into the collet.
It won’t go. I remove the nut and it does not pull out the collet. I cannot pull out the collet w/o using pointy nose pliers. It takes extra time that should not be required when changing bits mid-job.

Thanks Michael. However, I do not have any data that specifically reads out when using two wrenches to tighten this thing up. How tight is too tight? There is no calibration displayed to stop…sorta’ like a torque wrench would be. I’ve tried so many tightening techniques and frankly, until someone can give me a calibrated measure to go along with tightening, there is no sense in saying it is too tight. Now, too loose, that’s easy.

My technique is:

  • do not insert endmill past the upper end of the collet — leave it flush there
  • use the button to tighten by hand so that things stay in place
  • put two wrenches on the shaft and nut at approx. 60 degrees from each other (close enough to grasp both w/ a single hand, distance enough for a reasonable bit of thread engagement)
  • squeeze firmly

When removing, loosen until the nut catches, some folks suggest a gentle tap on the nut w/ the large wrench at this point — don’t remove the endmill, but instead remove the entire assembly — the tool should come out of the collet.

Clean everything and put things away, if need be, installing a probing pin in the collet before putting it back on the router (never tighten the collet/nut w/o a tool in it).

If you still have difficulties, let us know at and we’ll do our best to work it out w/ you.

The Makita/C3D collets have a W shape cut into them. As you tighten up your collet nut the collet and bit are being forced up an inclined plane. The W is collapsed around the bit gripping your bit tighter and tighter. As you loosen the collet nut the only thing that loosens the collet is gravity and the spring action of the collet. If the bit is having trouble ejecting then loosen the collet nut and TAP the collet nut and not the threads a few times and the collet will slide down.

The Makita/C3D collet is not captured by the collet nut for extraction. The Dewalt and Porter Cable style collets the collet is captured by the collet nut. So as you loosen the Dewalt/PC style the collet is dragged back down the inclined plane. So you mechanically get the collet to release and thus the bit. The Dewalt collet is loosened and it will spin freely but then as the slack is taken up the collet becomes hard to loosen without the wrench. In this phase the collet is being dragged down mechanically where the Makita/C3d Collet is not captured by the collet nut and the tapping trick loosens up the collet to the bit can be released.

As far as tightening up that is subjective. The wrenches are offset and by having each wrench turned in the opposite direction you can get them close together so the final tightening is done with one hand. Using one hand helps ensure you do not over tighten the nut. Each person has different hand strength and again the tightness is subjective. If you are 6’9" 300+ pound body builder you have a little more hand strength than a 5’ 100 pound person. However the mechanical design of the collet nut is such that the fine threads and amount of thread engagement it would be very hard to over tighten the collet to the point of stripping the threads

The best advise about tightening is tighten enough so your bit does not slip. If you are having a hard time loosening the collet nut you are likely over tightening.

On my Dewalt I use a 4" long wrench to tighten my collet along with the locking button. I have never had a bit slip. On the C3D routers the stop button is suggested to only be used to initially tighten up the bit so it does not fall out and then use the two wrenches to tighten. The cheap sheet metal wrenches can be frustrating to use so maybe buy some quality thin wrenches to have a better feel for your hand.

I do not know of any torque specification for the collet and even if they had one finding an affordable torque wrench and then using it would be hard and likely not used. So do not tighten up gorilla tight but only monkey tight. I know that is subjective but do not tighten up as tight as you can get it. A good final squeeze is all that is needed not all you have and then more.



Wow! Great information and so well said. Thanks. I have a better sense of this now. I’ll let you know how your suggestions work out for me.

Very appreciative!

A machinist friend gave me some bits for my new XXL. Trouble is, they call for a 3/16 collet. I have the Carbide Compact Router with 1/8 & 1/4, but where can I get a 3/16 collet?
He did pass along a few 1/8 & 1/4 bits, too.

Elaire Corp. makes 3/16" collets for the Makita RT0700/0701 which also fit the Carbide Compact router:

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Your suggestions as well as Wil Adams’ have helped with my issue with the collets. Thank you!

Not that it matters in this situation, but my old Tree 2UV Knee Mill used an automatic collet closer that didn’t use wrenches…

What I should have said was that I was not aware of any collet and nut system that does not require 2 wrenches in the desktop class. I did forget about the Mafell quick change system that @WillAdams mentioned. I use a couple tool holding systems at work that don’t use wrenches.

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