Odd issue with the Makita router collet

I have been having a strange issue for over a year now and decided to post here and see if anyone else has has the same issue and might be able to provide a solution.

I use 1/4" shank bits, pretty much, exclusively with my Shapeoko 3XXL. When inserting a bit into the collet, I literally have to keep a finger on the bit while I finagle the two wrenches to get it tight enough for it to no fall out. It’s like I really need three hands. I am unable to get it hand tight enough otherwise.

Now here’s the odd thing, when I need to remove the bit, I loosen the collet and, you would expect the bit to just drop out. However, this is not the case. The bit is in there still fairly tight where I have to clip a pair of vice grips onto the bit and tap it out.

Has anyone else experienced this with a Makita router? I have never had this issue with a DeWalt router.

The Makita collets aren’t as springy as the DeWalt design, esp. the stock collet.

Depending on various things some endmills will fit and be held, while others will require holding while tightening (usually just hand-tightening with the button suffices) and yes, once the collet is compressed around an endmill and things have warmed it up can be held quite securely.

The precision collets, either ours: https://shop.carbide3d.com/collections/accessories/products/precision-collets or the ones from Elaire: http://www.elairecorp.com/makitaroutercollets.html seem to function a bit better than the stock collet.

Like Will says, it depends a lot on the manufacturing quality of the parts, it also depends on condition though.

I had a similar problem with my AMB Kress spindle which has ‘german’ quality collets, i.e. nothing wrong with the design but there may be manufacturing variability depending on where they were outsourced to.

The way the collets work is that they are conical, drawn down the cone of the spindle so that their radius compresses whilst also making contact over a large surface area. This creates substantial friction in the conic section between the collet and the spindle as well as in the cylindrical section between the collet and the bit. The locknut is not really holding the bit or the collet when operating, it’s main job is to initially compress the collet, friction does most of the work afterwards.

When you insert the bit there is no compression of the collet in the cone and the collet springiness is pushing it open. After tightenting and use, when you release the locknut friction is holding the collet down the cone of the spindle and this needs to be overcome to release the grip on the bit. That’s why a tap on the side of the spindle frequently releases them.

If the surfaces are not clean and smooth this friction can be large, obstructing both initial tightening and release. I had to polish up the surfaces of the collets and the internal bore of my spindle with a fine scotchbrite pad to remove some marring and a little corrosion which seemed to have occurred in storage or transit. Once clean and smooth they behaved a lot better.


The dewalt collets have the collet attached to the nut. So as you loosen the nut you are dragging the collet down the inclined plane inside the router shaft. As the incline gets bigger the spring in the dewalt collet expands and the bit comes loose.

In the Makita/Carbide3d collet the collet is not attached to the nut. However as the collet nut is loosened the collet can slide down giving it the space to expand and eject the bit. Since the Makita collet does not as much spring expansion the collet stays in place.

Have you tried tapping on the collet nut. This might help the spring action slide down and loosen. Are you loosening the collet up enough initially to give the collet enough room to move down and expand.

I suggest tapping on the collet nut (not beating). See if that works in conjunction with loosening the nut more or removing it all together then tapping with plastic screw driver handle. Eventually vice grip pliers are going to scar your bits.

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I have a Makita, and sometime the bits stick a little. The original wrench has a small hole in one end of the handle. I usually slip this onto the bit near the collet nut, and just wiggle a small amount. This usually allows the bit to drop.

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hello @MJRWoodcraft , it’s been about three years since i have a shapeoko with a makkita router. i have the original 8mm and 6mm router collars. i bought the 3d carbide, 3.17mm and 6.3mm ones. I have cutters in mm and others in inches … I have the same problem as you.
I tap on the router nut or on the endmill tail (gently), and the endmill is released.
(I put a foam under the machine, if I drop the endmill).
It’s a small inconvenience, but hey, it’s done.
Maybe one day, I’ll fall for another router…:wink:
but for the moment, it’s enough for me.

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