So I’ve been doing some cutting with my SO3XL (Dewalt D26200) with the included 1/4" end mill, along with some addition 1/8" bits I ordered along with it from RoboSavvy. This has been great fun, and I’m learning loads with each (terrible!) thing I cut. I’m also now seeing the limitations of not having a proper round or V bit.
I’ve been searching online to order some more options, like having a 1/4" ball nose, a V bit, etc… But I’m having an (unsurprisingly) hard time finding 1/4" end mills in the EU. Loads of 6mm options though…
So in googling things, I guess it’s not a good idea to use 6mm bits in 1/4" (6.35mm) collets, so that’s a no go. I haven’t done a detailed search, but I guess it’s possible to swap out the collet on the Dewalt with a 6mm one, so that would alleviate that problem, but I’m wondering about the mid-term here.
I guess in the long run, I’ll just have/use metric end mills and all will be dandy, but at the moment everything I have is 1/4" or 1/8".
Is it a matter of swapping out collets/tools as part of the process, or what do EU/UK-based SO3 owners do?
I initially bought the EU Makita, and quickly realized I needed both 1/4" and 6mm collets, so I got a 1/4" Makita collet (my Makita came with a 6mm collet). Apparently you can get 6mm collets for the Dewalt routers indeed.
I later bought precision collets from Elaire (they have Dewalt collets) and while it cost me a kidney (to have them shipped here) I never regretted it.
There’s no easy way around the mix of 1/4" and 6mm endmills, as a European hobbyist I guarantee you will end up owning both metric and imperial endmills, so you should have the collets for both. Luckily, for smaller endmills 1/8" shank is pretty common/standard even in the EU.
FWIW I’m pretty much entirely to metric for my Nomad. Unless you import US endmills, nearly everything you buy will be metric anyway.
One (maybe extreme) option is to swap out the spindle with one that has an ER collet holder. Most of the milling spindles will come with them. ER collets usually have a specified range of operation, often 0.5mm, which means that a 3.5mm collet will work with 3mm endmills as well as 1/8" endmills and a 6.5mm collet will work with 6mm as well as 1/4" endmills.
I ran the AMB Kress 1050 FME spindle until I got a full VFD spindle and the HDZ. That has a range of germanic metric collets available as well as the common 6.35 and 3.125mm Imperial collets. The main problem with that was the 43mm spindle holder that is necessary to mount it.
No, a 1/4" Endmill shouldn’t fit in a 6mm collet — but the DeWalt collets are similar to ER-style collets, so may have a wider clamping range.
The Elaire Corp. collets I’ve sourced for my Makita/Carbide Compact Router have been excellent quality, and I can’t imagine their collets for the DeWalt would be any different. They also do specifically offer different 6mm and 1/4" collets per: http://elairecorp.com/dewaltroutercollets.html (you may need to scroll down to see the DWP collets which also fit the D26200).
I live in the US but bought from elaire.com 6 and 8MM collets as well as 1/8 and 1/4 collets. The Dewalt 611 came with a 1/4 inch collet. So if your relatives can buy them, the 6 and 8MM collets and send them to you it would save you money. I understand the shipping and possible duty are more than the collets.
Go to this page for what is available: https://elairecorp.com/dewaltroutercollets.html Be sure you looking at the Dewalt Palm Style collets and not the larger ones the palm router collets are at the middle of the page. Buying the 6&8 MM as a bundle are cheaper than separately. It is an international world and having both metric and SAE are useful.
Phew! That was a close call as I had made a note to order from the top of the list there.
Last question on these. I have a 1/4" collet now, that came with the router. In looking at the list here, it shows that the 1/4" collet has a “Dewalt Part Number”. Would that correspond to the collet I presently have? Or, more precisely, is it worth also getting a 1/4" collet from here, as an upgrade from my default one.
When I got my collets from elaire.com I have a Dremel Diamond point engraving tool. You hold it like a big pencil. I engraved each collet so as to not mix them up later. The 1/4 inch and 6MM look the same but are not the same and are NOT interchangeable.
I made the mistake of ordering a set of V-bits that had 6mm shafts and discovered that the 1/4" DeWalt collet on my old CNC machine would not tighten down enough the clamp them. Fortunately the difference was enough that it was obvious not to try to run it that way.
I ordered the 6mm and 1/8" collets from Elaire and they worked great. I’m now using a Carbide Compact Router, which uses Makita-style collets. But the DeWalt-style collets are nicer because the nut and collet stay together so there’s less fumbling around when you change cutter sizes.