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Using Router Collet Adapters

I'm shopping for a new router, and I have a question about collets. I've heard from a couple of sources that collet adapters are dangerous, and that I shouldn't consider any router that doesn't come with both 1/2" and 1/4" collets. Wouldn't you know, the router I like is the Makita 3612C, but it doesn't have a 1/4" collet. Does Makita make one, or is there any other way around using an adapter?

What you've heard about collet adapters is not entirely true. Misused, adapters can indeed be unreliable — but as you know, you can make anything dangerous if you try hard enough. The key to making adapters safe and reliable is proper installation. You must install an adapter exactly as you would a bit: make sure it's fully inserted within the collet, but be absolutely certain that it's not bottomed out in the router spindle. If your spindle has a shallow bore, bottom the adapter out and pull it back about 1/8", just as you would a bit. Then make sure you install the bit exactly the same way, bottoming it out and pulling it back just a tad. Both adapter and bit must be able to move deeper into the collet as the nut is tightened. Of course, bottoming out isn't an issue in Makita's 3612C anyway, thanks to its deep-bored spindle; the only likely source of adapter malfunction has been eliminated. We've used adapters in Makita and many other routers for over 20 years with no trouble at all, and we're confident that collet adapters can be used safely and successfully once you know what you're doing. And now you know.

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