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Hello,

I have finally retired and want to get back to some woodworking. i have a Sears Craftsman 800 router model 315.17432 in which the bits drift out of the collet. I have tried blowing out the collet with air and also ensured that I have tightened the collet securely. Does anyone have any ideas?
 

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welcome to the forums N/A...
At this link there is a bit of useful information for you...
please take a gander...

now about that collet..

.
 

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I think that might be the same as one I have where the end of the armature is slotted and the nut on the end of the armature shaft squeezes it tight against the router bit shank. If that is the same as your router (i.e. just a nut on the end and no separate removable collet) then you are unfortunately screwed. The only way I know of to fix that is to replace the armature which would be both cost prohibitive and most likely not available anyway. Mine is sitting on a shelf waiting to see if I come up with an idea for something where I can just use it as a high speed motor. Maybe someone else knows a fix and we'll both get lucky.
 

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Collets are high precision items, less than a mm off and they're useless. They eventually wear out on all brands and need replacement. Unfortunately it is a Craftsman item and those parts are really hard to come by. Try https://www.ereplacementparts.com/craftsman-parts-c-158286.html.

If it were me and found the right parts, I'd order several because Craftsman is now part of Stanley, and not many parts will be around for long. Stanley has become something of a scavenger, eating up once proud brand names to exploit

In which case, I'd seriously consider buying a Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit with router, fixed and plunge base, plus a half and quarter inch collet. Bosch is serious about their tools' quality and parts availability. You can also use the fixed base to mount the router under a table and you can get an inexpensive key to make fine height adjustments while It's under the table. Routing on the table is almost always safer than freehand. The plunge base is what you'd use for freehand routing.

There are all kinds of accessories for the 1617.

Making a router table can be a very simple project, and you can read about it by searching for shop made router tables.

Read the stuff Stick sent, lots of good information. Since you're getting back into woodworking, you might also enjoy reading the attached article on the 17 things that accelerated my learning curve. Including some heads up on some costly mistakes I made that may save you the trouble and expense.

The pictures show the 1617, first the contents of the EVSPK kit, the second as it fits under a table. Last is the pdf for download.
 

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That's unfortunate Marti. The replaceable collets wear out and need to be replaced occasionally so making the end of the armature a collet was a bad idea that only saved Sears a couple of dollars in design costs.

Something you might try that I just thought of is wrapping the threads with plumbing joint tape or something possibly better is the metal foil tape that HVAC uses to seal duct joints. That might force the slots closed a little tighter if there is room for them to close tighter. If there isn't room for them to close you can get more room by filing the gaps wider. Harbor Freight sells a small file set for $5 or less with a dozen different shaped files in a pouch that might get in there to do that. I have a set and they are pretty handy for sharpening things like auger drill bits or spade bits too so it's a tool you can can get some use out of.
 

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One thing you might try is dropping a half inch grommet (not an Oring) into the bottom of the collet. This makes spacing easier than dropping it in and lifting it off. It also facilitates use of multiple bit sets that have matched shank lengths. Freud makes sets like this, as well as Sommerfeld. I suspect there are others makers with this same matched sets by now. You let the matched bits drop in and (don't push them down) they bottom on the compressable grommet. Works a treat, as they say down under.
 

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Marti, make sure you aren't putting the bit in to the very bottom. Keep the bit maybe an 1/8 of an inch from bottom. A bottomed out bit can make some collets not tighten fully.
Yep, my old Craftsman routers (made by Ryobi) did just that, until started bottoming them out and then raising them about 1/8". I've got several of those old routers, and don't remove the bit until it needs replacing. Different router, different bit. Replacement parts? Don' need no steenkin' replacement parts, got replacement routers.
 
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