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I have a Craftsman 320.17541 with a 1/2" collet. At some point my son tighten the nut without a bit in the collet and now I can't get a bit to fit...is there I way to open it up just a hair...(that's all I need) without damaging the collet?
 

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Maybe a large diameter punch with a taper on it might be able to stretch it open a little to get the bit to fit again.
 

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Hi

It's not worth the chance it may have a microscopic crack in it and it will fall just by pushing it back to the right size just buy a new one they are cheap to replace..:)

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I have a Craftsman 320.17541 with a 1/2" collet. At some point my son tighten the nut without a bit in the collet and now I can't get a bit to fit...is there I way to open it up just a hair...(that's all I need) without damaging the collet?
 

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Hi

It's not worth the chance it may have a microscopic crack in it and it will fall just by pushing it back to the right size just buy a new one they are cheap to replace..:)

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Replacing it is the obvious safest choice, but if it were me, I'd fix it first. If it doesn't crack (and I don't think it will), it should be fine. A 1/2" diameter rod with a chamfer, or a 1/2" diameter tapered punch should work. An old 1/2" drill bit would work too. Don't use anything bigger than 1/2" in diameter.

Also, the retaining nut holds the collet in. Even if one of the tangs is cracked, it should not cause a problem during use since the nut retains it and jams it against the bit.

I think there's very little danger of breaking a tang since it doesn't move very far when compressed without a bit (and then bent back) and, if it is cracked, it will eventually fall apart, preventing a bit from being inserted.

You should pay special attention to it to make sure the bit is going in properly but once it's in, if everything looks fine, I think it shouldn't be a problem.
 
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