The MLCS Collet extender is what appears to be at first glance a solution in search of a problem. For the most part I think it is except that I have found one important application for it.
I bought this expressly for use in my Legacy Ornamental Mill. The mill needs long bits to operate effectively; without them, many profiles for turnings and such are either out of reach or one is required to extend the bit farther out of the normal collet than is recommended. This collet extender makes it possible to get the desired contact with the stock when using normal length bits.
|The Legacy is also
capable of putting quite a strain on both the router and bit. Adding anything to a machine
capable of spinning tooling at 22,000rpm + is not an undertaking to be done lightly. If
anything is wrong or goes wrong during operations it will most likely be catastrophic to
I measured the run-out with the collet extender installed in a router. From the baseline measurement it appears to increase run-out by about 3 or 4 thousandths. This is either due to the amplification of the existing run-out and / or the added run-out of the device itself. With those kind of numbers I was at least comfortable that it wouldn't fly apart immediately but the true test was in use under power.
I would much rather have either long bits or longer travel on the router than this add-on device. Unfortunately one cannot always buy the desired length bit and routers don't really have the amount of travel one would desire in use with the Legacy.
In use, the extension worked pretty good. I couldn't really tell there was any degradation in the cut quality when the extender was in use or not. I could tell just by the sound that there was some chattering going on in the stock I was milling but this can happen even without an extender or long bit.
I did not have any problems mounting or removing the extender from the router. When I needed to change the bit I did need to remove the extender first however. The reason being that this is not a self-ejecting collet and required some effort to remove the bit from it. As any Legacy user knows, one is required to have a fair amount of tools on hand just to operate the machine. The additional wrenches and soft hammer used to pop the bit loose just added to the number of those tools.
Due to the price of this accessory I was not expecting great things from it, I was pleasantly surprised though - it does do its job under the conditions I use it in. Speaking of that, I'll use this device ONLY in the Legacy and ONLY when I have to and ONLY at the LOWEST RPM setting and ONLY taking shallow cuts. Under no circumstances would I use this device stand-alone or in another tool / jig. Even with these heavy restrictions I do recommend it to any Legacy owner. Mainly because there is a real need to solve these issues on the Legacy. I also think it could disappear from the market at any time so don't wait if you think it would be of benefit.