noscriptLathe Chucks | 3 Jaw & 4 Jaw Lathe Chucks | Cromwell Tools

Lathe Chucks

Featuring well-known brands like Indexa, the Cromwell range of lathe chuck lathes present high quality industrial tooling, so you're bound to find the right tool for your application.

What is a lathe chuck?

A chuck is used as a clamping device to grip tooling, think power drills. Attaching to machines they are mounted on a spindle which rotates within the headstock to turn the tool. The use adjustable jaws to clamp onto the tool which can be adjusted by a chuck key. A lathe chuck operates in much the same way only it is used to grip workpieces in turning applications, i.e., the workpiece rotates, not the tooling.

The chuck itself is comprised of several components. The outer casing of the chuck is known as the body and holds all the other components inside, except for the jaws, which are external and are used to clamp work in place. Internally, there is a scroll plate mounted next to the rear cover and a pinion which is used to tighten the jaws of the chuck.

Types of lathe chucks

Self-centring - These types of lathe chucks are also known as scroll chucks or universal chucks and feature as may as six jaws to hold pieces in place, although typically you can find variants with as little as two to three jaws. The jaws are interconnected by a scroll to hold onto the piece and work dependently of each other. These types of chucks are used to grip cylindrical and hexagonal (depending in the jaw configuration) objects and because of their jaw configuration enables the work to be centred with a good amount of accuracy. They are commonly mounted on lathes and indexing heads.

Independent - Independent chucks do not contain a scroll, instead the clamping jaws move independently of each other using a rolling screw. They are used to handle oddly shaped work pieces. They have the advantage of providing more control and precision but because of this the trade off is they require a longer setup time to make sure all the machining parameters are accurate.

Combination - Combination chucks offer the best of both worlds to the operator as the jaws can be adjusted via a scroll or independently for greater control. They are used for the repeated centring of oddly shaped workpieces and as such offer a speedier process than independent chucks but still require a longer setup time than self-centring types.

Considerations when choosing a lathe chuck

As you read earlier there are different types of lathe chucks with their own unique benefits, however deciding which one is right for your application can be a bit of a challenge. To help here are a few considerations to take note of.

Workpiece shape - Do you consistently work with large or awkwardly shaped workpieces? If so a self-centring chuck might not be the type of chuck you need due to the lack of control over precision. An independent chuck might be a better option in this case, however if the number of pieces being worked on is quite large, consider a combination chuck as the set-up time overall is less.
If working with regular workpieces consistently, then a self-centring chuck might be the best option as they are easy to set up and offer speedy and accurate results.


Are lathe chuck jaws interchangeable?

There are a couple of types of lathe chuck jaws available. Hard lathe chuck jaws are manufactured from case hardened steel and are designed to clamp using a serrated edge for secure holding. There are also soft (machinable) jaws available, which can be cut to size in order to hold custom or uneven work pieces, they are usually made of softer metals like aluminium and mild steel.

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