How To Change CNC Router Bits (Step-by-step)

In order to take full advantage of the i2R CNC’s capabilities, you’re going to have to use more than 1 bit per project, so knowing how to change cnc router bits is important. Possibly daunting at first, we’re here to show how easy a process it is, and what pitfalls to avoid when changing your cnc router bits.

1. Remove The Collet Nut From The Spindle

The first thing you have to do is get your collet off the machine. To do this, take 2 wrenches, fit one to the collet nut, the other to the spindle just above.

Safety Tip:

A way to avoid possible hand injuries while loosening the collet is to wear gloves. Beyond that, you want to have the wrench that is attached to the collet nut in your right hand, and the wrench for the spindle in your left. This way when you are loosening the nut you are pulling the wrenches towards you, not pushing them away from you.
This difference keeps you more balanced, and eliminates the possibility of your knuckles getting cut by scraping against the spindle plate (as mine have).

2. Remove The Bit From The Collet

Now that the nut, collet, and bit are off the spindle, you’ll have to get the bit out of the collet. Do not pull the bit through the collet. The blades of the bit should not come in contact with the collet. If you pull the bit from the tail through the collet, the bit will get stuck and the blades will dull. You want to pull the bit from the blades outward (so wear gloves when touching the bit).

3. If Your Shank Diameter is Different From Your Previous Bit Follow This Step.

This part can be a bit finicky, but once you get the feel for it, it’s no problem. Once the bit is removed, push down on the tail of the collet towards the edge of the nut. You should hear a “click” from the collet detaching from the nut.

This is the part that can be a bit finicky. Sometimes, even when you hear the click, the collet doesn’t come out. The best work around for this is to get something to press on the head of the collet to help it pop out. The tail end of a .25″ bit works well.

Now, insert the head of your new collet into the back of the nut until you hear another click. This lets you know your collet is locked in.

4. Insert a New Bit

This is the easy part. With the collet secured in the nut, simply insert the tail of the bit into the head of the collet. You should insert just up to the beginning of the blades. Do not push the bit into the collet past the blades, this will chip, dull, or ruin the blades on your bit.

5. Reattach The Collet Nut

Hold the collet nut under the threaded spindle. Support the tip of the bit to prevent it from sliding out of the collet. Hand turn the spindle until it catches the thread of the nut, then continue until it is hand tight. Grab your wrenches again and make sure the collet nut is tightly secured.

And now you’re ready to continue your cut.

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