What Is a Drill Chuck + a clear Drill Chuck Types list - Thumbnail

What Is a Drill Chuck + a clear Drill Chuck Types list


What Is a Drill Chuck

Drill presses are common workshop tools that allow for precise drilling. (You can find more about drill press uses in my article, What Is A Drill Press Used For? (7 Steps To Better Results).
This tool is made up of several parts, of which I will focus on one in particular in this article: the drill chuck. But what is a drill chuck, and how does it work?

A drill chuck is the rotating part of a (column) drilling tool that holds other rotating tools like drills, hole drills, spades, and so on. Chucks are built to firmly hold the bit and not let go, even at high speeds. Chucks can be keyed or keyless.

If you read the complete article, you will get introduced to the different parts of a drill chuck and their correct name. You will also discover which types are available so that you can determine the best drill chuck for your drill press. Later in this article, I will reveal how to install that drill chuck quickly.

Parts of a Drill Chuck

To understand the drill bit there are 4 parts you need to know: the sleeve, the gear teeth, the body, and the jaws. You can find all of these in the photo below.

Briefly explained, the sleeve is the upper part of the drill chuck around which the gear teeth are attached. The sleeve can rotate around the body. To do this, there are one or more holes in the body where a key fits that simultaneously intervenes on the gear teeth. By turning left or right with the key, you can let the jaws engage or release the drill tool.

What Is a Drill Chuck - Parts Of a Drill Chuck
What Is a Drill Chuck – Parts Of a Drill Chuck

What Are the Different Drill Chuck Types

Now the question, “what is a drill chuck” has been answered, and you also know what all parts of the drill chuck are called, it’s time to take a look at what different drill chuck types there are. There are three major groups, which I briefly discuss below.

Most chucks have 3 jaws and are self-centering. This means that the three jaws move in and out evenly to grip a round bit and keep it straight. However, some drill bits have up to six jaws, depending on how thick the surfaces the drill has to pierce. The more jaws a chuck has, the stronger it is. It takes four jaws in a chuck that can hold a square bit.

Jacops Taper (JT)

A Jakobs drill chuck is the best-known drill chuck. This is often supplied as standard with the drill press (JT33) and is also better known as the drill chuck with a wrench.

A keyed chuck requires a removable key to open and close it. The wrench is a T-shaped tool that is placed next to the chuck. When the chuck key is turned, it moves a gear that rotates the collar around the jaws to open or close them.

The advantage is that thanks to this wrench, you can tighten the drill extra firmly. The disadvantages are that the teeth on the key of the gear teeth on the drill chuck can wear out, making it more difficult to open the jaws over time. Another disadvantage is that you always put the key somewhere and lose time looking for it or even disappear completely.

What Is a Drill Chuck - Jabobs Drill Chuck + Key
What Is a Drill Chuck – Jabobs Drill Chuck + Key

Keyless drill chuck (Albrecht)

A keyless chuck works on a similar principle, but instead of a key, the user turns the chuck with a sleeve on the end of the drill to open and close the jaws. With this type, there is no key to lose or wear out, which is why many people prefer keyless chucks. It also works faster because the chuck can be closed by hand.

What Is a Drill Chuck - Keyless Drill Chuck
What Is a Drill Chuck – Keyless Drill Chuck

Mini Drill Chucks & Pin Chucks

When drilling small holes (0 – 2.5 mm / 0 – 0.1″) , special chucks and accessories are sometimes required.
The sensitive drill feed arbor has a spring-loaded extension that allows you to hand feed delicate small twist drills with a smaller chuck.

What Is a Drill Chuck - Mini Drill Chuck
What Is a Drill Chuck – Mini Drill Chuck

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Drill Check Vs Collet Chuck

Do not confuse chucks with collet chucks, they look different and serve different purposes. You need a drill chuck for the drill press because it has a number of advantages over collet chucks.

For example, the drill head has a much wider range of twist drill shank diameters. This makes them more versatile
The gripping forces of drill chucks are concentrated at three points and can be much higher than with collet chucks, which means that a twist drill, for example, is held much more firmly.

How Is a Drill Chuck Attached to a Drill Press

The drill chuck is mounted on a tapered arbor that is mounted in the drill press. The inside of the drill chuck is narrowed at the bottom so that it fits perfectly over the tapered arbor. It stays in place because of friction. You can tap it lightly to hold it in place, but avoid heavy blows on the chuck, which would only cause damage.

Sometimes it is possible that the drill head falls off when working. This can have various causes. That’s why I recommend reading my article, Why Does My Drill Press Chuck Keep Falling Out? Quick Fix, read where I go deeper into this drill press issue.


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I hope this article answered your question, what is a drill chuck and you got a clear overview of the different drill chuck types now.

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