Shiming collets in a table router???

Greetings
    I have a harbor freight router table, which "mostly works".
    However, the problem I'm having is getting 1/4 collets tight to hold the router bits. It seems to me that first I must tighten up the collar really tight ("till it snaps, then back off a quarter turn"), before I can get the router bit to stop sliding in or out.     This gets to be a problem when I'm having to set a height at the same time. So far I've been able to support the slot cutter bit to the height above the table with a bit of wood scrap, then proceed to tighten things up. But as I said, it seems that I've tightened the collet "to murder tight" and it "should" be holding, but I can still wiggle the router bit.
    So, is shimming the collet in some manner a "good" idea? Let me rephrase that, it seems "a good idea" , but is it a smart one? -- pyotr filipivich Just because they're invisible doesn't mean they are your friends.
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On Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:36:09 -0800, pyotr filipivich

Before you shim, clean. Get the inside of that collet spotless--a .25 caliber pistol cleaning kit is your best bet. Use the solvent in the kit and follow up with lacquer thinner.
I ran into a similar problem with a Porter Cable, and cleaning the Hell out of it fixed it.
If that doesn't work then I don't see any reason not to shim as long as you've got enough clearance to get a shim all the way around the bit so you don't decenter it.
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Yeah, I'm going go buy a pistol cleaning kit to clean my router collet. Give me a break.
Just get a can of solvent at Ace and use a toothbrush.
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 14:07:06 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

I thought it was a pretty good solution. OTOH, a gun-phobe would have a problem with the tools.
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snipped-for-privacy@notreal.com wrote:

Try explaining to any visitor at your house that the pistol cleaning kit in their site is only for cleaning your router! I would leave it out! %-)
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Your "full-auto" ARouter-15?
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in rec.woodworking the following:

    LOL.
    But a pistol cleaning kit, I've got!
    ("I've got the kit, might as well get the pistol.)
--
pyotr filipivich
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On Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 8:35:34 PM UTC-5, pyotr filipivich wrote:

You have "a harbor freight router table". Do you also have a Harbor Freight router? It might not matter, although a router is one of those tools on my "buy quality" list.
Anyway...
I've got no issue with J's suggestion to clean the collet, but "murder tight and the bit still wiggles" seems like more than just some dirt.
Is it all 1/4" bits or just the slot cutter that you mentioned? Maybe there's an issue with the bit itself. I bought an almost brand new PC router at a pawn shop. It came with a bit that had a collar around the shank. I had never seen that before. Turns out it was an 8mm shank and the collar was an adapter to get it to 1/2". Have you measured the shank? Is it a full 1/4"?
Can you swap the collet for a 1/2" and use 1/2" bits? Less vibration, which I think would be important for a slot cutter.
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pyotr filipivich wrote:

After you apply something, say duct tape to the router bit see if you are able to pull it out, even with a pair of pliers. I think that if the bit is not "secure" then the configuration is not safe. I would keep checking the bit as you work. As soon as you detect it's loose, then it's time to buy a new router.

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I would want to use something less resilient than duct tape for the purpose. A shim cut from a soda can often works well in situations requring a thin shim. If that is too heavy, aluminum foil would be the next step down, then a chewing gum wrapper if they are still wrapped in foil (I haven't opened a package of gum in several decades).
If it wasn't Harbor Freight I might disagree with you on the "new router" but it being them the likelihood of obtaining a new collet is vanishingly small so that might be the best option.
It occurs to me though that it might be worthwhile inspecting the collet under a good light and a magnifier to see if there is an easily correctable manufacturing defect (for example a burr in one of the slots) that keeps it from compressing properly.

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-0500 typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    Thanks for the suggestions. Will take a shot at cleaning it, checking for burs.     Having the slot cutter pull out of the collet was not happy making. (Having the whole thing loosen and "fall down" also was not pleasant. Had to take the set screw apart to get it back up in place.)
    I am marking this down to "nothing is more expensive than cheap tools." It has worked for other activities. Verb sap: if you're not going to wear the apron, drape it over the "down range" end of the bench. Makes cleaning up easier.     So will getting a hair drier to blow sawdust out of things. Yeee-haw.
--
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On Wed, 28 Nov 2018 20:44:32 -0800, pyotr filipivich

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On Wed, 28 Nov 2018 20:44:32 -0800, pyotr filipivich

With me it was a half-inch upcut spiral bit that rose up out of the piece I was working on. Learned not to let my fingers get anywhere near where the bit might decide to wander off to.

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On Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:36:09 -0800, pyotr filipivich

I found this in a different forum ..
https://www.routerforums.com/general-routing/82202-replacement-collet-harbor-freight-router-2.html
" I had a different HF plunge router. It was the one that is part of the router table combo. The collet from my Bosch 1617 fit perfectly. I have no idea if that would help you or not. "
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snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca on Thu, 29 Nov 2018 05:39:40 -0500 typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    Thanks. I'd be inclined to get / make a new table.
    Let me see what Ye Olde Pawne Shoppe has.
tschus pyotr
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 06:44:21 -0800, pyotr filipivich

Sorry if I mis-read your post - I thought that you had a problem with your 1/4 bits slipping .. ? in the router collet. Perhaps the slippage spinning has worn the collet material to the point that the tightening isn't effective ? ie replace the collet ? yes / no ? John T.
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snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca on Thu, 29 Nov 2018 16:12:45 -0500 typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    It is bran new, still hasn't got much in the way of signs of wear on it.
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On 11/28/2018 8:36 PM, pyotr filipivich wrote:

Clean the collet of any dust and oils. I use acetone and a pipe cleaner bent into a swab.
Don't let the bit bottom out in the collet. Insert fully and then pull it back a bit before tightening.
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On Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 5:35:34 PM UTC-8, pyotr filipivich wrote:

I'm not sure about your model, but my HF router had some grip issues, and it was the taper into which the collet seats, that was the problem. Running the router slowly (20VAC instead of 110) with a slip stone to smooth the bore, followed by a little cleaning, got the thing to grip much better. You can apply a small quantity of grease on the threads of the closer, and on the exterior of a collet, too.
Metal polish and some working of the closer nut to polish the threads also made a difference.
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typed in rec.woodworking the following:

    "Oh boy." But, thanks for the tips.
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