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Putting holes in things... A proper drill press


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So something so very basic that we all do time and again is somethign which many people still none the less have problems with... putting holes in things. Modern drill presses are not made with metalwork in mind, and tend to run far too fast, even on their slowest settings, for drilling through metal. I've struggled far too often with burning out drill bits, having them bend and give me oblong holes, etc... my solution... go back to an erra when drilling holes in metal was the primary reason to have a drill press.

 

I just picked myself up this 20 inch Prentice Brothers camelback drill press, with auto-feed and sliding head. It's well over 100 years old... but it's more or less complete, and everything is tight and smooth moving. I'm going to have to fully disassemble clean, paint and reassemble it, and I will need to make a new bracket for the bottom cone pulley and get some belts, and a #3 morse taper chuck. This drill press should be able to punch one inch holes straight through steel plate without much issue =) Slow and steady is the way to drill metal, and with the various stops, hand crank advances of the head, and the like, I should now never have to worry about drilling a hole again once I'm done restoring this.

 

Ok some pictures!

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Here is the feed crank with inner knob.
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From the side you can see the engagement of the rear gear and the auto feed drive gear
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The inner rod is threaded and has a stop which sits against the outer rod which can spin independently. The rear gear can spin freely (albeit stiffly right now because of old grease)
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Here's the top of the feed mechanism. The cup around the worm gear is cracked, as I mentioned above, so I'll have to repair that .
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The whole thing stands about 7 feet tall or there about. The handle for the drill on the left is pointing right at the camera so you cant really see it.
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One other part is missing, which is some linkage between this foot pedal at the bottom which would push / pull the drive belt from the idler pulley to the drive pulley, for use with old lineshafts. This is a part that, should I desire, I should be able to forge from a piece of barstock easy enough.
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I found one last missing part... a washer and bolt to go over the end of the table height crank. This is trivial to fix. All the original oiler cups for the top of the machine and for the bottom cone were still with the machine, they're sitting on the rest. The rest has a lot of drill dimples, but is fairly well intact with no through holes.
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Here's the #1 concern, the rear bracket for the cone is broken in multiple places. It had obviously broken once, been fixed improperly with patch plates drilled and tapped through it, and then broken again. The sidearm is also broken off which would have the pass through for the foot pedal bar to push / pull the belt from the idler pulley.

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Here's the nice dealer plate
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Yeah, it's amazing how something so simple as drilling holes accurately gets overlooked in bladesmithing. This one should allow me to crank the speed waaayy down low and even drill through hardened metals etc without worrying about burning up the bits (assuming I use the right type of bit)

Cool score. Can't wait to see the finished project.

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got to love the old tools... My partner just scored hie great-grandfather's father's (yes, I said that correctly) Champion forge company post drill. All we are missing from it are the feed dog and a modern chuck (this 150 year old piece of history didn't come with one). Beautiful piece of equipment, Justin.

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It turns out that mechanically this drill is in pretty fantastic shape. I spent yesterday with it dismantled and a giant bucket of warm soapy water, some 0000 steel wool, and a bottle of WD-40. After cleaning all the contact surfaces and oil passages, I reassembled the drill press, and ... wow. Everything is SO smooth and free moving, that I dont htink it NEEDS any real restoration, just to make a mount for the bottom cone, get some belts, and throw a motor on it. (I have a 1hp 1700 rpm motor here, which is probably too small, but which I will use for now, really it looks like this probably should have at least 1.5 horse and probably 2)

Here are a few quick videos. First showing just how smooth the movement is with the vertical movement of the head with the crank wheel, and how the auto-disengage depth stop works (both with and without the auto feed) I can just give the wheel a spin and up or down the head moves and keeps moving smoothly.

I can only embed one video per post so I'll just link to the other two.



Next are two real short videos of the auto feed and the main shaft.

The auto feed, as I said, is missing some sort of clutch mechanism which is engaged by turning the inner wheel of the feed wheel. The gear on the back spins freely currently with nothing to press it against the rest of the feed mechanism.




Lastly here's just my spinning the top cone a few times, nice and smooth and all free, no slop.



So really, all I need now is some paint, a bottom cone mount, some belts and a motor =)
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Well well well... lookie what I found in the box of broken bits from the bottom cone mount. The mystery of the Prentice Drill auto-feed clutch has been solved. (mostly)

It still looks like there might be a screw or something missing on the inside... but this is the clutch mechanism! There's a threaded hole in the outer advance shaft that I wonder if it had a small square head bolt on it to slide on the key shaft in the middle of the clutch doohickey. There's a square head screw that looks like it should fit too, but the thread is mangled on it, so I cant screw it in.

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Here's the inside, and the key slot, which I think should be for a sliding index to keep the clutch moving with the outer rod (attached to the big crank)
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Here's the threaded hole that looks like it should have a prong to slide along that keyway.
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A perfect fit!
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he whole drill looks more complete now without that random threaded rod sticking out of it =)
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WOW awesome Score love the car in photo too .

 

Sam

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I put my dial indicator on this drill, and the head runs out less than 1/1000 across the whole length of the quill. This thing is, after 120ish years, more accurate than many milling machines.

 

Justin,

 

I am soooo jealous. I bought a floor model drill press from Grizzly Tools. It is turning out to be worse than the $20, Harbor Freight, benchtop press, that I gave away.

 

~Bruce~

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So I got the rest of the pieces I needed to get this drill press running from McMaster Carr and wanted to do so this evening. I've run into one problem though which I'm not sure the best way to solve.

I've started fabricating a new bottom cone mount to match the exact position of the original. Everything seems to have been going well.

The baseplate mounts to the same holes that the original did, and the rear babbit bearing is positioned such that the cone is in an identical spot as it was with the original mount, and really as far back as it can go close to the upright.

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Now with the next picture you can see the concern. That nut hanging from a string was a center-line.. on the 2nd diameter from the left. but it only matches up with the edge of the 2nd diameter on the bottom. I dont see any adjustments that can be made to the cone location to fix this either.

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So I guess the question is, do I just mount the bottom cone back far enough that the center-line I dropped lands in the center of the smallest cone, and go with only 3 positions instead of 4? or is there some adjustment that I'm missing with the top cone, which looks as far back as it'll go to me as well. I dont think that I can get a full inch of travel between the top and bottom cones to center that drop line on the 2nd most pulley, moving the rear cone in to the upright and the top cone back.

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Disaster averted. My little 3/16" shims at the front of the machine to level it had worked their way out, the machine wasnt level. When I re-leveled it, while not being perfectly centered, it's close enough to work since the pulleys are 2.5 inches wide and my belt is only 2.

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All that's left is to mount a motor now =) Bottom cone support fabricated and working (it's a little off as I said above, but not enough to matter)

I need to re-do the alligator clips on my belt... I forgot to account for the width of the space between the clips when I cut the belt, and while it'll work just fine as is, I prefer less slack in my belt. I'll make sure not to make that mistake when trimming the auto-feed belt !

I will probably do what my friend suggested that I do and get myself a big 8x4 sheet of 1 inch plywood, cut it in half and screw them together as a base that I can lag bolt the drill to as well as mount my motor to for a lot more lateral stability.

I think that I'm done working for tonight though =)

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That is pretty cool. I have seen a couple of posts on our local craigslist like that recently, here is one of them!

 

http://pensacola.craigslist.org/atq/4217262738.html

 

There was another that was absolutely huge but they must have sold it. You would have had to have a large fork lift too handle the other one. It had column post that was about 6" in diameter!

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Fabricated a motor mount, and put a 1HP TEFC motor with a 2-3-4 step pulley on it, so that I can use both the Vbelt pulley and the cones to adjust the speed. I havent put the autofeed belt on yet, nor put an on-off switch up at the column yet (just the one mounted on the motor) but the drill press is up and running!

Here's drilling a 3/8 test hole through a 1/2" bar

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.....I bought a floor model drill press from Grizzly Tools. It is turning out to be worse than the $20, Harbor Freight, benchtop press, that I gave away.~Bruce~

 

Same here, I bought a Grizzly floor model drill press and the drill bit moves in a circle, and the table sags under pressure.

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Oh wow, what a coincidence,I just bought your book last week on amazon.com, Mr Einhorn =) (And spoke on the phone with the owner of Museumandcollector.com as he explained that the foundry has lost his pattern for the traveling forge-cart tuyre / back plate and that he's going to have to try to come up with / make a new one) A friend of mine does civil war re-enacting and they wanted me to get involved, but I'm not intersted in marching around, i'd rather do blacksmith demonstrations like I used to do for the historic highlanders Jacobite rebellion group I used to belong to =)

 

I've had terrible luck with grizzly and harbor freight tools, and finally started looking for only used old reliable tools instead of buying new. I've been much happier since! I have this chepo harborfreight metal cutting bandsaw that drives me nuts, and I'm looking for an old power hacksaw to replace it, though I may just stick with a chop saw instead =)

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What's truly funny, in a somewhat say way, is that these old drills are head and shoulders better than the new drills... and can usually be found for the same cost if not cheaper. Even a small version from the 40's or 50's is better than a Grizzly made today, and they seem to be all over the place.

 

For some reason, folks just seem to think that something built today has to be better simply because it's newer.

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Punched a bunch of half inch holes in some half inch plate today making an adapter plate for my engine stand... worked like a charm! I should probably tighten up the rear belt a tad, as I had mentioned above, I made it about a quarter inch too long, so if I push real hard i can make the belt slip when drilling, but i've never drilled big holes through plate without having to drill a bunch of small holes and step them larger before, it was refreshing !

 

Here's the drill where I figure it's going to live in the corner of the garage. If i need to drill holes in long things, the table is out far enough to run them out the door into the driveway here.

 

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Fabricated a motor mount, and put a 1HP TEFC motor with a 2-3-4 step pulley on it, so that I can use both the Vbelt pulley and the cones to adjust the speed. I havent put the autofeed belt on yet, nor put an on-off switch up at the column yet (just the one mounted on the motor) but the drill press is up and running!

 

Here's drilling a 3/8 test hole through a 1/2" bar

 

 

You may want to run that motor thru a foot switch or at least a switch at the drill. If something goes bad you have to go around the machine to the switch on the motor, not exactly close in case of one of those "Oh sh_t moment's" !

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