Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Quality Drill Press (on the cheap)

Phil, over at Busted Nuckles recently got a drill press.  An old Jet.   That reminded me, I picked up one from CL a few years back.  It went through a restoration of sorts.  It had been in a squirrel-possum outhouse, and they used the open top as a urinal.  The old machinist had passed on, and the shop sat unused and neglected for 10 years or so.  The smell was so bad, that parts of the shop were 30 seconds of holding your breath and dash or you'd be sick and dizzy.  That drill press was the nastiest thing I'd worked on in years. I don't have a picture in the condition I got it in, but this is close....  It came from the same shop.
Everything in that shop looked like this.  Or worse.

I used the electrolysis method of de-rusting the foot, and hooked up the power supply backwards.  I had a beautiful, smooth sacrificial anode, and the foot was looking pretty rough.  Swapped out the leads, and let it run.  It's a reminder when I look at it, that double checking is not an option.

I took the column off, and used flap wheels on the 4 inch grinder to clean it up.  It rang like a bell, and hearing protection was the order of the day.  Car wax keeps it relatively rust free in my un-conditioned shop.

3 years and still pretty.

Custom clamp hole, and a gob of derusting

The table had been drilled in the usual, "not my shop, not my tools" arc of shame.  One was a through hole near the edge, so I embiggened it and threw in a vise grip type clamp.

way prettier than I found it.

If you can find one, a neglected one that hasn't seen too much abuse, they are well worth the efffort. 

New bearings for the spindle, cleaned up the head casting, and repainted. It really needed a lot of work.  New reversing switch, and wiring, new bearings in the motor.  New chuck (it's a goose from China with a Rohm in the wings).  Runout is acceptable (.002 to .003).  
top of the head, looks like I need to do the top of the column again

Check out this guy.  I printed off his posts (in color!!), printed out the manual, and bound them.  That was my reference material for the rebuild / restore.  Took a couple months (like posting on this blog!!)  I figured he'd done an excellent job with pictures and was very detailed on his restoration, why not leverage that on my resto?  It worked a treat.

The reference file on the Clausing Variable

It runs too fast though.  I really need to slow it down.  500 rpm minimum is whipping for a big drill, and this press has some power and flexibility.  Just needs to calm down....

Next project is an overarm for the table to tap with.  Soon...... maybe....


Not healthy dust at all....

This was my arm after I cleaned the column.  I just found the pic.  I remember taking back to back soaks to clean all that...... residue off.


  1. I swear I've seen that rotary table somewhere before. Here it is cleaned up. Smells better, too!