The Cole Drill gloat

It's been a while since the Cole Drill has been mentioned here, so I thought I'd post some links to some sites that show what it is, and how it works.
I hadn't been looking for one, but I happened to spot one the other day, and won the auction for under $40 plus $15 s/h. It's a partially rusted one, but it appears to be functional and/or a not-too-involved project piece.
I didn't know what the Cole Drill was until it was discussed here in RCM quite a few years ago. I have a vintage hand-powered post drill with an automatic ratcheting "power feed" that's fun to use, and drills very efficiently, but it's not very portable.
I thought there used to be a very lengthy review of the Cole Drill on the Lautard site, but I don't see it.
http://www.dogpatch.com/bobp/shop / (near the bottom of the page)
http://rustyiron.com/engines/coledrill/index.html
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22COLE+DRILL%22&btnG=Search (many links to numerous forum discussions about the Cole Drills and accessories)
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WB
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Lautard mentions them in one of his Machinist's Bedside Readers and he used to sell them.
Stan
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On Sun, 17 May 2009 00:36:13 -0400, "Wild_Bill"

Well done! Note green glow of envy as dusk goes to full dark.
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I didn't know what one was. Long story short, it drills at extremely lo speed and extremely hi feed. Does it use a special drill bit? Maybe I needed to read more.
Karl
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I think the best write-up about how versatile the Cole Drill is, was on Lautard's site. I guess he doesn't feel the info is worth leaving on his site, since it appears that he's not selling them.
The primary feature is the threaded downfeed that pushes the drill with great force. It's a hex head threaded collar just below the crank. The user keeps turning the feed to force the drill into the work while he's drilling. It's performance been described like a cordless EDM when used to drill hard materials.
Secondly, it's highly portable, meaning it can be clamped to almost anything to put a hole almost anywhere.
The Cole doesn't require special drills. Ordinary HSS can be used for most materials, but even a cheap masonry carbide tipped drill can be used to drill files and very hard parts/alloys such as bearing races. There were numerous other barely believable examples in the Lautard write-up, but I don't remember what they were.
I don't recall that a cheap carbide drill can be pushed thru HSS, but I'm interested in finding out.
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This seems to be a wonderful poor man's alternative to a magnetic drill. Seems also to be worth having. I did have to drill a trailer frame many years ago, and it was highly unpleasant. This Cole dill would be a great tool to have at the time.
i
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Drilling truck and machinery frames is mentioned frequently in practical uses for the Cole Drill. One guy mentioned using a Cole Drill under a truck to drill big holes in the frame is much better than a large capacity, electric drill that could possibly break a wrist.
If an anchor can be temporarily tack welded to a huge, thick steel plate, the Cole Drill could drill or hole saw a hole, then the anchor welds could be cut with a grinder. Otherwise, someone might need to haul or hoist (and secure) a heavy mag-base drill and power cord up to a high location.
I don't know why you use the poor-man's tag/association for a simple, practical, and durable obsolete-proof tool. It might more accurately be described as a working-man's tool, since most tools today seem to make work obsolete.. new power tools have their push-button instant gratification attraction for faster performance, but not neccessarily better results. Rechargable, cordless grease guns, for example.. lots of plastic with a cheap switch and other electrical components that probably won't be available in 6-12 months. I saw one in a Fastenal catalog that was over $500, IIRC.
There won't be any faulty battery packs, damaged power cords or flimsy commutators throwing a contact bar with the Cole Drill. If it's not left outside in the dirt over winter, just wipe it clean and put a little oil and grease on it, and it should give close-to-new performance for maybe 50-100 years.
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That's an amusing history of your Cole Drill's use. And it may not be an uncommon story. As seen by the responses to the original post, there are folks interested in obtaining them.
A magnetic base drill is a handy machine, expensive and heavy, though. I suppose a Cole Drill could be motorized, if one were inclined to do that sort of thing.
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I seem to remember Lautard's writeup mentioned the possibility. I would think the big advantage would be taking all the drill presure off the drillmotor's bearings...
After a little digging, a copy of his old page can be found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20040216050451/lautard.com/cole.htm
--Glenn Lyford
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Thanks for digging up the Wayback/webarchive page, Glenn, I was looking there for that page, yesterday, but didn't find it.
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On Mon, 18 May 2009 09:56:39 -0400, "Wild_Bill"

I could certainly use one, if anyone has one thats collecting too much dust and wouldnt mind doing some trading.
Gunner
"Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimum food or water,in austere conditions, day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn't worry about what workout to do--- his rucksack weighs what it weighs, and he runs until the enemy stops chasing him. The True Believer doesn't care 'how hard it is'; he knows he either wins or he dies. He doesn't go home at 1700; he is home. He knows only the 'Cause.' Now, who wants to quit?"
NCOIC of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course in a welcome speech to new SF candidates
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. I bought a Cole drill 15-20 years ago and I drilled

In my spare time I have been working on mounting a Lindsay L248 loader on my 1555 Oliver tractor and found I needed to drill six 13/16" holes in the mounting brackets. These brackets are oddly shaped and weight 150 lbs or more. Kind of a bugger to get in my drill press. I went out to look for my Cole drill in the storage shed and there it was waiting patiently for my return after 23 years if I remember correctly. I bought it used at a farm auction in the 80s and it seems to have lived a rough life as there is hardly any green paint left on it and quite a bit of play between the casting and feed screw. I drilled the pilot holes with my Dewalt but I knew that it would start smoking if I attempted to drill the 13/16" holes in the 3/8" plate the bracket is constructed from. I took about four minutes a hole to drill the holes with the Cole number 7 and after this job I will probably hang it up in the shop where it should have been all this time. Steve
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That's a great followup story of your Cole Drill, Steve.
A great example of how a simple, durable tool is obsolete-proof.
While the Cole Drill isn't the fastest method, with a certain amount of arm power, it's still just as practical a tool today as it was 50 or more years ago.
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Uncle was thrilled to find a post drill last year that he derusted, repaired a gear, and put back into running order.
He would envy your Cole drill find.
Wes
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When I spotted the old post drill at a flea market, I noticed the vague resemblence to the Cole Drill, and I had to find out how well it would drill steel.
I wasn't disappointed. I was completely surprised to find out how many machine manufacturers were making them, back into the 1800s, when I started searching for info about them. I think they were very popular in rural areas. Mine doesn't have a maker's name on it.
My guess is that there are probably quite a few Cole Drills sitting around under benches or hanging from a rafter, except no one realizes what they are. One guy in a forum commented: everyone around here used to have them.
Here are a couple of earlier posts I made about the post drills:
(2005) I have one of the old post drills, but it doesn't have any pulleys for lineshaft drive. There is a flywheel pulley with a rough cast V belt groove in it. Mine is a 2 speed model (manufacturer unknown), and the operator moves the handle from one side to the other to change speeds.
If you haven't drilled steel with a post drill before, you'll be surprised how well the power feed works to make holes quickly. It operates somewhat like the Cole drill, except the post drills aren't as rigid, in that the table column isn't an integral part of the upper frame (the post drill column is more for just positioning the table).
(2006) I also bought one of the old post drills at a flea market, several years ago. I don't have any info about your particular drill though. Goog search term "post drill" with quotes http://www.beautifuliron.com/thepost.htm http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/advert/ay249.htm
The designs of various models go back to the 1800s. I wasn't able to find out any info on my drill, since there are only casting numbers, but no company name.
They're very nice primitive machines. I was surprised how well they drill holes in steel. Another surprise was that the spindle runs true. I turned and threaded a drill chuck adapter/arbor on a lathe and installed a 1/2" Jacobs chuck, since the spindle just had a 1/2" straight socket with a set screw for holding drills. My drill has two speed ranges, with one handle shaft acting as a back gear drive.
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I found Cole type drill mislisted on ebay a couple of years back, different brand, made with aluminum castings instead of cast iron (or maybe someone made their own copy?) that I got for the opening bid.
If I remember, I'll dig it out and post the markings, and maybe photos if anyone asks.
It's not been super handy (in part, because it will only take 1/2" shank "blacksmith's bits" or S&D bits that have a driving flat ground onto them, I thought I had made up a chuck to go in it but can't put my hands on it right now) but it has gotten me out of a couple of jams. Certainly worth what I paid for it, and it's not like it takes up a lot of room under the bench until the next time it's needed.
--Glenn Lyford
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I noticed that there were comments in a couple of forums which suggested that there had been similar drills made by a couple of companies other than Cole.
I didn't encounter any remarks WRT aluminum castings, though. I'd be interested in what markings are on it, and seeing photos, Glenn.
The old post drill I have has a spindle with just a 1/2" hole for drill shanks to be held by a grub screw, but I turned and threaded an adapter to mount a 1/2" threaded chuck. Also, there are a lot of Jacobs Taper arbors with 1/2" shanks, so nearly any drill chuck could be adapted.
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I have a rather different old hand-powered drill...
WESTONS PATENT
McCOY&Co
SOLE AGENTS
ENGLAND
This is stamped in the handle of a tool which has a drilling function, but I don't know what you'd call it.
The working end of the thing explains why I have a few square-taper twist bits (metal cutting) in this batch of accessories - it's a square taper socket (but not like a brace - no "holding" of any sort). I think this might be like some post drills, but I haven't see a post drill for years, so perhaps it isn't.
The square taper socket is in a ratcheting part, which ratchets CW only, though the pawls can be disengaged by hand to allow it to move in either direction. There are two ratchet gears and two pawls (one on either side of the handle) which are out of phase, so one will always catch.
On the back side there is a long hex section, which unscrews at a rather rapid rate for quite some distance. The far end of this is a cone center (90 degree, I think) - presumably the function of this part is to advance the drill into the work (apply feed pressure). As it unscrews it exposes a smooth machined shaft (the threads are hidden); this would reduce wobble as compared to a simple threaded section.
I'm forced into assuming that one arranged a plate with a hole in it or something to be fixed or tied in place to seat the center point in, as I have yet to find an illustration or instructions on this type of portable drill (being elderly and perhaps esoteric). I'm guessing a millwrights tool, as the drill bits are mostly large, and I envision the thing being chained to some big piece of machinery that would be inconvenient/impossible to haul into a shop.
If anyone has more information on this type of "drill press" and it's proper use, I'd love to hear it (I got no bites when mentioned in a.c.blacksmithing 3 years ago)
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Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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On Mon, 18 May 2009 11:14:02 -0400, the infamous Ecnerwal

--snip--
Sounds cool. Got pics? They'll probably increase your feedback, Lar.
-- No matter how cynical you are, it is impossible to keep up. --Lily Tomlin
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