Upside down drill press story

The thread about drilling in the end of a rod reminded me of this trick.
An old maintenance machinist had a task a few years ago where he had to
drill out the hole in a 5" long painted wood handle from 3/8" to 5/8", 4 "
deep. Only problem was, there was thousands and thousands of them, and this
was to be ongoing for quite a while, using up existing stock. He took a
heavy duty industrial drill press and removed the entire drilling head.
Removed the table, replaced the drilling head on the column upside down.
Slid the head to the lower end of the column and replaced table. Mounted an
air vise with conformed jaws to hold the handles vertically onto the table,
hole down, centered over the table center hole.
Found an old pneumatic drill press feed in storage and mounted it to drive
the quill movement. Added a vacuum near the upside down drill and table hole
to capture chips. Made up a few control functions and had a semi-automatic
handle driller. Place handle in, hit two hand buttons, vise clamped, drill
drilled, vise opened.
Chips fall away by gravity in this method, and the vacuum cleaned things up
a bit.
A bearing went out in the head of the drill press after the old machinist
had died, the need for the press was no longer due to stock depletion, so it
was relegated to storage.
I replaced the old machinist at work, so the new owner told me to get rid
of the old unit. Told me to just get it out of his sight and make it
disappear. Took it home, took it apart, machined a reducer sleeve to allow a
modern bearing to replace the obsolete failed one, switched it back to
normal, painted it and it now resides proudly in my shop. Damn good drill
press. Nothing like a good history to make one appreciate a well made tool.
I thought others might also benefit from some of the ideas in this story.
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The old Excellon PCB drilling machines work upside down, with an optical arrangment and ground-glass screen above the PCB. One centres the pad on the screen by moving the board, then a foot pedal is pressed and the board is clamped and drilled, from beneath. Where a friend of mine works they've still got one and use it a lot. I think it will also work from paper tape.
Reply to
Leon Heller
I also used a drill press upside down once. I had to drill out a particularly hard lug bolt on my car and there was no convenient way to fasten an entire Mitsubishi Mirage to the drill press table. I turned the head of a small drill press upside down and fastened the entire machine sideways on the garage wall at the appropriate height. It worked great!
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New Departure probably. Was this a Walker Turner?
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jim rozen
I think maybe it is Jim. IIRC, it was a New Departure bearing. I just turned a ring to adapt to the smaller OD of the new bearing. I'll have to refresh my memory when I go back down to the shop again. We have quite a few of the old Walker Turners at work.
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