What to look for in a pillar drill

I have decided I need a bench pillar drill. Ideally to be used both for modelling and some full size car/bike engine parts, i.e. robust enough
to handle the odd 1/2 inch hole. I already have a big range of 1MT and 2MT drills, and several chucks, which may swing things.
I see pillar drills from 15 to 500 and more. So what is bad about the cheap ones and where do I draw the line ? I saw a post 2 years ago suggesting buying an old Meddings or Fobco - but I don't know what wears so would have trouble telling a goodun from a badun, plus I only have single phase.
Any hints, tips, or horror stories out there ? Should I be looking for certain types of bearings, motor HP, column diameter, range of speeds, weight ?
Grateful for some pointers Steve
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I have decided I need a bench pillar drill. Ideally to be used both for modelling and some full size car/bike engine parts, i.e. robust enough to handle the odd 1/2 inch hole. I already have a big range of 1MT and 2MT drills, and several chucks, which may swing things.
I see pillar drills from 15 to 500 and more. So what is bad about the cheap ones and where do I draw the line ? I saw a post 2 years ago suggesting buying an old Meddings or Fobco - but I don't know what wears so would have trouble telling a goodun from a badun, plus I only have single phase.
Any hints, tips, or horror stories out there ? Should I be looking for certain types of bearings, motor HP, column diameter, range of speeds, weight ?
Grateful for some pointers Steve Steve Most of the cheapies have very limited throat depth and poor quill bearings. If you can see a demo machine, grab the chuck and see how much lateral movement it has; I tried this with a brand new Rexxon drill and was amazed how much movement there was. If you're buying used, inspect carefully first; ask to hear it run, especially at the highest speeds and listen for rumble or roar from the bearings. If you're looking at a used MT type machine, make sure the taper is clean and free from damage; a flying chuck is a frightening and somewhat dangerous experience! For upto 1/2", I'd be looking for a 1/3 to 1/2 HP motor, maybe more if it's single phase rather than 3 phase. Martin
--
martin<dot here>whybrow<at here>ntlworld<dot here>com



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I will echo the poor quill bearing issue mentioned by Martin I was looking a short while ago & found the quill moved badly on all new machines even top of the range ones
In the end I bought one from Robin Atkins, guildford- see ads in Magazines R A Atkins. I was a s/h Startright mercury about 175. He's usually got some english ones in stock. His prices are good, I got a Myford from him as well [usual disclaimer]
Mike D
I have decided I need a bench pillar drill. Ideally to be used both for modelling and some full size car/bike engine parts, i.e. robust enough to handle the odd 1/2 inch hole. I already have a big range of 1MT and 2MT drills, and several chucks, which may swing things.
I see pillar drills from 15 to 500 and more. So what is bad about the cheap ones and where do I draw the line ? I saw a post 2 years ago suggesting buying an old Meddings or Fobco - but I don't know what wears so would have trouble telling a goodun from a badun, plus I only have single phase.
Any hints, tips, or horror stories out there ? Should I be looking for certain types of bearings, motor HP, column diameter, range of speeds, weight ?
Grateful for some pointers Steve Steve Most of the cheapies have very limited throat depth and poor quill bearings. If you can see a demo machine, grab the chuck and see how much lateral movement it has; I tried this with a brand new Rexxon drill and was amazed how much movement there was. If you're buying used, inspect carefully first; ask to hear it run, especially at the highest speeds and listen for rumble or roar from the bearings. If you're looking at a used MT type machine, make sure the taper is clean and free from damage; a flying chuck is a frightening and somewhat dangerous experience! For upto 1/2", I'd be looking for a 1/3 to 1/2 HP motor, maybe more if it's single phase rather than 3 phase. Martin
--
martin<dot here>whybrow<at here>ntlworld<dot here>com




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Many of the cheaper imports are OK for wood. There can be a problem, not so far mentioned. What I am getting at is table rigidity. The pressures needed for drilling metal, may cause the table to flex, resulting in a hole that wanders off at an angle. The small Taiwan and Chinese bench top models suffer badly from this.
Steve R.
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Steve wrote:

Steve, I have a cheapy drill press (B&Q iirc, but generic chinese.) The Quill itself was appaling, about 1/4" wobble at full extension, but the Bearings in the quill, are fine. To remedy I stripped the quill out, drilled a 1/4" hole about 1/2 way up the front face, and slit the casting with a hacksaw. Then drilled and tapped each side to bolt some bar to, and pt a bolt accross the front. This allows yuo to close the casting up and removes the quill shake. I can even lock the quill if I want. Much improved cheap drill, and only 15 mins :)
The other thing is the tables are a bit flimsy, but a diamond scissor jack under them as a support works fine to (had one lying around) I can post you some pictures if you want.
hth
Dave
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Steve,
Some good points have been mentioned about the quill, however, another item worth checking is the amount of vibration transmitted to the table. Ideally there should be no vibration. Put a drill vice, or something, on the table and try each speed in turn and see if the drill vice moves across the table due to vibration. The point is that this vibration is very annoying and also may be very difficult to get rid of, so well worth checking before you buy, (new or second hand). Unfortunately such vibration can be unnoticed when running the machine without anything on the table.
It's certainly not fun to see the job sliding off the table while you search for the cutting oil!
Happy drilling, Mike
I have decided I need a bench pillar drill. Ideally to be used both for modelling and some full size car/bike engine parts, i.e. robust enough to handle the odd 1/2 inch hole. I already have a big range of 1MT and 2MT drills, and several chucks, which may swing things.
I see pillar drills from 15 to 500 and more. So what is bad about the cheap ones and where do I draw the line ? I saw a post 2 years ago suggesting buying an old Meddings or Fobco - but I don't know what wears so would have trouble telling a goodun from a badun, plus I only have single phase.
Any hints, tips, or horror stories out there ? Should I be looking for certain types of bearings, motor HP, column diameter, range of speeds, weight ?
Grateful for some pointers Steve
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wrote:

I had occasion to use the two pillar drills in the workshop over the weekend, one is an Ajax rebadged 13mm capacity Taiwanese make, the other is the big Elliott Progress 3A, as different as chalk and cheese!
The Ajax has all the hallmarks of cheap manufacturing but it cost little at the time and is useful where bench space precludes the use of a bench drill which we do have but don't use.
The Elliott just sits there and does the job, no fuss, auto feed 0.004" per rev and in no time at all it has drilled a 1" hole through 1/2" plate in the same time the Ajaz takes to put a pilot through the same material.
We have a Meddings bench pillar drill up the farm in storage, but rarely need it as the two floor drills do the job.
Both are 3-phase BTW. Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Luton, UK snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk http://www.prepair.co.uk
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Steve wrote:

I second (third) the comments about the quill.
As with any machine rigidity is everything so look for strength in the table and it's support, this area is often weak.
Consider a fully articulated table, i.e. one that can be rotated and tilted, that allows you to bolt the work down and position it carefully at any angle. The downside of this is that some of them are flimsy so take care.
If you can run to it go for a geared head, that gives you nice slow speeds for larger holes.
Look for an easily adjusted depth stop, some are crap, of course you can improve this area with a bit of ingenuity.
Conciser if you have room for a floor mounting one, it gives you more room for that large job.
Greg
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Greg wrote:

Thanks to everyone - I just knew you guys would all have pillar drills !! Though I get the feeling the price is going up ! I think buying a cheap one and then trying to take play out of it is just what I am trying to avoid.
As for rigidity - more weight probably means more rigidity and definitely means more inertial mass. Manufacturers often quote weight, so that might be a start.
Quill bearings seem key. What sort of bearings do these have - plain, taper rollers, ball (not needle rollers direct on the spindle please - I hate needle rollers), but then the vertical motion of the whole assembly is presumably in plain bearings, or even direct in the casting ? And I suppose the drive pulley must be on its own bearings so it doesn't go up and down and doesn't pull the shaft to one side.
Maybe the type of bearings are the key to a good one ? Though I suppose no-one ever needed to take a good one apart !
Steve
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