To-Do: Drill Press Restoration

I usually keep a to-do list running in my head. The problem is that I sometimes forget things. I am hoping that by sharing this on the intertubes I won’t forget, and ya’ll might hold me accountable for getting started and finished.

I inherited an old floor drill press from my grandfather. For a while it sat in my parents barn, but once I got my own house and garage it moved in with me. So far it has worked well, but I would like to do some upgrading to make it easier to use and more accurate. It is a beast and totally worth some time and effort. My grandfather already made some upgrades. The original motor was replaced with a washing machine motor, complete with a two speed switch added to the side. He also modified (flipped upside down) the cover to make adjusting the pulleys easier…I think. It may just be that the new motor wouldn’t let the cover fit properly.

What I would like to do is:

  • Clean and wax the column. Older drill presses don’t have a rack and pinion to move the table up and down. To adjust the table I have to loosen the clamp, and bear hug/shimmy it up or down. Cleaning should make it easier to move.
  • Counterweight the table. Once it moves freely a counterweight will allow for easier and theoretically more precise table adjustment. A cool commercial version is detailed here.
  • New auxiliary table. Drill presses have tables designed for metal work. While I do some of that, I would also like one that works better for woodworking. Right now an old melamine coated cabinet side is on it from when my father-in-law used it for a project. I would like an adjustable fence, removable insert, dust extraction, and  T-track for hold-downs or other attachments. Something similar to this one that looks reasonably simple and functional. I would also like to use t-slot framing for the fence. I may just wait for the Harbor Freight one to go on sale though. Sometimes buying is cheaper then making, and way easier.
  • Also Some sort of shelf/drawers to go underneath and fill with drill bits like this or this. I almost never use the full height of a floor drill press.

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