Drill Baby, Drill!

With a new project just around the corner, I have been thinking of shop improvements, and one of those was acquiring a drill press. It would be an improvement, of course, since I was lacking a drill press. There are several drill presses in the shop complex I inhabit, however all of them suffer from one issue or another that leads to frustrations in working with them – for me at least. I thought that if I was going to be frustrated, it might as well be with my own equipment! I used to have a benchtop Delta drill press from the 1950’s, but I sold it when I moved shop from Canada a few years ago.

I came across a machine recently which had been on my short list: A Delta Rockwell Radial Ram Drill press. This is a highly versatile industrial machine, which is still in production, now a Delta-branded product. New, they list at over $19,000 but can be bought for around $11,000. Either way, too spendy for me. That’s okay though, as I picked this one up locally for $400, a Craigslist find:

It’s a neat piece of equipment, something like 30~40 years old. The stand is not original but nicely fabricated. The head of the drill can rotate, for one thing, but it also can slide in and out, on eight cam-adjustable roller bearings, a travel of about 20″ or so. That gives the machine tremendous versatility. Ever needed to use a drill press in the middle of a large panel and couldn’t get it into the machine? Not likely to be a problem very often on this baby.

Here’s another view:

It has 18 drilling speeds and a 1/2″ Jacobs ball bearing ‘speed’ chuck:

It’s has a single phase, 115v., 1hp motor – a new motor actually.

Another view:

How about another view? Okay!:

The seller, a machinist by trade who enjoys fixing up old machinery, had an original on/off push-button switch which he sold me for an added $10. The drilling assembly is on a riser which can be cranked up or down nearly 24″, and the drill has 6″ of plunge depth. It’s a pretty cool machine and I’m happy to have scored it. The adjustments and locks all work very smoothly.

One more:

The spindle has about 0.004″ of run-out, which may or may not be an issue. I will see how it goes. Parts are available new, though not cheap.

I’ve located a manual for it on Ebay, so I have that on the way. I’m planning on making a larger wooden sub-table for it in the near future.

It’s fun to have new toys once in a while!

3 Replies to “Drill Baby, Drill!”

  1. chris you might consider replacing the depth stop with a piece of 1/2-20 threaded rod. bridgeport milling machines use this because with 1 rotation on the .001 calibrated depth stop, gives you 50 thou. did this with my drill press. have extra rod and would have to look up what the depth stops run. maybe $15 from MSC.

  2. I was going to just give you a call, but decided to go public with this…
    Happy Birthday Ol' Timer!
    Thank you for your passion and the desire to share it!
    All of my best wishes to you brother,

  3. Jeff,

    intriguing – I wasn't familiar with that and will consider doing that. Thanks!


    nice to hear from you and thanks for the kind B-Day greetings. I'm getting creakier by the day, but managing to roll along somehow!


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