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Thread: Drill Press Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    SE Minnesota

    Drill Press Question

    A recent thread here on a drill press restoration got me to wondering, why are do the bases typically have a machined area with slots in them?

    The original setup for my 1932 Walker-Turner Driver Line benchtop model was with the base turned to the back. The motor was originally mounted with the pulley near the column. The belt went up from the pulley, over turniing pulleys mounted at the top of the head and forward around the pulley on the quill.

    I've never seen any other old drill presses set up this way. I've also never seen anything mounted on the base that would require a machined surface. So why do manufacturers even bother?
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Wondered that myself.

    On a bench top model you might actually use it with a large part.

    On my two Craftsman I can lower the head on the column just like the table. But I don't know why I would want to do that and use the base. Working on my knee's is fun.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

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  3. #3
    Does your drill press resemble my Canedy Otto 1909 drill press shown in this picture to the far right? If it does, that is because the drill press was originally designed to run on a flat leather belt. My drill press is also mechanically self-feeding.

    Tools of this era, and tools from your era typically did not have their own electric motors. Back in those days, electric motors, even smaller hp units, were huge in size. Many shops had one or two 20 hp motors and then ran flat leather belts to the tools in their shops. These often ran sawmills, planers, jointer's and buzz saws (tablesaws). I think it was partly because they were used to using steam engines and water wheels originally, and belting was something they were used to dealing with. At the same time wiring and electricity was something new and expensive, so they kept the motors to a minimum.

    As for your other question, that is an easy one. We as woodworkers stole the drill press from the metal workers side of the world. In fact we still do. A drill press is a machinist/ fabrication tool and it always has been. The table is machined because it has to be in order to hold vices, holders and jigs. That is also the reason you will find the tables to be small and the speeds somewhat slow. There is nothing wrong with woodworkers using this viable tool because it works well for wood or steel. But that is why a woodworker has to add a better table and modify it a bit. Now its easy to see that it is far easier to modify a drill press to aid in woodworking, then it would be to make a woodworking drill press into one made to drill steel.

    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 06-26-2007 at 01:25 AM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    SE Minnesota
    Travis, I can't find a picture of mine but it doesn't look much like what I can see in your photo. Mine definitely had its own motor--somewhere I have a PDF of the manual and sales catalog from 1932.

    Shortly before this model and possibly concurrent with it, W-T had an interesting setup available. It was a large table with a drill press, tablesaw, lathe, grinder, flexible shaft and maybe a bandsaw all run off the same motor. The motor was mounted below the table with a belt up to a shaft and then belts running from the shaft to the machines.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

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