A few months ago I purchased a small rockwell radial arm drill press. I have been looking for a radial press for a long time and finally, I found this one for sale locally on Craigslist. Having never used the Rockwell, I was not completely sold on them because I had read a lot of articles and commentary about the undesirable flexibility of the drill head on the post and arm. I went and looked, however, and as the machine was in good shape, we settled on a price and when my wife was done talking about horses with the people, I took the thing home.
The previous owner used the press as a drum sander and I assume that the table he had installed on the press was part of his set up for that. I removed it and and tuned up the machine. I removed the foot pedal it came with, which I put cord ends on…
...and wired in a regular switch and a reversing switch, for added versatility.
The factory table was sound but small, pretty much the same table that one might find on any small Rockwell drill press. I bolted a larger table to this, which I cut out of a piece of MDF.
This done, I turned my attention to the stand, and to my need to store all of my drill bits and drill press accessories.
Beefing up the sheet steel top of the stand by bolting MDF to the underside, I changed the orientation of the drill press on the stand to better suit my needs, and my shop. I added wheels to the base and then decided to build some drawers, adding mass so that the machine would be stable and vibration free. I made the drawers out of oak, with one piece of sassafras tossed in there when I ran short of oak scraps. The drawers open from both sides because the machine is on wheels.
The end product is pretty sweet and with all of the bushings and bearings tight, I have not noticed a flex problem. Of course, I am drilling holes, from 1/16 to 1-1/2 inch, whole sawing up to 4 inches, fly cutting up to 8 inches, and drum sanding WOOD. I am not trying to drill 3/4 holes in 3/4 thick steel plate with the arm raised all of the way up and the head extended all of the way forward. This machine was not designed for such rigorous use as that.
I would welcome any suggestions on what I might have done better. Someday, I might take everything out so that I can finish sand and finish the drawers or even put a toggle switch on the drill head, which is probably what I should have done, but I don’t know that all that is necessary.
-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin