|Project by EEngineer||posted 03-21-2010 04:04 PM||7997 views||1 time favorited||8 comments|
I’d been looking to upgrade my dill press for a while now. I had a cheap Chiwanese benchtop unit that drilled holes, that’s about all I can say for it. This unit came up on CL. I called on a Saturday morning and went to look at it that afternoon. The motor bearings sounded perfect but the quill bearings sounded a little rough. The chuck key was bent, almost a sure sign that someone had overtightened the chuck. The long drill bit that was still chucked up in it had almost 1/16” of wobble at the end, but I was willing to blame that on the chuck. Every exposed metal surface was rusted but the original paint was in good shape and there was no smile of shame on the table. It was bolted to a heavy metal stand that was homemade but sturdy. So I bought it.
I disassembled the quill to replace the bearings. To my surprise, it had roller bearings (is this normal? This is the first drill press I’ve torn down) and they were in very good shape. The noise was coming from the exposed thrust ball bearing. After cleaning thoroughly and repacking with heavy duty bearing grease, I kept all the original bearings.
Derusting the exposed metal took the most time. I have used phosphoric acid (naval jelly) and Evaporust in the past for derusting. Phosphoric acid will discolor and even remove paint (DAMHIKT) and I have read similar things about electrolysis. Since I wanted to preserve the original paint, I used Evaporust. In my previous experience, it didn’t even touch paint. To do the column I made a special tank out of a piece of 3” PVC pipe with a cap on one end; an overnight soak in Evaporust and the column looked brand new. While cleaning the base, I found a serial number stamped on it, 5800406, and this leads me to believe that the drill press was born in 1958.
As I suspected, the chuck was roached. I originally bought a new 1/2” chuck from HF but it came with MT2 mandrel attached. Although they claimed there was a JT33 taper in the chuck itself I’ll be damned if I could get the mandrel off. Wedges, impact, even a short session with a small sledge hammer wouldn’t budge it. I finally bought a 5/8” chuck from Grizzly – maybe a little overkill for this size press, but the price was right.
The stand and motor got a 2-hour session with a wire brush and a new coat of paint. I wasn’t going for a museum piece; I just wanted a nice clean daily worker for the shop.
Was it worth it? Hell, yeah! This is the smoothest, quietest drill press I’ve ever used. It tracks straight and true with runout that barely moves the needle on my dial indicator. This is a Westcraft drill press – originally sold by Western Auto stores – and it probably wasn’t top-o-the-line in 1958. But it is head and shoulders above cheap Chinese drill presses I see for sale now. The 1/3 HP motor may be a little weak for a 5/8” chuck but I do very little metal work; it should be just fine for wood-working.
-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"